Paddlecraft Safety & AUXPAD

Paddlesport participation has grown dramatically in recent years.  Low entry cost, easy storage, less maintenance and flexibility are some of the reasons many people have decided to become paddlers, compared to power or sailing craft.  

Paddlesports are on the rise, setting a records for the number of participants. About 22 million Americans — 7.4 percent of the population — enjoy paddling.

Kayaking, Stand Up Paddleboarding and kayak fishing have grown dramatically. Between 90,000 and 105,000 canoes and 350,000 kayaks are sold annually, according to industry figures.

However, all of this growth in paddlesports has a dark side. Unlike power boats, with the growth in paddlesports, the number of fatalities has gone up. In the most recent reporting year, 2015, 29% of boating deaths were paddlecraft related; in 2016, fatalities climbed even higher. Current efforts to reach the paddling public have fallen dramatically short. The Coast Guard Auxiliary Strategic Plan for 2017 focuses Auxiliary efforts on addressing the problem by expanding outreach to the paddlecraft community.  

The Coast Guard Auxiliary AUXPAD program helps fill the knowledge gap for novice paddlers. AUXPAD consists of two components, AUXPAD Ashore and AUXPAD Afloat.

AUXPAD Ashore includes all of the traditional methods that the Auxiliary uses to reach the boating public, including public affairs events, public education classes, marine dealer visits and vessel safety examinations.  All of these tools are available to approach the paddling public.

AUXPAD Afloat places qualified AUXPAD Operators in direct contact with recreational paddlecraft users on the water.  It promotes paddlecraft RBS via personal example and gives Auxiliarists an opportunity to interact with the paddlecraft community to share RBS messages.  

The RBS Outreach Directorate has established a Paddlecraft Safety Division which will help guide the AUXPAD program and Auxiliary efforts to reach the paddlecraft community with safety messages.  

Click here to download the official AUXPAD Commandant Instruction document. 

Click here to visit the AuxBWiki page that contains a wealth of great information for paddlecraft enthusiasts. 

Paddlecraft Safety Resources


Click here to download Be Smart, Be Safe, Have Fun. This brochure is a beginner's guide to safer paddling.

Click here for some basic safety information for Stand Up Paddlers (SUPs) has partnered with the United States Coast Guard to bring you an 8-part "Safer Paddling" video series that shares valuable safety guidelines, paddling technique pointers, and other various gear tips. Click here to leave this site and view these videos at the website.

Additional paddlecraft safety resources are available on the AuxB Wiki Paddlecraft Safety page. Click here to access the many articles, links there, including lots of great information on sea kayaking and kayak fishing.

Click here for a checklist for kayaking and kayak fishing. 


Click here to download the Rules of the Road, What Paddlers Need to Know brochure, by the ACA 



Click here to download the Paddle Safe! Have Fun! paddling safety brochure by the ACA. 


Click here to download the Paddler's Safety Checklist brochure by the ACA. 

The Water Sports Foundation has produced a Safer Paddling video series with important safety tips for Stand Up Paddleboarders and Kayak Fishers. Click the titles to leave this site and view these videos on YouTube, Facebook or the SUP the MAG websites.  These other sites may contain advertisements. Neither the CG nor the CG Auxiliary endorses any commercial product or service. (Not all of the videos have been released yet.  New videos will be added as they are released.)  #Paddlesafe

Episode 1 - SUP, Wear a Leash and Life Jacket

Episode 2 — SUP, Know Your Limits  

Episode 3 — SUP, Check the Forecast  

Episode 4 — SUP, Dress for Immersion  (Coming Soon)

Episode 5 — SUP, Don’t Paddle Impaired  (Coming Soon)

Episode 6 — SUP, Have a Partner and a Plan  (Coming Soon)

Episode 1 — KayakFish, Wear Your Life Jacket  (Coming Soon)

Episode 2 — KayakFish, Dress for Immersion  (Coming Soon)