Transport Canada relaxes safety regulations for paddleboarders

An instructor in stand-up paddleboarding in Sudbury says he’ll stick with stricter rules on safety gear.

Paddleboarders no longer required to have bailing bucket, rope

Malek Abou-Rabia is an instructor at the Sudbury Canoe Club. (Kate Rutherford/CBC)

An instructor in stand-up paddleboarding in Sudbury says he'll stick with stricter rules on safety gear.

Last month, Transport Canada relaxed the rules for paddleboarders. Previously, they were classified as a marine vessel, which meant people had to carry a bailing bucket and rope on board.

Now, as long as a paddleboarder is wearing a lifejacket, the only other necessary item is a whistle.

"I know it makes a lot of people happy when they hear, you know what, if I have my life jacket on or my PFD, I can just strap a whistle to it, then I'm good to go," Constable Phil Young with OPP said.

"I don't have to worry about everything getting soaked."

'Safe side of the line'

However, an instructor with the Sudbury Canoe Club, Malek Abou-Rabia, says he will encourage people to take a bag of rope and a bailer with them.

"Paddle boarding can be a leisure sport and it's definitely a really relaxing sport for sure at best," he said.

"But you also have to paddle responsibly and it is a vehicle in the end whether people think it is or not. People have to be on the safe side of the line."

Abou-Rabia says he thinks the original rules were better because he considers the stand-up paddleboard, or SUP, to be similar to marine vessels.

"You can do anything on a SUP that you can on a kayak or canoe or whatever it is, so that means the safety regulations should be the same," he said.

Abou-Rabia says he instructs students to strap a bailing bucket and a bag containing rope to the board, as well as donning a whistle and life jacket.

With files from Kate Rutherford


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