On a daily basis in Seattle this summer, we see parents with no PFD and leash on boards with their kids who generally do have a PFD on. In case of an accident, will the kids save the parent?
The number one cause of most SUP fatalities are when the paddler gets separated from their board. Usually the board is found, not the paddler. If a paddler has a vest PFD on, they will more likely stay afloat when fatigued, cold or injured. The leash keeps them connected to an additional flotation device, their board. Even with my experience, I never paddle without a vest PFD and leash (but no PFD when coastal surfing).
Think also about the conditions you’re paddling in. Can you handle wind, current and large boat wakes? If not keep to wind protected areas or pick a calmer day. Check the weather for the day to see if wind or a storm is predicted later on. In June a mother took her kids out on a reservoir in Colorado. A large lightening storm came up (was predicted) and lightening struck the mother and the dog. Both died.
Additional items useful for parents to carry on their board when with kids:
– Communication device – Cell phone in a wp bag or VHF radio to call authorities in case of an accident. Or in our experience, if they spot someone else in trouble.
– Whistle – This is required by the Coast Guard to have on your vest (or C02 pack). But doesn’t work blowing upwind.
– Deckbag – Bag on your deck to carry extra clothes, food, etc. I use the bags by Seattle Sports and SealLine.
– Also consider creating a Float Plan – This means telling another parent or close friend of your paddling plans (departure/arrival/location).
Suggested Book – Paddling with Kids by Lessels & Blom, AMC Books.
Any questions give me a holler: firstname.lastname@example.org / 206.465.7167
|Charlie Cindric (R) Youth pro whitewater paddler|