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Why are stand-up paddleboarders required to carry personal flotation devices?

Jim Brumm

A paddleboarder in the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway near Wrightsville Beach. (StarNews file photo)

The U.S. Coast Guard classifies paddleboards as vessels when they are used beyond the narrow limits of a swimming, surfing or bathing area, Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer 2nd Class Brandyn Hill explained. Because of this classification, paddleboarders are required to have a Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person aboard and have a police-type whistle and flashlight to comply with the navigation rules.

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