Water Safety Advice for Paddle Boards, Kayaks and Boats

Hydro‑Force™ kayak & paddle board water safety adviceHydro‑Force™ kayak & paddle board water safety advice

#PaddleSafely RNLI & Paddle UK Advice

Watch the Hydro-Force™ water safety video created in collaboration with the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) and Paddle UK (formerly British Canoeing) the Governing Body for Stand Up Paddleboarding, for the #PaddleSafely campaign. 

This video features:
Darren Joy - British Canoeing level 5 coach (highest award for coaching) 
Clair Connibeer - BSUPA Level 2 Instructor, British Canoeing Level 3 Instructor

Check the weather and tides 

Before you plan your adventure, check the weather on the MET Office website and the UKHO / Admiralty Maritime Data Solution for tide times. Pay attention to offshore winds. We would strongly recommend postponing your adventures during adverse weather conditions. 

Tell Someone where you are going 

Tell someone on land where you are going and what time you’ll be back. If you can, buddy up and go on your adventures with another person or paddle in a group where possible. The RYA or ISA SafeTrx app can be used to log, track and send alerts about your trip.  


Wear a personal floatation device 

Even the most experienced swimmers should wear a PFD whilst on the water at all times. Cold water shock and currents can inhibit your ability to swim or stay afloat. We have Buoyancy Aids available and advice on how to properly put on a PFD


Always carry a means of calling for help 

The easiest option is a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch. If in trouble at sea call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. If you're in trouble inland, ask for the Fire & Rescue service. Other options include a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) or a Waterproof Handheld Digital Selective Calling (DSC) / Very High Frequency (VHF) radio.  


Paddle within your ability

Don't go out of your comfort zone when paddling. If you are unsure, stick to safe areas with calm waters. If your arms are feeling tired or you are struggling to paddle, make your way out of the water. When paddleboarding, get comfortable on the board before attempting to stand up. 

Official Paddle Safety & SUP Leash Guidance

water safety for paddleboardingwater safety for paddleboarding
leash safety for paddleboardersleash safety for paddleboarders

Hydro-Force SUP Leash Advice

A SUP leash is essential for paddle board safety along with your PFD/Buoyancy Aid. A paddle board leash keeps you connected to the board and prevents it from floating away, which is needed if you fall into the water. This is highly beneficial for safety as the board can be used for flotation in any unexpected situations

Depending on where you're paddling and the conditions, you need to wear a different type of leash. 

  • Ankle or Calf Leash: for low or non-moving flat water such as calm seas, bays, lakes, reservoirs, and canals. 
    - If you fall in, the board won't float away and you can easily make your way back to the SUP

  • Quick Release Waist Belt System: for moving or flowing water such as rivers, estuaries, and environments with tides or currents. 
    - You should use the quick-release in a situation where you fall in and the leash gets caught on something and/or the board is dragging you. 

Hydro‑Force™ paddle board leash adviceHydro‑Force™ paddle board leash advice

All Hydro‑Force™ SUPs include a coiled ankle/calf leash which is the best type of leash for paddle boarding on calm, flat water. Being coiled keeps it out of the water which prevents dragging and is much less likely to get tangled up. From 2024 several Hydro‑Force™ paddle boards will also include a quick-release belt to use on moving or flowing water.

For white water environments, the official guidance from British Canoeing, acting as the National Governing Body for Stand Up Paddleboarding in the UK, informed by recent research and insight into the inherent danger of using leashes in these environments, advises not to use any type of leash system. However, a PFD and adequate training is required before paddling in this type of water. 

Further Resources on Water Safety for Paddle Sports

The Hydro‑Force™ range is designed for durability, practicality, and safety. Our products, being inflatable, can in some circumstances offer a natural buoyancy aid should you run into any trouble. From a leash with adjustable strap on SUPs to grab ropes on our boats, we have integrated features that can help in tricky situations. However, due diligence is necessary for water safety on all bodies of water. We would highly recommend that you read all the safety advice available for the type of activity you want to take part in. Please visit the following links for expert advice on water safety.