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Paddlecraft Safety

Paddle sports like canoeing and kayaking are the fastest growing segment of recreational boating. Now, there is a course available to address the unique needs of this audience.


Kayaks, canoes, stand up paddle boards (SUPs) and other paddle craft offer great recreation on the water, but you must understand and prepare for the risks. The resources presented here can help you be prepared.

The course, " A PADDLER'S GUIDE TO SAFETY", provides understanding equipment, legal requirements, what to do in emergencies, and more. The course developed by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary in cooperation with the American Canoe Association. This is an onshore-only class, taught by U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. 

Our partner, the American Canoe Association, offers extensive training in various paddle sports. Click the link to view training videos and find local instruction.


Vessel Safety Checks:

You can schedule a vessel safety check (VSC) for kayaks and other paddlecraft. These inspections address legal requirements for your craft, safety equipment, as well as recommended safe practices. If your craft meets minimum requirements, a VSC Decal is issued indicating that you are in full compliance with federal and state boating laws. Most important, this is a good opportunity to discuss your questions about paddlecraft safety.

Paddlecraft Safety Resources

 Cover photo of Be Smart, Be Safe, Have Fun brochure
Download Be Smart, Be Safe, Have Fun. This brochure is a beginner's guide to safer paddling.
Cover photo of Rules of the Road, What Paddlers Need to Know brochure
Download Rules of the Road, What Paddlers Need to Know by the ACA 
 Cover photo of Paddle Safe! Have Fun! brochure
Download Paddle Safe! Have Fun! by the ACA. 
Cover photo of Paddler's Safety Checklist brochure
Download Paddler's Safety Checklist by the ACA.


 Click here for a checklist for kayaking and kayak fishing. 


Click here for some basic safety information for Stand Up Paddlers (SUPs) 

U.S. Coast Guard Paddle Responsibly program logo