Florida Paddleboarding Regulations and Laws
Florida Paddleboarding Regulations to Know before you go.
If you are using a paddleboard in Winter Haven, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has determined that a paddleboard is a vessel in most situations and is required to have the same safety equipment as other small human-powered vessels (canoes/kayaks). This means that if you are using a paddleboard, you must have a USCG-approved life jacket for each person and a sound-producing device on board while on the water, unless the paddleboard is being used within a “swimming, surfing or bathing area”. Although persons on the paddleboard are not required to wear the life jacket while on Florida waters (unless they are less than 6 years of age), it is advisable to find a comfortable life jacket that you can wear or easily carry while on the water.
A “sound-producing device” is a small whistle or horn that can be heard for a least one-half nautical mile. “Referee-type” whistles or other similar devices that can be attached to your life jacket should work well. If you are operating in limited visibility or at night, you will also need a flashlight or lantern that produces a white light. It should be displayed to approaching vessels in enough time to prevent a collision. The light should not be continually displayed.
If using a paddleboard offshore or on certain coastal waters at nighttime, visual distress signals may be required, per the Code of Federal Regulations. Therefore, it is important to be familiar with the requirements for visual distress signals before heading out on your paddleboard.
So be safe and remember the rules when paddleboarding in central Florida.