Do You Need Life Jackets on Stand-up Paddleboards in Montana?
We're not trying to be the water safety nannies here, but it's definitely the time of year when you want to be aware of state law.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wants to remind you that when using stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) a life jacket is required to be on the board. The use of SUPs has exploded in Montana over the past few years. And while they're fun and pretty easy to use, many of us don't realize they have safety requirements, just like other vessels.
Are there any exceptions? In 2008, the U.S. Coast Guard determined that SUPs are considered a vessel when used outside a marked swimming area, and that state law applies for safety equipment. In addition to having an approved life jacket on the board, children under 12 years of age must wear a life jacket while on a SUP.
One other reminder, SUP fans: you must stop at watercraft inspection stations, even with a SUP. You know, aquatic invasive species / clean, drain and dry and all that. Please have fun and enjoy. But be safe and follow the rules.