SUP's at Powell - what should I know?

PowellBride

Well-Known Member
#1
Does anyone know what the rules are regarding Stand Up Paddle boards at Powell? i know summer is still away off, but very excited about the boards we bought at the boat show.
 

bobco

Well-Known Member
#2
hard to believe but I don't think government has nay regulations on them. saw I guy late fall of 2015 paddle boarding from Colorado river entrance to the dam, what a trip!
 

PowellBride

Well-Known Member
#4
I'll pass on heavy traffic areas.

Looks like they are considered a "vessel" and I'm required to have a USCG Type 1 flotation device with me (don't have to actually have it on) and a whistle or others noise device
 
#6
You definintely do not need a Type I PFD. That's an offshore life preserver. A lighterweight, smaller Type III would be more suitable. It seems to me the legislation and rulemaking have not caught up with paddleboards. "Sailboards" (defined as a board with a mast for a sail) are exempt from federal and Utah state PFD requirements. There is no explicit exemption for paddleboards. One might argue a paddleboard is so similar to a sailboard that no PFD is required. In the end, it would be a law enforcement officer's and or the court's discretion that would apply. All that to say... Why not bungie a light weight Type III to your board anyway? Every year people die at Powell for lack of a simple life jacket...
 

Bill Sampson

Well-Known Member
#7
I have used paddle boards on Powell for 3 or 4 years. I always carry a life jacket with me just to be safe. It is pretty easy to fall off one of them.
 

cfulton

Well-Known Member
#9
Last October while fishing in the channel above Piute Bay in the San Juan there wee 3 paddle boarders (two guys and one gal) camped along the shore in the San Juan channel. They had a really small tent and no support craft or anything other than their boards and paddles. Later that day we saw them continuing down lake, obviously traveling to a new location. That afternoon they had traveled about 6 miles and were stopped on an island in the middle of Piute Bay. This is about 20 miles above the confluence with the San Juan and the main channel which is mile marker 57. We could see no visible amount of provisions and only minimal stuff laying on their boards. Who they were, where they came from, where they were going is still a puzzle. Wish we'd have stopped and asked them. They were gone the next day, don't know where they went.
Chuck Fulton
 

Randy Helzer

Well-Known Member
#11
My wife has an inflatable and loves it. I use it also. Two things to consider at Powell regarding SUPs.:
We do not practice the typical SUP practice of using the board with the PFD strapped to the board and not using a ankle lanyard. The winds can come up quickly at Powell so if you fall without being attached the board can easily end up dozens of feet from you, being pushed by the wind with your PFD on board.

The other concern is to make sure you can remount the board in deep water (not as easy for me as you might think especially if I am tired). If you fall in open water or in a steep wall canyon you may have a long trip pushing the board to shallow water.
 

PowellBride

Well-Known Member
#12
My wife has an inflatable and loves it. I use it also. Two things to consider at Powell regarding SUPs.:
We do not practice the typical SUP practice of using the board with the PFD strapped to the board and not using a ankle lanyard. The winds can come up quickly at Powell so if you fall without being attached the board can easily end up dozens of feet from you, being pushed by the wind with your PFD on board.

The other concern is to make sure you can remount the board in deep water (not as easy for me as you might think especially if I am tired). If you fall in open water or in a steep wall canyon you may have a long trip pushing the board to shallow water.
Thanks Randy. We has planned on using the ankle lanyard. We've seen our speedboat quickly drift away when we jump in to float and cool down, figured it could only get worse with a SUP. Hadn't considered the effort to remount. We'll give that thought - Thanks!
 
#13
I would always carry or wear a PFD. At Deer Creek we open-water swim often. A small microburst came up fast. Two teenagers on SUPs fell in. The wind and waves were so bad they couldn't catch them. We convinced them to let them go and they had to swim to shore and fetch the boards down the lake. I'm glad they had PFDs.
 

Waterbaby

Moderator
Staff member
#14
Good thread. They are very popular here on Lake Havasu and I see all these boarders paddling out in between very large boats, no vest in sight, and wonder at what happens if they fall in.
 

mtnpull

Well-Known Member
#15
I second the ankle lanyard. We rent out a number of SUP's throughout the summer and we require each renter to wear a life jacket and wear an ankle lanyard. There was a young fit guy a couple years back that fell off his on Utah lake during some winds and drowned. Not worth it. When I go out on a paddle board I don't typically wear the life jacket, but I ALWAYS have the ankle lanyard on so I don't lose my board all together.
 

VanillaIceCream

Well-Known Member
#16
We use an old windsurfer board as a paddle board and have never been questioned by an authority on the paddle board for anything.

I know they'd love to write a ticket; the Rangers at the Mud Puddle aka Highline Lake, CO always "let their presence known" and have checked our boat data plate, checked for life jackets, questions the kids, looked in the cooler, run our trailer tags, etc...It got so bad last year my little kids asked not to go to Highline Lake anymore.


Since you don't (yet) have to register paddle boards I feel the Rangers just ignore them.

Here's an example of Rangers interpreting things: While living out of state we had two identical Sunfish sailboats; one was registered and one was not. (Registration wasn't required on the Sunfish, didn't meet state requirements).

The Ranger only wanted to inspect for Quagga mussels on the registered boat.
Since I was certified by that state to do Quagga and Zebra mussel inspections, I asked why he didn't inspect the other Sunfish. His response was only registered boats need inspection and drove away. Bureaucracy!
 
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TR.

Well-Known Member
#18
Good thread. They are very popular here on Lake Havasu and I see all these boarders paddling out in between very large boats, no vest in sight, and wonder at what happens if they fall in.
Waterbaby, my wife and I always have a vest on our boards however we rarely wear them if we put the ankle leash on. If you think about surfers, they are out in big waves with no vest, the board being a huge floatation device in itself, as long as you are attached. I realize that this will not sit well with some that insist on life jackets on every time you are on the water. It is actually very easy to get back on a board from the water, they are a surf board after all. I have used mine to fish both at Powell and on the ocean and feel comfortable without a jacket on as long as I have a leash. That being said I always carry a jacket and a whistle as these are the rules, and common sense. (And a headlamp when fishing the canals in Florida at night for visibility to boaters). The only real fear I have at Powell is paddling in canyons and having some moron come flying through at high speed. That being said most boaters are respectful when they see us on boards. Last summer my wife and I were camped at Stanton for a week and paddled over to Halls every morning for coffee. Any boaters that came through gave us a much appreciated wide berth. It may be the most fun and effective core strengthening exercise there is. And I'll add that when inspections were mandatory, at first they were not inspected, however by the second year the rangers always inspected them.

TR
 

Lake Bum

Well-Known Member
#19
@VanillaIceCream I just read your response about Highline Lake. What gives them ANY RIGHT at all to look inside of your cooler?!?!? Do they think you're hiding a secret weapon in there or something? I have absolutely nothing to hide, but there is NO WAY I would let a Ranger think he can search my boat with no just cause. WOW
 

TR.

Well-Known Member
#20
@VanillaIceCream I just read your response about Highline Lake. What gives them ANY RIGHT at all to look inside of your cooler?!?!? Do they think you're hiding a secret weapon in there or something? I have absolutely nothing to hide, but there is NO WAY I would let a Ranger think he can search my boat with no just cause. WOW
High line is a strange place with strange rules. I have heard horror stories about it.

TR