nightime paddleboarding with lights

Safety Guide To Late Night Paddle Boarding

Late night paddle boarding is great. Not only are there fewer people around, but the water is also a lot calmer in the evening.

You can paddle around for hours in solitude and enjoy yourself without having to worry about noise and interruptions.

Before you start paddling around, however, you will need to think about your safety.

Although nighttime paddling is generally safe, it is not without a few risks.

So if you’re planning to go on an evening paddleboarding session then the following safety guide will show you what you need to do.

But before this, I suggest you read our article on best inflatable paddle boards here.

1. Choose A Location To Go Night Paddleboarding

Before you do anything else, choose a safe area where you can paddle board securely.

Places to avoid include areas with limited visibility, rocky beaches, and areas with very strong currents.

Instead, you should look for places, like calm bays, lakes, harbor areas and places with plenty of illumination.

Additionally, you should also consult the locals about the ideal places for paddleboarding. They may be able to recommend a place that you’ll enjoy. They can also provide you with a map as well as for instructions on where to find good paddleboarding sites.

2. Planning

Paddleboarding is meant to be a spontaneous activity but if you’re going out in the evening then you better have a plan in place.

First of all, you will need to plan a route. Ideally, your route should pass through calm, pleasant areas which are not too far from civilization.

Next, you will need to tell someone you trust about where you’re going and when they can expect you to return.

You should also tell them to contact you if you don’t return on time. That way, no one will panic if they can’t find you in the middle of the night.

Thirdly, check the weather. The last thing you want is for the weather to give you trouble on the same evening that you go out paddleboarding.

Strong winds and rain can ruin a perfectly nice paddleboarding session. So prepare accordingly.

3. Companions

paddleboarding at night

You should try to bring a few companions whenever you go out paddleboarding.

Not only can they help you during an emergency, but they can also keep you company throughout the entire time.

Furthermore, buddy systems become even more important during evenings, where minimal light conditions and the absence of safety personnel make paddleboarding somewhat riskier.

For starters, you can ask your friend or group of friends to watch each other’s backs while on water.

You can also designate someone to take care of the equipment, watch the sky for rainclouds or have the phone ready should anything happen.

These precautions will allow the rest of the team to enjoy the water without having to worry about unexpected surprises.

4. Illumination


lights on a paddleboard

Light is very important during evening paddleboarding sessions.

Not only is it required by safety regulations, but it’s also just common sense. You can start by buying a resilient and reliable outdoor flashlight.

It should have a good range as well as a substantial amount of lumens. It should also have white light, as other light colors are not suitable for night-time paddleboarding.  

Furthermore, you should also get a waterproof lantern if you have extra cash.

Lanterns are not only useful for illumination, but they can also be used to signal other people in case of emergency. They can also protect you from approaching vessels as well as prevent collisions.

5. Sound Producing Devices

manual air horn

Aside from sources of light, paddlers are also required to have sound producing devices on their vessels at all times.

These devices are usually whistles and horns but they may also include more sophisticated sound producing devices.

Additionally, phones and electronics may also be considered as sound producing devices if they have appropriate features. If a particular device can alert safety and rescue personnel then it counts as a sound producing device.

6. Join A Group

Illuminated sups

Joining a night-time paddleboarding group is entirely optional, but it’s a good idea nevertheless.

Sometimes, the best way to enjoy an evening paddleboarding session is with other people. This is particularly true if you don’t have a lot of experience with paddleboarding or if you don’t have any equipment of your own.

So if you want to go paddleboarding with other people, you have several options to choose from.

First of all, you can ask your friends to come along and form your own group. Night-time paddleboarding with friends is safer and more fun than doing so with random strangers.

Another option is to sign up for a tour. You can usually find paddleboarding tours at hotels and resorts, and they can introduce you to other people who also share your passion.

They also offer guides and equipment, which means that you won’t have to worry about anything other than the fee.

Finally, you can try joining a club.

If there’s a paddleboarding club in your town then they may have a few members who like to go out at night, and you can join them whenever you feel like paddleboarding in the evening.

7. Consult the Authorities

Some cities may have certain rules and regulations with regards to paddleboarding.

Some laws explicitly forbid paddleboarding in the evening while others will only allow it within a certain period of time. Other cities may only allow paddleboarding in certain areas or vicinities.

Additionally, even if your town allows for late night paddle boarding, it may require you to bring along certain items or comply with certain laws.

In some cases, you may even require you to process a permit.

In any case, it’s usually a good idea to consult your local government on the topic of night-time paddleboarding.

Not only can they tell you about local laws concerning paddleboarding, they may even help you stay safe.

8. Create An Emergency Kit

Finally, you should bring along some safety equipment whenever you go out paddleboarding.

Having a first aid kit is a good start but a spare phone or an extra set of flashlights can help you stay safe in case of an emergency.

flare gunYou also consider bringing along a flare as well as a waterproof GPS device.

If you have a paddleboard with extensive safety accessories, you can add those accessories to your emergency kit.

Night-time Paddleboarding is not as dangerous as some people think but it is not without any risks either.

So if you’re planning a night-time paddleboarding trip sometime in the future, be sure to make the necessary preparations and stay safe.

About the Author Chet Thornberry

My name is Chet and I'm a surfer living in Cocoa Beach. I created this blog to put my experience with surfing, skimboarding, bodyboarding, and paddleboarding to good use (pretty much all things water sports).

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