Harbor Patrol to Stand Up Paddle Boarders: Wear An Approved Jacket or Risk Fine

At the Jan. 23 Newport Beach City Council meeting, it was announced that Newport Beach Harbor Patrol will begin ticketing stand up paddle boarders (SUP) who do not have U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)-approved jackets.

“If the jacket is the type that must be inflated, then it must be worn by the paddler,” explained Jeff Herdman, City Councilman for Newport Beach City Council, District 5. “Otherwise, it must be attached to the paddle board.” 

Newport Beach Harbor Patrol

Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is a derivative of surfing that originated in Hawaii, first documented as a sport in 2013. Unlike surfing where the rider waits for a wave to arrive, stand up paddle boarders (as the name suggests) stand on their modified surfboards and use a paddle to travel across the water.

Here are some additional USCG rules for SUP enthusiasts to know:

  • A child 12-years old or younger must wear his or her USCG-approved life jacket.
  • The jacket must be in “serviceable condition,” without rips, tears or deterioration that will diminish its performance.
  • The jacket must be of an appropriate size and fit for the wearer.
  • For all life jackets, be sure to read the label to know if special requirements pertain to that device.

Life jackets are available for purchase at West Marine (3433 Via Lido, Newport Beach) and for rent by Balboa Water Sports (204 Washington St #B, Newport Beach).