As trees turn amber and temperatures cool, autumn lures paddleboarders to explore the UK's vibrant waterways. But with shorter days and unpredictable weather, it's crucial to prepare properly for safe adventures.
Follow these key safety tips to maximise fun on your fall paddle boarding trips.
Check your gear from board to PFD
Before heading out, thoroughly inspect all equipment to catch any issues. A few moments preventing problems can save you from any accidents on the water.
- Give your board a look-over for any punctures, scuffs, tears or peeling edges.
- Check your leash for wear and make sure the ankle attachment is secure.
- Examine your PFD to ensure all straps, zippers and buckles are functioning. Check the stitching is sound and all the foam buoyancy is in place.
- Inspect your paddle for cracks, splintering or bent shafts.
- Thoroughly check and tighten your valve if necessary - make sure your board is still airtight
- Check all the attachments such as leash points, d-rings, finboxes and handles to ensure they are in good condition and can do their job
Complete checks mean you can splash forth with confidence in your gear's readiness for autumn fun. If you’re concerned about the condition of any of your kit, repair or replace it – it’s never worth taking any chances on the water.
Maximise visibility as days grow shorter
When daylight hours decrease, it's vital to enhance visibility for yourself and other watercraft.
- Invest in a high vis PFD, with reflective panels in a bold colour like neon yellow or orange.
- Add battery-powered LED lights to your PFD and board for visibility up to one mile (it looks pretty jazzy, too).
- Carry a waterproof head torch if paddling near dawn or dusk.
Taking these precautions allows you to continue paddling safely into twilight hours and expands your adventuring potential!
Dress for warmth – don't let hypothermia spoil your fun
Plunging autumn water temperatures calls for proper attire. Wetsuits provide insulation against chillier waters. Layer in wool or synthetics underneath.
- Bring a thermos of warm soup or tea for quick heat if needed.
- Know the signs of hypothermia like shivering, slurred speech and confusion.
The right cold-water precautions mean dropping temperatures don't have to limit your fun.
Pick your route carefully based on skill level
Autumn's mercurial weather makes smart route planning essential. It's advisable to choose routes that offer some shelter from potentially stronger winds that can occur in autumn.
If you're venturing into more challenging waters, consider going with a group or hiring a guide who is familiar with the area. Their expertise can be invaluable in navigating safely through changing conditions.
- Consult tide tables and marine forecasts before choosing your paddling location.
- Match your route difficulty to your skill level and experience.
- Paddle near the shoreline if there are offshore winds and if strong, avoid heading out.
- Get local advice wherever you paddle and make sure you understand currents and other unique features where you are paddling.
Careful route selection lets you paddle forth with confidence no matter what the weather throws your way.
Prep right, paddle on!
Autumn paddleboarding blends breathtaking beauty with exciting new challenges. With an eye on safety and our tips for preparation, you're ready to make the most of the UK's vibrant fall waterways.
Grab your gear and get ready to splash into a season of adventure!