Paddle Board Requirements

Licenses and Titles and Stickers, Oh My.

If you are an Illinois power boat owner, you already know that there are a lot of hoops to jump thru. Meaning, there is a whole list of regulations, titles, and stickers that are required.

Most Stand Up Paddleboards do not have hull identification numbers and they are not required to have H.I.N.s according to the U.S. Coast Guard.  The boards do not have much of a visible side for stickers to be attached. So consequently there has been some confusion and it has take a couple of years for the state of Illinois to catch up with the growing number of SUP users.

State Requirements

The newest ruling from the Illinois Department of Natural Recourses is (in part): IDNR page

Canoes, kayaks and paddle boards are no longer required to be titled/registered in Illinois UNLESS they have a motor or sail; otherwise customers will be able to purchase a ‘Water Usage Stamp’ for $6.00 per calendar year for the first three vessels and $3.00 for any additional vessels, all passes must be purchased at the same time to receive the discount. Water Usage stamps are mandatory. They should be available, over the counter, at any point-of-sale vendor starting  July 1, 2013.

For our neighbors in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin DNR handbook shows (in part): You must have a Wisconsin Certificate of Number (registration) and expiration decals to operate a recreational vessel legally. Exception to the requirement to register a recreational vessel include: Manually propelled vessels that are not equipped with a motor or sail.

Personal Flotation Devices Requirements

paddleboard life jacket
Paddleboard Life Vest – PFD

A paddleboard is a vessel subject to regulations administered by the U.S. Coast Guard under 46 U.S.C.&2101 and is subject to regulations administered by the U.S. Coast Guard and it’s Office of Boating Safety.

Depending on what body of water you use your SUP on will determine if you must be wearing your life jacket or if you just have it on board (under a bungee or restrained by your board leash).   One of the most comfortable PFD’s is the Cascade SUP vest at $120 specifically designed for paddlers.  It has a uniqe lining that allows air to circulate to keep you cool, a large cargo pocket, a reflective patch for visability by others, a hanger strap, a whistle and a front fleece hand warmer tunnel.

Paddle boarders must give right of way to motor and large sail vessels.  It is best to not be out after dusk as there is nowhere to mount bow and stern lights on the board, but if you are out later don’t go alone, be sure to have a a whistle, stay close to shore and try one of the inflatable solar Luci Lights that can go under the bungee cord of your board.

Luci Lights; solar powered, waterproof, floats!
Luci Lights; solar powered, waterproof, floats!


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