It’s true, life jackets are needed on SUPs
We recently bought standup paddleboards to cruise around on some of the mountain lakes. As we were showing them off to our neighbor, he said, “Now all you have to do is buy life jackets and boat permits.” What? Is that true? Do we really have to license them and wear life vests?
— Jen R., Medford
Your neighbor may have saved you a fine, Jen.
According to the Oregon State Marine Board, all paddlecraft, including canoes, kayaks and standup paddleboards, need to carry properly fitting, U.S. Coast Guard-approved wearable life jackets for each person on board, and the life jacket must be readily accessible. All children 12 and younger are required to wear a life jacket.
You’re also supposed to carry a noise device, such as a whistle or an air horn, according to the marine board. "It's easy to attach a whistle to a life jacket,“ the Marine Board website says. ”Both are required equipment.“
A waterway access permit is required if your SUP is 10 feet long or longer, and since you have two SUPs, you’ll need two permits, one for each craft.
The permits cost $17 each and are good for a calendar year (they expire Dec. 31 regardless of when you buy it). Visit https://apps3.oregon.gov/ to buy one- or two-year permits online. Permits are also sold through ODFW at https://myodfw.com/ELS.
For more information about required equipment, see the Marine Board website at www.oregon.gov/OSMB/Pages/index.aspx and click on “Equipment/Regulations.”
Good luck with your new SUPs. And don’t forget dry bags for your phone, camera and car keys.
Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; or by email to email@example.com.