Stand up paddle board safety checklist

Stand up paddle board safety checklist

Stand up paddle board safety. SUP is a brilliant way to enjoy a day out on the water. From paddling calm, sheltered water to surfing the waves at the beach. But, you need to be mindful of keeping safe before you set off.

It’s worth running through a few safety checks. So before you SUP, make a mental note, and ask yourself these questions before you hit the water for a paddle.

Stand up paddle board safety checklist

  1. One of the most important points on our stand up paddle board safety checklist! Have you got the right style of leash for where you will be paddling? To help you find out whether you should be wearing an ankle, calf or waist leash we’ve put together a handy leash safety guide. Click here to learn which leash is right for you.
  2. Do you need a buoyancy aid? It is  strongly recommended by Paddle UK that you have a primary form of floatation, which is normally your board via the appropriate leash AND a secondary form of floatation in the form of a buoyancy aid (BA) or personal floatation device (PFD). Click here to read our guidance to help you choose which style of BA or PFD will be most suitable for the type of paddling you do.
  3. Does your board need any repairs? Just have a quick ‘once over’ and check for any issues since you last used your board.
  4. If you’re on an inflatable, have you inflated your board to the correct pressure (PSI)? Make sure you have pumped your board to the correct PSI pressure. Most boards need to be inflated between 18-25 PSI but make sure you check yours beforehand!

And a few other things to remember…

  1. Have you got your mobile phone in a waterproof pouch? No excuses for not carrying some sort of device where you can call for help! Keep it close by too. If you can’t reach it, it’s no use.
  2. Dress appropriately Dress for the weather. Layers work best, so layer up with water-wicking clothing. If it’s warm when you set off, pop some warm, dry layers in your dry back just incase. If you’re paddling in the cold, pack some gloves and a dry hat and layers just incase you need them.
  3. Have you checked the weather? Checking the weather can help you to plan your adventure. From what to weather and pack, to where to paddle. You want to avoid being on the water in a thunderstorm, and avoid paddling in offshore winds as they can prove deadly.
  4. Have you got some ‘fix it quick’ kit? We don’t expect things to go wrong, but preparation will help ensure they don’t. Simply carrying some duct tape and a puncture repair kit if it’s an inflatable can be a lifesaver!
  5. Have you packed your dry bag with the essentials for the paddle ahead? Drinking water, hot drinks, snacks, suncream, spare clothes, warm clothing, towel, hats/gloves. It’s worth also considering a small first aid kit with things like plasters, painkillers, bandages, rehydration sachets, antispectic wipes and insect spray.

From a hygiene perspective…

The water your paddling on isn’t always as clean as it looks unfortunately. Looks great in pictures, but perhaps not under a microscope! Things like weils disease, whilst uncommon, can be picked up through paddling, but as long as you follow a few basic steps, you’ll cover yourself no problem! Just remember:

  1. Don’t drink from the water you’re paddling on. Always take water with you on the trip – remember you’ll need more in warm weather as you are exercising despite it being fun!
  2. Take a good bath or shower as soon as you can once you’ve been on the water 
  3. Cover any cuts properly before paddling – you don’t want the river or canal water getting into it
  4. Make sure you wash your hands properly, or use antibacterial spray before eating anything 


It’s not a particularly long SUP safety checklist, but these are the sort of considerations you should be making before any stand up paddle board adventure. It only takes a few minutes to ask yourself the questions.

Want to learn more about staying safe on the water? Take our free Go Paddling eLearning here!