Each paddler needs a lifejacket, 12 and under needs to be wearing lifejacket. (Courtesy WGFD)

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Don’t you just envy those people who can stay perfectly upright on a paddleboard in the choppiest of water when the slightest ripple sends you into the water?

It takes practice and even the most experienced would be the first to admit they fall off occasionally. No matter what your skill level with SUP, a lifejacket is an absolute necessity. In fact, Game and Fish says PFDs are required by law on paddleboards.

Paddleboards, under Wyoming boating regulations, are considered a watercraft and users are required to have a lifejacket, says Wyoming Game and Fish Department law enforcement coordinator Aaron Kerr.

“In the past few years, several fatalities have occurred throughout the country when people fell off their paddleboards and drowned,” Kerr said. “Almost all of these deaths could have been prevented had the paddler been wearing a lifejacket.”

Boating without proper lifejackets is one of the most common watercraft-related violations in Wyoming. To follow the regulations and be safe on a paddleboard:

  • Each paddler needs a lifejacket.
  • Lifejackets must be properly sized for each person, US Coast Guard approved and in good condition. This means they cannot be waterlogged, torn or have straps broken or missing.
  • Lifejackets also need to be readily accessible or worn
  • Children 12 years old and under are required to wear a lifejacket on the paddleboard.