With support from Water Safety New Zealand, NZSUP has undertaken an extensive research and consultation exercise within the SUP industry to come up with our equivalent of the Maritime NZ Safer Boating code.

Whether you’re beginner or expert, follow these five simple rules to keep you safe while out on your paddleboard this summer.


  • LEASHES SAVE LIVES – but it is important to use the right leash for the conditions.
  • On moving water (rivers, harbour mouths etc): use a leash with a quick-release system that can be operated from above the waist.
  • NEVER wear a leash attached to your ankle or calf in moving water. No leash is better than the wrong leash in these conditions.
  • Surf: only use a straight ankle/calf leash.
  • Weedy conditions:  use a coiled leash so that it does not drag in the water and catch weed.


A Personal Flotation Device (PFD) will greatly increase your survival time in the water should you become separated from your board. Beltpack PFDs are an excellent low-profile option for experienced stand-up paddlers.


Know the weather,  wind strength and direction (now and forecast), tide height and flow, and water temperature. Is your ability, equipment and clothing right for the conditions?


Carry two forms of waterproof communication. A phone in a waterproof case if you have signal, or a hand-held VHF (emergency channel 16) or a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), and a waterproof whistle.


Even if you’re paddling with others (always safest!), make sure someone onshore knows that you’re on the water, where you’re going and how long you will be. Tell them when you get back too! The Coastguard App ‘Log A Trip’ function is a great resource for this.


For more information on SUP Safely visit our safety pages.