Delaware’s Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Reminds Paddle Boarders to Review Boating Laws

August 11, 2017

Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police
August 2017

Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police remind paddle boarders to review Delaware’s boating laws and regulations and how they apply to paddle boards before heading out on the waterways.

The U.S. Coast Guard and the State of Delaware recognize a paddle board as a vessel when operated outside the confines of an ocean surfing or swimming area. Therefore, many of the same vessel requirements for personal flotation devices, visual distress signals, sound producing devices and the use of a navigational light during low light conditions apply when paddle boards are operated in Delaware waters.

A paddle board less than 16 feet in length** must meet the following safety equipment requirements when operated in Delaware waters outside the ocean surfing or swimming area:

· All paddle boarders must have a United States Coast Guard-approved lifejacket on board.

· Any child age 12 and younger must wear a USCG-approved lifejacket at all times while on a paddle board.

· Paddle boarders must carry a whistle, horn or some other sounding device capable of making an efficient sound signal.

· When operating between the hours of sunset and sunrise, paddle boarders must carry a visual distress signal – an electric distress light or flares – suitable for night use. This applies to all boards operated on coastal waters and directly-connected waters (bays, sounds, harbors, rivers, inlets, etc.) which are two miles wide or wider.

· When operating between the hours of sunset and sunrise, a paddle boarder also must have an electric torch or lighted lantern showing a white light for use as a navigation light, which must be exhibited in sufficient time to prevent collision.

**Paddle boards longer than 16 feet may have additional safety requirements.

For more information, please visit the Delaware Boating Safety webpage.

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