Do You Paddle Board? WY Game and Fish Says You Need a Life Jacket
Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) has been steadily growing in popularity over the last decade.
This watersport originally began in Hawaii in the 1960s but was not widely popular until the early 2000s.
One of the reasons for this popularity is the fact that unlike surfing, it can easily be done on calm water. This means you don't need ocean waves, if you can find water, you can paddleboard.
The ocean, rivers, lakes, and even large ponds all offer an opportunity for paddleboarders to get out and enjoy the sport.
Another reason for the popularity of this watersport is how accessible it is for anyone and everyone. No matter what your age, athletic ability or fitness level, you can enjoy this sport.
Newbies can paddleboard on their knees, and kids as young as 6 can participate in this sport. My own children and I can be found paddleboarding weekly at Edness Kimbell, and sometimes the older kids paddle around with two younger siblings on the board with them.
According to this article on the Wyoming Game and Fish site, paddleboards are considered a watercraft (under Wyoming Boating Regulations) and users are required to have a life jacket.
"In the past few years, several fatalities have occurred throughout the country when people fell off their paddleboards and drowned,” said Aaron Kerr, Wyoming Game and Fish Department law enforcement coordinator. “Almost all of these deaths could have been prevented had the paddler been wearing a life jacket."
Here is a list of Paddleboard safety regulations that were listed on the Wyoming Game and Fish website.
- Each paddler needs a life jacket.
- Life jackets must be properly sized for each person, U.S. Coast Guard approved and in good condition. This means they cannot be waterlogged, torn or have straps broken or missing.
- Life jackets also need to be readily accessible or worn
- Children 12 years old and under are required to wear a life jacket on the paddleboard.
We still have a month or so of perfect Paddleboarding weather ahead of us, so make sure you wear your life jackets to ensure you have a fun AND safe experience.