Paddle Boarding at Night

If you’re a paddle boarder, yearning for the next challenge or simply looking for some nighttime adventures you are in luck. While paddling during the evening hours brings a new element of excitement to the sport, it is important to take certain safety measures to ensure your safety on the water.

One of the most important safety accessories you will need is a paddle board light or, in the least, some kind of light meant for being out on the water. Not only will you be able to steer your paddle board more effectively, but a light source will also make it easier for boats and other hazardous crafts to spot you allowing them to keep a safe distance. If they can’t see you they won’t know enough to steer away from you!

Depending on the type of water you are traversing and the kind of light you choose, you might even catch a glimpse of the aquatic nightlife below the surface! Nighttime is a very special time to observe some of nature’s beautiful aquatic creatures. With less action out on any given body of water creatures can come out of hiding. There’s far less noise and waves to scare away all of the sea’s beautiful wildlife.

Choosing An SUP Light

light and motion sola dive lightsDon’t be foolish, lights are a necessity if you’re going to go paddle boarding at night. In fact, if you are in the U.S., the Coast Guard regulations require paddle boarders to have some form of light if you are out after sunset.

If you are going to buy an SUP light, your first choice is to make is whether or not you want the light to be mounted above the water line (out of the water) or underwater. Check out this guide on choosing a stand up paddle board light.

Underwater Lights

Underwater lights are made for safety and visibility. These types of lights make you much easier to spot by boats and other moving vessels that pose a danger to you. Underwater lights accomplish this by illuminating the water immediately around you. Have you ever seen one of those cars with the ground effects kits underneath? They kind of work in the same way, only instead of merely trying to look cool, underwater lights could actually prevent you from getting hit by another oncoming boat!

Above Water Lights

Above water lights have slightly lower visibility to other vessels out on the water. They don’t surround you and your board with that persistent glow. Above water lights however are far more effective for navigation. While underwater lights create a dim glow around you, above water lights work very much like the headlights do in a car. Above water lights shine bright and far ahead. But like a car headlight, they can only be seen if they are more or less aimed towards the viewer. You don’t see a car’s headlights from behind right?


To be forthright, paddle boarding lights can be fairly expensive. However, you shouldn’t let the cost prevent you and your friends from trying the nighttime paddle boarding experience. It’s definitely a whole unique experience, one that if you’re up for it, can be something you look forward to.

There are many illumination options out there, ranging at different price points while still providing the necessary safety for you and your family. If some of the higher tier light kits are too high for your budget, in the least use a headlamp or basic flashlight for nighttime navigation on the water. Waterproof LED strip lights are a cheaper, but effective choice for visibility, and can be attached to your board with a little do it yourself knowhow. The options are quite limitless.

SUP Lights Overview

When choosing the best illumination options, keep in mind that the underwater style lights are best for making your board visible to others, and some light kits can even allow you to see underwater wildlife. Most underwater options are designed specifically for a paddle board and do present an amazing nighttime experience.

Above water style lights are great for navigating around the water because they typically have a more focused beam, allowing you to see far across the water as you paddle your board. To be honest, there aren’t as many above water options made exclusively for paddle boarding, but the all-purpose models still work just as well..

Not only are SUP lights a necessity for a night out on the water, but they also enhance your experience and increase your overall safety…a win win!

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