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- Stand up paddleboarding accident report published - Wales, UK
An investigation report by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch was released last Thursday (8th December 2022) following the SUP tour accident resulting in 4 deaths last year in Wales, UK (Oct 2021). Image from Marine Accident Investigation Branch On 30 October 2021, a group of 9 paddleboarders of mixed paddle boarding ability, joined a tour organised by commercial operator Salty Dog. 4 people died as a result of descending the weir and becoming trapped in the hydraulic towback. Safety Issues Directly Contributing to the Accident (page 34 of the report): 1. Four stand up paddleboarders lost their lives because they became trapped in the hydraulic towback at Haverfordwest Town Weir, from which there was no means of escape. [2.3] 2. The tour leaders had planned for accommodation transport and weather; however, without a documented risk assessment and briefing of the participants, the planning and preparation for the tour were inadequate and had overlooked both the active flood alert for the river and the risk posed by the weir. [2.4] 3. Clothing, buoyancy aid and leash wearing were inconsistent across the group and did not follow recognised guidance that paddleboarders on fast-flowing water should wear a suitable personal flotation device and quick release waist leash. [2.5] 4. Lack of clarity over responsibility for the Haverfordwest Town Weir resulted in the hazards it posed to river users being inadequately mitigated. Specifically, a weir risk assessment had not been carried out; the effectiveness of the fillets to create ‘wash-out’ zones had not been assessed; and the signage of the hazard was ineffective and did not conform to national guidelines. [2.6, 2.7] 5. The tour leaders were experienced paddleboarders who had undertaken training as instructors; however, they did not have the training, experience, or qualifications to lead itinerant tours, and their pre-tour planning and reconnaissance did not identify the hazard posed by the weir. [2.8] 6. The tour leaders’ decisions went unchallenged by the participants because they appeared confident and competent. [2.8] Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents, Andrew Moll OBE, said: “it is critical that the governance of this fast-growing sport improves so the public receive clear, consistent safety advice and are able to recognise businesses that are competent to deliver training, tours and expeditions.” This tragedy has hit our industry hard and opened our eyes to the risks involved in stand up paddle boarding. A clear understanding of how to risk assess a suitable environment based on your level of experience and training is essential. We would like to offer our condolences to the family and friends of those that tragically lost their lives. Read the full report here.
- Hello World / We Are SUP Standards!
Hello World, we are SUP Standards and we have created these expert standards to keep you SUP safe at all times. Image from SUP School, Margaret River, Australia We have brought to the industry comprehensive standards which apply in every stage of your SUP journey. Our goal is to define SUP safety worldwide— for recreational paddlers, instructors, school operators and many more. Currently we are living on several online platforms, namely The SUP Standards website. Interact with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. We are more than willing to answer your questions: collaborate with us to create a more nuanced, expert-led SUP landscape, safer for all. The SUP Standards Group To kick off the conversation, we are going to be asking one or two important SUP safety questions each month, which we hope you will share your thoughts on. Whether you are a concerned community member, or an expert SUP educator, we want to hear from you. This forum will take place on the brand-new SUP Standards Facebook Group, but do not worry if you would rather contact us with your ideas directly. Shoot us an email firstname.lastname@example.org After we receive all your ideas, push backs and contributions, our industry experts will discuss the topic in depth. We will publish a polished and balanced summary (hopefully) answering the questions we asked in the first place. Let’s move forwards, together. So with this launch, we look for your help and support, for what we hope will be a platform and community in which anyone can contribute to the SUP standards, simultaneously developing the truly safest criteria for us all to adhere to, from Tasmania to the Cornish coast. Make sure to sign up to our newsletter www.supstandards.com/newsletter and be the first to hear our monthly questions / topics to discuss. Thank you and all the best. The SUP Standards Team.