People often think that because paddleboarding is quite a relaxed and slow-paced activity, wearing a life jacket while you're paddleboarding isn't necessary, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Unlike with other watersports, if you fall into the water while you're paddleboarding then you're typically hitting the water from quite a height, meaning you can often be submerged deeper under the water than you would be if you fell out of something like a kayak.
Also, not wearing a life jacket when you're paddle boarding isn't just a bad idea, it could also land you in a lot of trouble here in the UK. For example, on Loch Lomond in Scotland (one of the best places for paddleboarding in Scotland if you ask us), it's actually illegal to not wear a life jacket while you're paddleboarding. So you won't just be putting yourself in danger, you could also end up with a fine.
Luckily, there are lots of excellent life jackets out there, so we thought it would be useful to round up the best life jackets you can buy to wear while paddleboarding. Let's get into it:
Aquaplanet Pro Buoyancy Aid
In terms of a life jacket which will not only keep you safe but will also make your paddleboarding experience more enjoyable, we think the Aquaplanet Pro Buoyancy Aid comes out on top. This life jacket gives you 50N of floatation and is suitable for people who weigh up to 110kg, so it's great for keeping you afloat when you fall into the water. It's also really comfortable and is very easy to adjust. But the real thing which sets this like jacket apart from other life jackets for paddle boards that we've tried is all the little extras - for starters, the life jacket has a small pocket on the front and a much larger pocket on the back, both of which are waterproof. The larger pocket on the back is intended to be used for a 2L water bladder which comes with the life jacket. If you've ever fallen off your paddle board in the sea and swallowed a mouthful of salty water, then you'll know that having a water bladder with a handy straw would be really useful to help get rid of that saltiness. It can also help you to generally stay cool and hydrated on warmer days and if you're planning on paddle boarding for several hours without returning to land. The life jacket also comes with a handy safety clip which doubles as a whistle, so if you're in real trouble then you'll be heard. Lastly, we really like the look of the life jacket, and not only do we think the bright orange looks cool, but it also helps you to be more visible even when you're paddleboarding in darker weather. We're very pleased and impressed with this life jacket, learn more and buy it here - aquaplanetsports.com
Palm life jacket
All of the life jackets from Palm are designed for paddlesports, so they're absolutely perfect for paddleboarding. Based in Somerset, the Palm brand has been making excellent safety equipment since the late 70s, and has really perfected what the perfect life jacket for paddleboarding should be like. That's why all the life jackets in the Palm range are lightweight, easy to adjust, and allow for lots of movement. Plus, they're very comfortable which is perfect if you're planning to be on your paddle board for a few hours. Learn more and explore the range here - palmequipmenteurope.com
Itiwit buoyancy aid vest
The Itwit brand is well-known for producing a variety of paddle boards, with a focus on affordable boards that are ideal for beginners. But the brand also makes safety equipment, including buoyancy aid vests. With 70N of flotation, this jacket is perfect for heavier riders, but is also suitable for all weights and sizes. It's also perfect for riders who might want to take their paddle board into deeper water. We'd definitely describe this life jacket as minimalistic because it doesn't have much in the way of features, but if you're looking for a well-made life jacket which will keep you safe then this is a great choice. Learn more and buy it here - decathlon.co.uk
Helly Hansen 50N Buoyancy Aid
Helly Hansen is a brand which is best-known for rain jackets, but the brand also produces some excellent life jackets. This life jacket from Helly Hansen is idea because not only does it provide 50N of floatation, but it's also low bulk. This means that it's very easy to move in, making it perfect to wear when paddling. This life jacket is available to buy in a number of colours, but we think the bright yellow colour is best as it's the most visible. Learn more and buy it here -wetsuitoutlet.co.uk
Crewsaver is a big brand in the Marine Safety space, and we'd describe the Matai life jackets from Crewsaver as top of the range. The first thing you'll notice about this life jacket is that it's very light, which is partly what makes it so ideal for paddle boarding. It's also high-cut, allowing for a good amount of torso movement, so you can really move freely. There is also a small key pocket on the inside of the life jacket which is perfect for keys and other small items. It's also noteworthy that this life jacket has a near perfect rating on Amazon UK. Learn more and buy it here - amazon.co.uk
We hope this guide helps you to find an excellent life jacket for your SUP activities. Let us know if you've tried any of these life jackets or if you have any other suggestions for us to try. If you want to read something similar, check out our guide to the best inflatable paddle board you can buy for less than £500 and our guide to the very best inflatable SUP boards you can buy.