Safety on the water

Stand up paddle-boarding is a very safe and fun water based activity. You do not sit in the board; instead, you stand, kneel or sit ON the board. Therefore you cannot get trapped ‘inside it’. Our chief instructors are well qualified having received training from The Waterskills Academy (WSA)

Even those instructors who have not qualified with the WSA have shadowed a chief instructor for a period not less than 100 hours logged paddling with customers with continuous assessment taking place throughout this period. We have also received supervisor and assessor training from the Duke of Edinburgh Foundation.

Nobody has ever been seriously hurt in one of our instructor led experiences. We adhere closely to BS 8848 (and self assess to these standards). Each part of a lesson or journey is pre-planned, risk assessed and suitable for the children and adults who are on the expedition. The following are some of the simple general guidelines are what we adhere to and suggest you to also:

Paddle with a partner. You never know when a mishap will happen to you. Your leash might snap offshore or on the river, causing you to lose the board, or your fin could fall out five miles from your take out point. Having a partner (or partners) increases the chances of an accident being nothing more than a funny story you tell over food that night.

Wear a leash (or not)? This should go without saying but we’re constantly surprised by how many people we see on the water sans leash, especially beginners. A leash is the simplest way to stay with your craft, no matter the conditions. If you’ve paddled for long enough, you’ve had a session where you headed out on the water in perfectly calm conditions only to retreat an hour later with the wrath of nature unloading upon you. Don’t be a statistic. Wear a leash. Please note, whilst a leash is a must on the oceans or on calm lakes and rivers, the advice is different for moving water. In moving water situations, the WSA recommends buoyancy aids (PFDs), but NO LEASH.

Wear a PFD. After wearing a Personal Flotation Device for a while, you hardly even know it’s there. For the ultimate, try an inflatable PFD – They’re very low profile and so minimal. CO2 cartridges to blow them up cheap and you’re unlikely to even have to use them.

Be prepared. This includes the rules above. But it also means checking the weather forecast, letting someone know where and when you’re going paddling, wearing the right clothing or suit and being ready for the possibility of something going wrong. Just thinking about the what could happen and what you would do should things go wrong is a great place to start.

Carry a phone. Smartphones are a great resource when you’re on the water. They can act as a GPS, a fitness recorder, an emergency line and, of course, a recorder of your good times. There are a lot of great waterproof cases out there. Get one and take that phone with you. It’s smart.

Take precautions about tropical diseases

  1. Ensure all appropriate vaccinations are up to date prior to coming to Thailand.
  2. Examples of Tropical Disease in Thailand –  SUP Hire (Thailand) Co., Ltd.

Summarised and translated from scientific papers – credit to Mahidol University (Faculty of Tropical Medicine)

  • Dengue Fever and Malaria are diseases prevalent in tropical and subtropical regions
  • Malaria prevalent in Thailand due to rainfall, high temperatures, high humidity and stagnant water
  • Can be especially prevalent in rural areas and during the rainy season, where mosquito larvae readily mature and can breed continuously
  • There is an INCREASED RISK during this time, but it can be an all-year-round problem
  • Risk is further increased in forest or jungle areas
  • Risk is increased just before dawn and just before sunset so participants in outdoor activities should take extra care at these times
  • There is no vaccine for Malaria, so mitigation of the risk centers on avoiding and preventing bites (use barriers and repellent)
  • Young children are susceptible
  • Insecticide treated nets are highly effective
  • Recognition of the disease in its early stages can prevent the disease from becoming fatal

Note: Risks also exist in Thailand (especially in rural areas) when humans are involved in activities in surface water and mud, where animals may have been. The risks that these activities bring to humans is via transmission of Leptospirosis (and Melioidosis).

Although there is not a significant risk around rivers, it does appear to carry increased risk of transmission in rice fields due to urine (and faeces) from rodents and buffalo, and again is more prevalent in the rainy season and rural areas. Both diseases are of public health concern in Thailand

 

  • Lots of information is also available on all of the above diseases on Wikipedia in English