Whether you’re paddling at night or in the day, these SUP paddle visibility tips will prevent you from losing your paddle. At night, it’s easy to lose a paddle after a fall or off your board during breaks.

Paddle Lost at Night

Last year while competing in the 70 mile (in 48hrs) Seventy48 race on Puget Sound near Seattle, I was 30 miles in, it as 1 am and I was tired. I sat on my board to take a snack break. After years of putting my paddle under my leg to prevent it from floating off at that time I was in a different state of mind. Suddenly, Soon, I noticed my paddle was missing. I saw it about 15 feet away.
I saw it because in the pitch dark conditions, I had previously wrapped two stripes of white electrical tape around the shaft which was visible in the dark.
I wrap the tape in areas where I won’t be holding the paddle, or sliding my hand up the shaft when switching hands.

Here’s a sample of a recently taped paddle. Note my company sticker is on the blade which you can apply via a perm marker.  The sticker helps people contact me when I leave my paddles at the beach.

The white tape also helps you spot your paddle before you drive away.

Put your Phone Number on your Paddle

Most folks lose paddles because they leave it behind and drive away. I saw it happen twice last summer when friends left their $400 carbon paddles in the beach parking lot. Because I recognized the paddles, we were able to call them to retrieve it.  Neither paddle had an ID on it.

Always put your name and phone number on your paddle. Use a Sharpie to write the info down. Or if you’re in business like me, then put your company sticker on the paddle (and board).

Coast Guard Requirements for ID on your Gear

The US Coast Guard does require that you ID all your gear. When they find a drifting kayak or sup and have to assume the worse and launch a rescue.

Often, the kayak or sup was drifted off by a high tide, storm surge or broken line. In the summer of 2019, the Coast Guard found three sea kayaks floating in Puget Sound.

Turns out, the owners camping on Blake Island didn’t pay attention to the tide levels and hadn’t secured their craft to  driftwood or similar. Meanwhile the CG had launched a full on search.

Coast Guard link to Stickers

Simply put your name and phone number on all your gear, including fins.  Apply white or a bright colored electrical tape on your leash so you don’t walk off without it

Here’s more Night Paddling Tips.

Check out our SUP classes in Seattle – Beginning to advanced instruction including freighter and tug wave surfing, coastal surfing, rivers and racing, plus PSUPA Certification.  www.salmonbaypaddle.com


Salmon Bay Paddle SUP Tips