Last weekend I noticed the aqua cops (regional police boat) stopping a number of jet skis, checking for safety and boaters cards. With the amount of sup’s here at the reef and that big North Shore SUP http://www.northshorestandup.ca/ event coming up I thought it might be a good time to answer questions about SUP safety.
I hope the info I provide will help inform and educate you so you can make a wise decision next time you are out on the water.
Transport Canada, like the United States Coast Guard, classifies Stand Up Paddleboards as human powered vessels when they are being used for navigation. When being used within the surf zone for surfing activities these requirements are not in force. When undertaking a trip or circuit such as a group crossing or solo outing, this is considered navigation.
As human powered vessels, Stand Up Paddleboards are subject to all carriage requirements, including lifejackets. There must be one Canadian approved lifejacket or personal floatation device available on board and available for immediate use. There are many PFD options available for ease of use, such as waist-pack inflatables (a popular choice among competitive rowers, who are also short on space and require a broad range of movement) or low profile paddling
While we have received many requests for the consideration of a leash in lieu of a PFD, Transport Canada does not recognize the leash/paddleboard combination as a floatation device. The department has received many inquiries from Stand Up Paddleboarders regarding Section 4 (Substitute Safety Equipment) of the Small Vessel Regulations. This part is intended to provide like-to-like exemptions, for example for police marine units to make use of tactical PFDs, or for small commercial charter vessels to carry high buoyancy PFDs in place of small vessel lifejackets. Transport Canada supports leash use, but not as an alternative to a lifejacket or personal floatation device
So with all that offical stuff being said, it is probably a wise choice to have your pfd on the board if you do not wish to wear it. Probably also a good choice to have a whistle along too. We are all adults and can make our own wise choices. Be smart and safe and that should keep the aqua cops away.
Here are some other links to look at:
If you would prefer to not wear your life jacket but would like a pfd on board Body Glove offers an inflatable option which I found at this link . http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/product/55347045