Boating with Paddleboarders and Kayakers in the Bay

Boaters should use good seamanship in regards to kayakers and paddleboarders when in or out of the channel. It’s nice to slow down becuase your wake can affect them.  Imagine yourself in the kayak or on the paddleboard you see and act accordingly.

Paddle Boarding Safety

Did you know the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has determined that a paddleboard is a vessel in most situations and is required to have the same safety equipment as other small human-powered vessels such canoes and kayaks? If using a paddleboard:

  1. Unless the paddleboard is being used within a “swimming, surfing or bathing area,” the paddleboard must have a USCG-approved life jacket for each person and a sound-producing device on board while on the water.
  2. Although persons on the paddleboard are not required to wear the life jacket while on Florida waters (unless they are less than 6 years of age), it is advisable to find a comfortable life jacket that you can wear or easily carry while on the water.
  3. A “sound-producing device” is a small whistle or horn that can be heard for a least one-half nautical mile. “Referee-type” whistles or other similar devices that can be attached to your life jacket work well.
  4. If you are operating in limited visibility or at night, you will also need a flashlight or lantern that produces a white light. It should be displayed to approaching vessels in enough time to prevent a collision. The light should not be continually displayed.

This information on required equipment for paddleboards is general information and is not intended to address every situation on the water. For more information on required safety equipment for boats, please visit

Kayak Safety – same as paddleboards except:

Registration is a requirement for all kayaks using a gas or electric motor. It isn’t required if the kayak will be paddled.