COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho -- Go to any lake in the Inland Northwest and you have probably spotted people on paddleboards. But did you know, out on the water, it is considered a vessel, which means there are rules you have to follow when using them.
Say you want to bring your paddleboard from Spokane and use it in Lake Coeur d’Alene. You just have to first stop at one of these watercraft inspection checkpoints. There are a couple of other safety regulations you have got to follow as well because they are considered vessels.
Joel Tenbrink of Utah has paddle boarded with his family for a few years now. On Tuesday he was in town visiting family in Coeur d'Alene. While from out of town, he was aware of the rules that relate to standup paddleboards, including invasive species stickers.
"It's a little bit of a pain to get four stickers for a canoe and three paddleboards. But we try to obey the law and follow the rules," said Tenbrink.
Since 2011, the stickers have been required in Idaho. If you come across a watercraft inspection points, you will have to stop and have your paddleboard checked out.
According to the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation the US Coast Guard in 2008 determined paddleboards to be vessels. This means they need to have life jackets on board and something to make sound with, like a whistle.
KREM 2 checked with the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office as to why something like this would be considered a "vessel." They said paddleboards allow for people to get pretty far out into the water away from land. Since that is the case, safety gear is a must.
KREM 2 also asked the Sheriff's Office if most riders are familiar with these rules. They said only half of the paddleboard users they run into are aware of the laws. And just like a boat, do not think about using your paddleboard while drunk. Just like other vessels, you could be charged with Boating under the Influence.
Fortunately, some guys like Tenbrink know to follow the law. He knows it is not worth risking having your paddleboarding day ruined.
"It's great. It's a great place to paddleboard and it's just lots of fun to be out there," said Tenbrink.
If you are caught on your paddleboard without the right safety equipment, that could be a $99 fine. At the same time, without that invasive species sticker, that could be a $72 fine as well.