Wear A Life Jacket and Leash
The second golden rule is to wear a life jacket and leash when you stand up paddle. In fact, paddleboards are considered a vessel by the U.S. Coast Guard, which means that you need to have a life jacket and whistle on hand if you're outside of a swimming or surfing area. If you can't swim, it's definitely a great idea to wear an inherently buoyant life jacket. And there are some great, paddle-specific models on the market that are comfortable to wear and won't restrict your movements. If you are a swimmer, you can consider an inflatable life jacket. The most popular inflatable life jackets for stand up paddling are belt packs which are worn around your waist, but they're also available as vests. If you're going to use a belt pack, they're best worn in front so they can be easily and quickly inflated if needed.
Your board should also be considered an important piece of safety gear, which is why a leash is such a key piece of safety equipment, because it connects you to your board with a strap. Unless, you're specifically paddling whitewater rapids or moving water rivers where your leash can become snagged on a rock, a branch, or even on the shore, it's very important to wear your leash. Because if you ever do fall off, it's amazing how quickly wind and current can separate you from your board.