Beginners 101 For Safely Operating an Inflatable Paddleboard

Now that you have made up your mind to purchase an inflatable paddleboard, let’s go over how to use it and some safety laws that apply to you as a paddleboard user.

It is a good practice to learn all you can about your equipment before using it. Watch this short video below to get a general idea on how easy it is to use your inflatable board.

This looks easy, right? Like so many other sports, there is a lot more to paddle boarding than just hopping on and going. First you need to make sure your board is inflated properly to the right PSI. If it’s not, it will be like sitting on a leaky beach ball!

All boards that we have reviewed come with a pump. They can be the bicycle type or battery operated and will have a gauge that will show your progress as you inflate the board. Always follow the manufacturer instructions as they know what is the safest PSI for your board.

The proper inflation will make all the difference in the world as to your abilities to propel it through the water in a safe manner. You can check out our review on inflatable paddleboard  to get an idea on what’s out there.

Getting Started on the Water

One of the first thing to think about before you take off on your paddleboard is the weather. Don’t just assume because the sun is shinning when you wake-up that it will be a good day for paddleboarding.

Check your weather channel for the forecast, especially the wind direction and velocity. There is no sense going out on a wild and windy day. Having to fight to just stay afloat will take all the fun out of this sport.

Now you are at the water site and ready to get your board in the water, I have another short video to watch as this guy can explain things easier for those who are visual learners. He is using a flat paddleboard but the instructions will work for your inflatable board also.


Some Laws and Regulations That Apply to All Paddleboards

First of all, SUPs (standup paddleboards), do not require any hull ID numbers nor do they have to be registered. Each state has laws that apply to paddleboards and are somewhat different from state to state. Get in touch with your local DNR for answers.

The Coast Guard has determined that SUP’s are vessels if they operate beyond the narrow confines of a surfing, bathing, or swimming area. This means that the officer is to leave it alone in these areas. If it is in other areas, it will be treated as a kayak or paddleboat.

Most states may require a life jacket on board  for those 12 years and under. The rule usually is, if the vessel is propelled by hand a life jacket is not required. It’s just a good practice to wear one, no matter what your age. Life is unpredictable and if you have a medical emergency on the water it can take a long time to get help.

You will need to have a sound producing device, such as a whistle, for an audio distress signal. You are not required to have visual distress signals such as lights. Although, it would be a great idea to carry a water resistant flashlight. Many of your inflatable paddleboards will have a space or compartment where you can carry emergency equipment or you can strap a kit to the board.

Things to Think About Before Taking to The Water

Let’s recap what we need to know about paddleboarding and safety. We need to know about the equipment we are going to trust our life to, how to inflate it according to the manufacturers instructions and what safety equipment we should be using.

There are certain rules and laws we need to be aware of and follow according to the state we live in. The videos have shown you how to use your board and just how much fun you can have doing it in a safe manner.

Well, the rest is up to you! Get out there on that lake, river, or shoreline and have some fun with your new inflatable paddleboard!