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Do I need to wear a life jacket on a SUP?

Do I need to wear a life jacket on a Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP)?  This is a question that we get asked a lot so I asked an OPP officer from the Kaladar detachment.  The answer is Yes you must wear a life jacket, AND you must also have a whistle.  He suggested that you attach a whistle to all your life jackets and this way if a guest grabs a life jacket to enjoy your SUP, it will already be on it.

As well, here is the documented information published by Transport Canada, last updated July 2018:

If you are paddling across a body of water, or getting from Point A to Point B, you are navigating.

Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP) used for navigation fall into the same category as canoes, kayaks, rowboats, rowing shells, and other human powered boats less than 6m and you are required to carry mandatory safety equipment under the Small Vessel Regulations.

  • Option 1: WEAR a lifejacket with a whistle (no buoyant heaving line required).
  • Option 2: CARRY a lifejacket on board with whistle and a buoyant heaving line.
  • Option 3: NONE then could receive a $200 – $500 fine for non-compliance.

*watertight flashlight is required for lowlight or nighttime conditions...after sunset or before sunrise or in periods of restricted visibility.

If you are NOT navigating (park and play at the waterfront, dock, or surf wave, surf beach), then TC does not consider the SUP use as regulated vessel for mandatory equipment requirements.

Paddle Canada also recommends the use of an appropriate ankle or waistbelt leash although not required equipment