Standup paddling is all fun and games, until it’s not. The water–whether ocean, river, lake or pond–can be a dangerous place and always deserves respect. That’s why SUP magazine has partnered with the U.S. Coast Guard to bring you “Safe SUP Choices,” an ongoing series of safe-paddling reminders.

Of course, we need your full attention and dull safety tutorials don’t always do the trick. Instead, we’ve had a bit of fun with making some very important points. Because, all kidding aside, too many standup paddlers are drowning–and those deaths could be avoided. So take a minute to enjoy, then take a minute to think and then make the right choices next time you hit the water. They can make all the difference.

In this first installment, we cover the importance of using the buddy system and never paddling alone. Because if something goes wrong, having someone with you could make the difference between making it home safe and drowning.

More on SUP Safety.