Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (CA-46) sent a letter to the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) requesting the Commandant make a timely determination that allows state and local governments to ensure paddle boards are treated the same as sailboards and windsurfing with regard to Personal Floatation Device (PFD) rules.
"I request that you take appropriate action to ensure federal regulation of stand-up paddle boards (SUPs) in navigable waters reflects common sense and serves the best interests of the United States Coast Guard as well as the public using our waterways," writes Rohrabacher in the March 23rd letter to USCG Commandant Adm. Robert J. Papp, Jr. "We do not want the brave men and women who protect and serve along our coastline distracted by boating safety duties that are non-essential. Enforcing life-preserver rules for people on SUPs is not on only non-essential, it is nonsense."
Rohrabacher is requesting that the USCG follow a uniform rule of local control of Personal Floatation Devices, similar to sail and windsurfing boards.
"In the surf break, wave riding devices are subject to local rules made by local officials accountable to the local community and the customs and protocols established by the waver rider community should also play a role," says Rohrabacher. "Promoting uniform enforcement of federal and local boating and water safety rules benefit all who depend on the waters for their livelihood and recreation."
"As a surfer, I am convinced that restraint of federal power, in favor of local rules, brings about the best result. Let's not let an overzealous federal regulatory impulse create disarray in uniform water safety enforcement policy that has worked well for over 30 years."
Rohrabacher has not yet received a response from the Coast Guard.