SOCASTEE, SC (WMBF) – It's one of the fastest growing water sports in the world, but as more people jump on paddleboards more rules are strapped on. Now, one local man is pushing to change that.
Trent Ventura owns and operates Carolina Paddle Company and leads tours on the Waccamaw River. He sees firsthand how experienced and inexperienced users operate the board and believes he can make it safer.
He started an online petition to use in a presentation to the U.S. Coast Guard next month to make paddleboards exempt from the requirement to use life jackets or personal floating devices (PFD).
"People are going to do the minimum requirement. Right now, they're going to strap a life jacket to the board, not have a leash, and think they're doing the sport in the safest way possible because that is what the Coast Guard requires," Venture explained.
Instead of enforcing a life jacket requirement, he wants the Coast Guard to require users to have a leash similar to surfers.
"If you fall off and have a leash, that board isn't going more than five or six feet from you," said Venture. He added, "otherwise, without a leash, it is going to go floating downstream and they'll be stuck without a life jacket because it was strapped to their board."
You can find his petition online on here.