Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Windsurfing and Paddleboarding - Ocean City, MD and Delaware
Tips for selecting a safe and reputable stand up paddle board and windsurfing outfitter to keep your family safe on the water this summer.
With the growth of stand up paddle boarding, many new companies with little to no water sports experience are coming on to the scene offering everything from rentals, to SUP fitness to even bar crawls on paddle boards. How can you be sure you're picking a company that is safe, reputable and will give your family a summer memory that will be cherished for years to come? Here are a few pointers.
First: Ask to see the provider's water sports certificate of liability insurance. There are many types of liability insurance. Having insurance specific to stand up paddling, windsurfing, kite boarding, canoeing and kayaking is necessary for companies to operate a water sports company legitimately. In addition, water sports racing is not covered by many water sports insurance companies or requires an added level of water sports insurance. If you are entering a race, make sure you ask for a copy of the water sports race insurance certificate so you can be sure you are covered in the event of an accident or emergency.
Second: Ask how many years of water sports experience the provider has and what is their specific expertise in the area of water sports. What certifications, if any, does the provider have relating to water sports and water safety? US Sailing and the American Canoe Association all offer certifications on water sports and offer water safety training programs. Local Natural Resource offices offer boating safety courses that can apply to water vessels as well.
Third: Does the provider inform you of Coast Guard regulations on the specific type water sports equipment you are using and provide you with the necessary gear to make sure you are compliant on the water? Be informed to avoid possible ticketing by the Coast Guard. Read the Coast Guard classification for yourself.
Fourth: Ask the question: To what professional industry related organizations does the provider belong and support? The World Paddling Association, the American Canoe Association, US Sailing, SUP Cleanup, Surf Riders and US Windsurfing are all governing and supporting entities in the world of board sports as well as overall good will organizations supporting these water sport activities. Look for these symbols on your provider's place of business to ensure you are working with a reputable provider.
Fifth: If you are taking excursions in parks or on other government property, does your provider have necessary permits to conduct business on their property. State and Federal agencies provide reputable outfitters with outfitting permits. These are necessary to a provider to offer service on park and federal property. If your provider does not have a permit, they are violating the rules and regulations of our park system and short cutting the process of reputable organizations who follow the rules.
Sixth: Read review and testimonials of others. Look on sites such as Trip Advisor, Travelocity, Facebook, Twitter and website testimonials. What others say about a company speaks volumes.
Board sports can be a ton of fun for your family but safety comes first. Make sure you are choosing a reputable outfitter who puts safety first.