SUP rental company demands safety courses for paddlers

After the death of a 16-year-old stand-up paddler from Buchloe on Friday evening near Eching on Lake Ammersee, the water rescue service and the local SUP and windsurfing school Müller warn of the risks of this recreational sport on the water. “Because the lake has no beams,” says Siegfried Dumbsky. During the accident, which occurred near a steep edge about 300 meters from the shore, he was one of the leaders of the Landsberg district water rescue service. According to the police headquarters in Upper Bavaria North, the 16-year-old – in contrast to her stepsister, who was one year younger – was not a swimmer. In the emergency situation, the 15-year-old was able to grab the SUP board of a paddler, who pushed his board towards her with force. The siblings had borrowed their board from their mother and were not wearing a life jacket.

The 16-year-old was autopsied on Monday to finally clarify the cause of death. The swimming accident happened before the eyes of the parents, who had taken a trip to Lake Ammer. “We are stunned by what happened,” says Richard Müller from the SUP and windsurfing school in Eching, which is located right next to the Eching water rescue service. If you want to borrow a board from him, you first have to sign a declaration and confirm that you can swim safely. In addition, life jackets and a safety line should be worn so that the board does not drift off after a fall into the water. These are guidelines from the Association of German Water Sports Schools (VDWS) in Weilheim, but not legal regulations, explains Müller. The 67-year-old sports instructor strongly advises paddlers to first acquire a “safety card” in a course in order to learn the basics of personal safety in stand-up paddling. It would make sense and be necessary to introduce this as a mandatory requirement, says Müller.

Here, the recreational athletes would also learn about the pitfalls on the lakes. These dangers are often underestimated by paddlers, reports Operations Manager Dumbsky. There are currents, wind waves or a sudden storm that has driven some people on their boards to the eastern shore of Lake Ammer. It also happens that helpless and exhausted paddlers in the middle of the lake have to be rescued by lifeguards. It is therefore important not only to be able to swim well, but also to pay attention to the weather and your physical condition, emphasizes Dumbsky. He was also a volunteer on Lake Wörthsee four years ago: A 37-year-old woman from Munich fell into the water from the SUP board and drowned. According to the police, she was not wearing a life jacket and was a bad swimmer.

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