Just like it is at your workplace, SUP safety starts with you…
WHAT GEAR DO I NEED?
Leashes are available to be worn around the ankle, under the knee or around the waist. They vary in price from $15-$150, but make sure they’re SUP specific (surfboard leashes are made smaller for smaller, lighter boards). Coiled leashes are ideal for general use, racing & cruising, whilst straight leashes are best for surf (the coiled leash can cause the board to spring back & hit you)
SUP Melbourne recommends all paddlers wear a leash at all times when paddling
Further to our other information – SUP Safety – the law here are some common sense tips to ensure you enjoy our sport and more importantly stay safe and come home to loved ones
LEASH / LEG ROPE
Quite possibly the most important piece of equipment you’ll buy. Not only will it help save you by keeping you near your board, if you’re surfing, it could well save someone else by preventing your board taking off and possibly injuring them.
10 knots of wind (19km/h) is all the amount of wind needed for your board to travel faster than you can swim to try and catch it.
PFD / LIFE JACKET
If you have a sense of adventure and want to wander more than 400m from the shore, then this is a must. Costs vary between $30-$200+, but you often get what you pay for. There are a myriad of these available on the market and all have advantages & disadvantages.
Communications Device – always handy, however the practicalities of the options available can be limited:
Mobile Phone – we all have one, but keeping them dry is a challenge and depending on how adventurous we are, we’re at the mercy of mobile network coverage
EPIRB – Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. With a direct line to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, this is an “emergency only” option. A true distress device, turning one of these on will see a full emergency response.
Satellite Messaging – These combine functionality of a mobile phone and an EPIRB, but are fully waterproof and give you the option of self rescue and tell loved ones where you are (by messaged map location) or you’re ok. They still have all the functionality of an EPIRB if an emergency response is required. Satellite coverage comes at a cost though – device costs are $300+ and annual subscriptions are $200+ per year.
If you’re out paddling on busy waterways, wear a high visibility top or life jacket.
Tell someone your plans – particularly if you’re paddling alone, tell someone the following:
- where you’re paddling from
- where you’re paddling to
- when you’re leaving
- when you plan to be back.
If you know you’re running later than planned, tell the person you’re ok if it’s practical to do so, otherwise do so as soon as you get back to shore. It doesn’t matter how you tell someone, just tell them.
Learn about the weather – understand the impacts of the weather and your plans. If you plan to paddle from A-B and the wind is against you or on your side, understand it could be some hard work. Similarly understand the impacts of wind and waves offshore (wind and waves coming off the beach) and onshore (wind and waves blowing onto the beach). If you’re inexperienced – ask. Everyone is happy to help.
Understand your environment – Paddling in creeks and rivers is great, but understand that paddling upstream can be significantly different from paddling downstream. Keep a constant eye on the horizon for changing weather conditions. Be prepared to change your plans with changing conditions. If you’re paddling in a channel, if possible keep yourself on the edge of the channel to stay clear of other craft & vessels. Always have a plan B.
Understand the rules of the water – go to: https://transportsafety.vic.gov.au/ to learn more. If in doubt, keep right!
Keep the group tight – if you’re paddling in a group, keep together. There is safety in numbers.
Maintain your equipment – regularly wash your gear, check your leash for wear and tear around the swivels and ensure there are no nicks, cuts or creases in the cord of the leash. If you have an inflatable life jacket, check the canister regularly and replace at least annually. If your life jacket is a bum bag style, pull it out of the bum bag, wash it and check it regularly.
Paddle safely – The smarter you paddle, the more you reduce the risk you expose yourself to.
We’re always happy to help. Just email us.
This document is for your information only and not to be interpreted as any other form of advice.