Paddle boarding at night can be a unique and exciting experience, but it’s important to take extra precautions to ensure you stay safe on the water.
In this article, we’ll discuss several tips for paddle boarding at night to keep you safe and sound while having an adventure that you’ll look back on as The Good Ol’ Days.
It’s no secret that weather and water conditions can be unpredictable, but what many people don’t realize is that it can be more challenging to gauge these changes in the dark.
Proper preparation with the right clothing, lighting, and safety equipment can help you navigate such challenges.
1. Dress for the Conditions
When paddle boarding at night, it’s important to dress appropriately. Wear multiple layers to keep warm and, if necessary, a wetsuit to protect from the water. Conditions can be very different on the water at night than they are on shore, even in the summertime.
Additionally, make sure to wear bright and reflective clothing to increase visibility to other paddlers and boaters on the water.
Remember, you aren’t just dressing for staying warm on top of the paddle board, but dressing appropriately in case you fall in, or need to be seen from a distance.
2. Bring Enough Lights
You should attach a waterproof light to your board, and carry a headlamp or flashlight to illuminate your path and make yourself more visible to other paddlers and boaters on the water. Wearing bright and reflective clothing, along with proper lighting, will help increase your visibility and keep you safe.
Many people also attach LED lights for fun onto the bottom of their SUP, which can make for a fun party element in larger groups.
Depending on the state you are paddle boarding in, your SUP may be considered a water vessel that requires registration, and must follow all laws and regulations while on the lake such as having stern lights. Be sure to check into this with the local recreation department before you head out!
3. Stay Informed of the Weather
Before paddle boarding at night, it’s important to check weather and water conditions to ensure safe paddling. Only head out when conditions are favorable, and the water is calm.
Furthermore, it’s best to avoid areas with strong currents or heavy boat traffic to reduce the risk of accidents. Remember that the local conditions may not accurately reflect the conditions on the water, especially on larger lakes that may see stronger currents and lake wind effects. Be prepared!
4. Remember the Buddy System
The buddy system is essential for paddle boarding at night. While a lot of people go out on their SUP alone during the day, it’s much more dangerous to do so at night.
Bring a friend or paddle in a group for added safety, as accidents can happen on the water at night.
5. Don’t Drink and SUP
For a lot of adults, spending some time out on the water with a cold drink sounds like a great night, in theory. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the riskier activities you can do on the water, especially since balance is involved in such low-light conditions.
Don’t consume alcohol before or during your paddle boarding session. Alcohol can impair your judgment and balance, making it more difficult to stay safe on the water.
6. Stay Close to Shore
It’s tempting to go on an overnight cruise on your paddle board, but nighttime conditions make it much more difficult to navigate in the water. This is important for larger bodies of water where water conditions can change quickly.
To reduce the risk of getting lost or stranded during nighttime paddle boarding, you should stick to well-lit areas and stay close to the shore. This will not only help you maintain a sense of direction, but also ensure you’re within a safe distance to return to land if needed.
Remember that you are paddle boarding on water and the conditions can change at any minute. Stay alert, and use your common sense.
If you feel uncomfortable or nervous about any type of activity, it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid it.
Additionally, being prepared shows that you take your safety and the safety of others seriously. It demonstrates that you’re responsible and committed to making the most of your paddle boarding experience. By taking the time to prepare, you’ll be able to enjoy your time on the water with confidence and peace of mind.
Remaining safe with these tips for paddle boarding at night will let you enjoy many more nights out on the water!