Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUPing) is hugely popular, especially in Perthshire due to the spectacular views and the connection with nature.

SUPing can work wonders for your health and fitness, as it is a great combination of strength, balance and endurance! Your core and upper body will get a good workout and SUPing will also strengthen your legs and help you improve your balance.

The River Tay Community Sports Hub wants you to enjoy SUPing safely outdoors, and so here is some important guidance. 


  • Consult a doctor for health advice and discuss the risks. Cover any cuts/abrasions and don’t enter the water with deep cuts due to the risk of infection.
  • choose a venue that has organised daily sessions and has safety cover. Willowgate Activity Centre has weekly sessions and SUP safety courses where you can meet other enthusiasts and SUP in the shallow 320m circuit lagoon. Find out more 
  • check the weather and tides 
  • tell someone on land where you are going and when you will be back as they can call for help if you don’t return on time
  • SUP with a buddy where possible
  • do not SUP if under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs


If new to outdoor SUPing, choose a venue such as Willowgate Activity Centre that has organised sessions for guidance and has safety cover to help you in an emergency. If SUPing on the River Tay or on lochs, assess the conditions before you get in and in both cases

  • check your equipment, wear a buoyancy aid, use a quick release belt
  • know your limits (shorten your SUP time/SUP close to the shore)
  • the colder the water and the air temperature, the quicker you will cool down, especially if you end up in the water, and so reduce your SUP time accordingly
  • keep an eye on your exit point and make sure you can return to it as currents and the wind can push you off course


  • where will you safely enter and exit the water
  • be aware of other river users (check with the Harbour for known exercises / sports activities)
  • what are the tides like at the time you wish to SUP (River Tay is a tidal river)
  • are there any hazards to avoid (rocks, wild life, other river users)
  • check the weather forecast
  • if in doubt, don’t go out on the water


Entering water under 15°C can seriously impact your ability to breathe and move. If you fall in unexpectedly, you may experience cold water shock. If this happens, fight your instinct to swim. Relax and float on your back until you can control your breathing and the shock passes. Then you can call for help.


  • wear a wetsuit, it will help you stay warm and can increase your buoyancy if you fall into the water
  • wear a buoyancy aid
  • use a waist leash that can be easily unclipped
  • in very cold water temperatures, consider wearing neoprene gloves, and boots 
  • have a means for calling for help with you (mobile phone in waterproof pouch / whistle to attract attention). You can also download the RYA SafeTrx app which can track your swim and alert emergency contacts if you fail to return on time
  • make sure you have warm clothes and a warm drink for after your SUPing. 


In case of an emergency, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard. You should always have a means of calling for help when open water swimming or cold water dipping. This could be a mobile phone in a water proof bag.

Remember, if you don’t have any mobile phone signal, don’t panic, you can still try calling 999 or 112 as your phone will try to connect to any other network available.