Stand-up paddleboarders need to remember they are required to have a life jacket on board. The use of stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) has exploded in Montana over the past few years. And while the vessels are fun and easy to use, many people don’t realize that SUPs have equipment requirements, just like other vessels.
In 2008, the U.S. Coast Guard determined that SUPs are considered to be a vessel when used outside a marked swimming area, and that state law applies for safety equipment. In addition to having a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket on the board, children under 12 years of age must wear a life jacket while on a SUP. Also, all people with watercraft, including SUPs, must stop at AIS inspections stations.
For more information, check out the Montana boating regulations at fwp.mt.gov or pick up a copy at your local FWP office.
If you have any questions, please contact Sara Smith, boating education coordinator for the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Recreational Boating Safety Program, at 406-444-5280 or firstname.lastname@example.org.