How to stay safe on your stand up paddleboard

Here are the answers to the knowledge test at the end of the Buoyancy Aids chapter in book 1. 

1. What is the most appropriate type of buoyancy aid for the non-swimmer?

  • One with lots of permanent flotation.

2. What is the most appropriate type of buoyancy aid for the weak swimmer?

  • Permanent flotation with maximum comfort.

3. What is the most appropriate type of buoyancy aid for the competent swimmer looking to paddle significant distances offshore?

  • A good quality beltpack PFD.

4. If you’re paddling over cold water, and you don’t fancy wearing a wetsuit or drysuit because the air temperature is nice and warm and you’re not actually planning on falling in, what sort of PFD would be appropriate?

  • A permanent buoyancy vest, because it will keep you afloat if you suffer cold water shock symptoms.

5. Advantages of beltpack buoyancy aids:

  • Comfort.
  • Much more flotation when you need it.
  • Will keep your head above water if you’re incapacitated.
  • Can work as a swim float.

6. Disadvantages of beltpack buoyancy aids.

  • They aren’t always considered as legal.
  • Useless until triggered!
  • There is a cost for using.
  • You need to know how to use it.
  • Maintenance is required.
  • They are not suited to high-impact activities

7. Advantages of permanent flotation buoyancy aids:

  • Low cost.
  • It works without you needing to do anything to it.
  • Easy to service and maintain.
  • Easily available.

8. Is carrying your buoyancy aid on your board a good idea?

Not a good idea – if you lose your board, you’ve lost your flotation as well!

9. Situations where you would be very glad you had a buoyancy aid:

  • You get separated from your board.
  • You can’t get back onto your board.
  • In cold water.
  • When it’s a legal requirement and the authorities are out checking!

10. What type of buoyancy aid is best for paddleboarding if you are worried about being incapacitated by a head injury?

  • A bit of a trick question, as the only type of buoyancy aid that will keep your head out of the water if you are incapacitated is a ‘lifejacket’ style with a high collar, which is not at all comfortable for paddleboarding. So there isn’t really an ideal answer to this scenario. If you’re really worried about it, wear a helmet!