sup water safety

Water safety for stand-up paddle boarding (SUP).

This Drowning Prevention Week which runs from 17th to 24th June, Mann Broadbent are looking at how the rise in popularity of stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) has also resulted in an increase in deaths from drowning.

SUP is a fun-filled activity for many families, as it is a great way to get outside and connect with nature, however in the last 5 years in the UK, 37 people have lost their lives whilst enjoying manually powered boats on the water*. Here are our top 10 water safety tips specifically for SUP users to help keep you safe whilst enjoying your experience on our waterways:

  • Always wear a personal floatation device. Although the buoyancy of a board provides a crucial floatation aid in an emergency, if you fall into the water, it will help you float and keep your airways clear. Also, unlike a surf board, SUPs are normally inflatable and a burst board will not keep you afloat.
  • Use a leash. Use an ankle leash for surf or non-flowing water and a quick-release waist-belt leash for flowing water or tidal waterways.
  • Review the weather forecast. Before any water sports it’s important to assess the weather conditions and remember that changes can occur rapidly. Taking note of local currents and the wind direction – DO NOT paddle in offshore winds.
  • Take a mobile phone with you in a waterproof pouch. If you are in trouble – call 999. Ask for the Fire and Rescue Service when inland and the Coastguard if at the coast.
  • Stay on your board. If you get into difficulty, stay on top of your board and signal for help. If you fall off your board, stay calm, float on your back and call for help.
  • Tell someone where you are going. This is an important safety tip in many situations, let somebody know where you are heading and what time you’re due to be back. Even better, take someone with you too to enjoy the experience together.
  • Keep your distance. Stay clear of swimmers and other paddlers.
  • Check safety devices in good condition. You might not SUP very often and safety equipment like buoyancy aids can easily become damaged. Check everything thoroughly before you enter the water.
  • Understand water safety flags. Launch and recover in the relevant lifeguarded zone (black and white flags if at the coast).
  • Know your limits. Don’t underestimate the risks associated with water, if you are new to SUP consider using an experienced guide or coach. Understand your capability in the conditions, if you’re unsure, paddle another day.

For more information regarding water safety visit The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) website

Alternatively contact the Mann Broadbent Team on 01905 612336 or email

*source: WAID 2017-21