Safety FIRST !
The United States Coast Guard and the state of Louisiana recognize a paddleboard as a vessel when operated outside the confines of a surfing or swimming area. Therefore, many of the same requirements for personal flotation devices, visual distress signals, sound producing devices and the use of a navigational light after sunset apply when paddle boards are operated in Louisiana waters.
A paddleboard less than 16 feet in length must meet the following safety equipment requirements when operated in Louisiana waters:
All paddle boarders must have a United States Coast Guard-approved life jacket on board.
Any child age 16 and younger must wear a USCG-approved life jacket at all times while on a paddleboard.
Paddle boarders must carry a whistle or horn, or some other sounding device capable of making an efficient sound signal.
When operating between the hours of sunset and sunrise, paddle boarders must carry a visual distress signal – an electric distress light or flares – suitable for night use. This applies to all boards operated on coastal waters and directly connected waters (bays, sounds, harbors, rivers, inlets, etc.) Which are two miles wide or wider.
When operating between the hours of sunset and sunrise, a paddle boarder also must have an electric torch or lighted lantern showing a white light ready at hand for use as a navigation light, which must be exhibited in sufficient time to prevent collision.
Paddleboards longer than 16 feet may have additional safety requirements.