Safety Guidelines

Puffin Dive Centre Safety Guidelines for Paddle-boarding activities:

  • Wear a Personal Flotation Device (min 50nm) 
  • Always wear the leash – If you fall off you will want to get back on!
  • Stay in the bay until competent with standing, kneeling and are comfortable with getting back onto the board after falling off​​​​​​. 
  • Do not stand when in shallow waters or next to hard objects (e.g. pontoons or boats)
  • Children under the age of 18 must always be accompanied and supervised by an adult or guide when on the water
  • Children under the age of 12 we recommend the board is shared with an adult unless already certified.
  • Minimum recommended age is 10
  • Tell people on land – before setting off make sure you have notified someone on the shore where you are going and when you are expected back. Puffin Dive Centre recommend the use of the RYA Safetrx app which can be installed on your smartphone. Waterproof phone holders can be purchased in the shop to protect your phone when on the SUP.
  • Take a mobile phone – as a minimum or VHF radio should be used when hiring PDC boards. Waterproof phone holders can be purchased in the shop to protect your phone when on the SUP.
  • Take adequate clothing – A drybag with warm layers should be considered when taking longer trips out.
  • Weather check - What's the wind doing? Always start paddling into the wind & let the wind help you home. Paddling with the wind only if an agreed pick point further down the coast.
  • Weather check - The sunlight reflects off the water Think about drinking water, sunglasses, hats and sun cream - even a 2 hour journey can be hot. 
  • Plan your journey – be realistic and account for weather and tide. Never paddle in the dark.
  • Plan for tides – Be aware of tide times and strengths – ask for advice if unsure
  • Paddle in pairs – We recommend always SUPing in pairs
  • Think the unexpected – Longer trip? Torch, strobe, emergency blanket, Epirb, food and water are all small items that can easily travel with you in a drybag on your board – ask us for more information.
  • Personal Insurance – personal insurance for outdoor activities is always appropriate and advised. This is for the event of equipment damage, loss and any possible injury.

Tips for Renting iSUPs

Renting the boards is a great activity when on holiday in and around Oban and the isles. The boards are packed in rucksacks & easily transportable. Pumps, paddles, PFD Buoyancy aids are all provided. Explore Argyll in new ways!

Tips for paddle board care to prevent chargeable damage/extras on hire:

  • When launching the board - carry and float fin up until in water deeper than your knees - this will prevent fin damage or loss (chargeable!)  
  • When the boards are inflated- face fin up on grass/sand. Avoid storage on hard ground like concrete or tarmac. 
  • The board fin is screwed into place. Ensure tight and solid to prevent loss (chargeable!) 
  • Wash down after use with fresh water. Allow to dry before packing in bag. 
  • Return wetsuits hired after you have washed inside and out with fresh water, Turn the suits the right way before return.
  • PFD Buoyancy Aids, Helmets & boots should be washed with fresh water before return

Tips for paddle board use to maximise time on hire:

  • Standing up – we recommend you start by kneeling until you have become familiar with the stability and movement of the board. You should be able to turn the board 360 degrees with ease left and right.
  • Look ahead not down at your feet - just like riding a bike! Look at the direction you intend to travel for better balance
  • Relax your feet - Beginners tend to "grip" the board with their feet which can get tiring fast. Relax your feet, wiggle your toes and change positions. 
  • Fully Inflate - the last 10/20 pumps might be hard going but a more stable board will improve your balance. Inflate until your PSI is in the green zone on the pump gauge.
  • What's the wind doing? What's the tide doing? You should know the answers before your board goes in the water. Always start paddling into the wind & let the wind help you home. Your body will act as a sail. If you find yourself paddling and not getting far try kneeling until the gust has passed. Too windy? Look for a more sheltered area.