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One of the greatest benefits of spending time near the water, or on the water, is getting off the beaten path. Paddleboarding is a fun and relaxing way to leave the shore and explore parts of lakes and streams not accessible by motorized boats.
A short paddleboard excursion can be as simple as a few paddle strokes along the shoreline near your campsite or your put-in location. But more advanced paddleboarders have been known to cruise for miles, sometimes up to several hours.
Paddleboarding isn’t quite as suited for overnight camping trips on water because paddleboards aren’t as stable as canoes or long range kayaks, and tend to become tippy when loaded with lots of gear. But long day trips over many miles and many hours are a great way to use your paddleboard to its max.
Before you head out for that 8-10 mile paddleboard trip, or if you plan to spend more than 30 minutes on your board, consider these three must have accessories for safety (and good fun).
Waterproof and Floatable GPS Device
There’s nothing worse than getting lost, and there’s nothing more fun than plotting your progress along the way. A waterproof GPS device helps you with both.
Better than using your smartphone, which might sink to the bottom, even if in a waterproof case, a waterproof floatable GPS device keeps charged for hours (or days), and stays with you even though that accidental tip that happened when you were dive bombed by a Bald Eagle.
Water Safety Knife
Experience mariners know a knife can save a life. Lakes and streams are common places for heavy items like boats, and dangerous hidden obstacles like ropes. Low power flat water boaters can learn the same.
A good safety knife is quick to draw, attaches tightly to your life vest, and has serrated edges for quick cutting through ropes.
Lightweight Waterproof Cooler
Unlike the coolers used by offshore fishermen that hold thousands of drinks and keep ice for days, small lightweight coolers are easy load, hold enough drinks and sandwiches for full length day trips, and can be attached by lanyard to small boats like paddleboards.
Since most soft coolers zip shut (thus holding in air) they usually float for several minutes… which gives you plenty of time to get them back on your board in case of an accidental tip. Trust me, I’ve done this many times myself. Just remember to test their floatation in the shallows before you head out into the deep blue yonder.
But the best benefit is probably the reward when you reach your destination on time, you’ll have a great view, and maybe even a cold brew to reward your paddling effort, and that expert planning before you launched.
Happy (safe and prepared) paddling!