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A few tips before you embark

Source : Police vaudoise

Over the past ten years, stand up paddle has become popular in our country. Every summer this water sport allows many of you to navigate on the lake and relax on your board, far from the shore. Let us remind of a few precautions you should take to enjoy the experience safely.

At first glance, paddleboarding does not seem dangerous. However, it must be kept in mind that this sport is practiced on water, an environment that can be hostile to humans, the dangers are real and many people have been victims of accidents in recent years which in some occasions even claimed lives.

Security equipment needed in paddle

If you are considering buying or renting a paddle, here is an overview of the safety equipment you will need to take with you.

As its name suggests, SUP or Stand Up Padlle is practiced standing on the board, a safety strap (or a leash) connects the athlete's ankle to the paddle, to prevent the board from getting too far in case you fall in the water.

When paddling on rivers the instructions may differ slightly, in some cases it may be recommended not to have a safety strap (or a leash) or wear a specific model with weakness points because the leash may get stuck in branches and hurt the athlete .

Whether on the lake or on a river, it is highly recommended to wear a lifejacket. It is not mandatory on the lake within 300 meters of the shore, but it is absolutely essential for people who can not swim or who want to get away from the shore. It is also a basic security that can save your life in case of problems.

Wearing a suit or a protective clothing is strongly recommended. In good weather the air is hot but the water can be very cold.

Always wear a sunhat, sunglasses and sunscreen to protect yourself.

You may be on the water, but don't forget to take some with you to hydrate yourself.

Finally, we advise you to take a mobile phone with you, in order to be able to communicate with the rescue teams in case of problem. It must be placed in a waterproof bag, and secured to the paddle.

Observation of the water and preparation

As you prepare to go on the water, take into account the current weather conditions and possible changes. Weather conditions can turn what should be a great time into a nightmare and put you in a dangerous situation.

When there is a risk of storm (gusts of wind to come) or an established strong wind give up your ride.

In case of thunderstorm or gale, the orange flashing lights are activated in the ports and indicate a warning of strong winds or storm, the outings on the lake are then dangerous or proscribed for the boats. It goes without saying that a real danger for the boats is even more so for the paddles.

In case of a strong "bise" (northern wind blowing on Swiss lakes), the shining sun can be deceptive, the grip your body provides to the wind can move you away from the shore and lead you into much more agitated waters off the coast.

Before moving out on the water, find out about the legislation in force so as not to impede navigation or go to prohibited places (such as the Grangettes area on Lake Geneva).

If bad weather can be dangerous, it's the same for the sun. Prolonged exposure without protection can cause heat stroke or even discomfort. In addition, a thermal shock during a fall in water can induce hydrocution.

As in the mountains, caution on the lakes or rivers is a must.


Priority boats

  • Police and rescue
  • Regular Service Boats (CGN)
  • Freight boats
  • Professional fishing boats
  • Sailing boat
  • Rowing boats (pedal boat, paddle)
  • Motor boats
  • Sailboards and kitesurf

Signs in prohibited areas

The waterbodies forbidden to any navigation are indicated by yellow buoys (near the beaches and swimming pools) or by red and white signs.

Outside the marked areas, one rule, do not approach within 25 meters of aquatic vegetation areas (reeds, rushes, water lilies).

Luminous signals

Notice of strong winds, 40 orange flashes per minute, it announces the arrival of wind whose gusts can go up to 60 km/h. Caution.

Storm warning, 90 orange flashes per minute, it announces the arrival of wind whose gusts exceed 60 km/h. Danger, return to port.

In case of accident, alert 117.