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Safety Guidelines

 

  These guidelines were agreed at a meeting of all interested kite surfers at the Cottesloe Hotel in Oct 2000.  All retailers and instructors were encouraged to provide a copy of them to their students.

 

     
bulletGet lessons from a Kitesurfing Instructor. This sport can be dangerous not only to you but also to the people around you.
bulletAlways ensure downwind is clear of people and obstacles.  100m immediate danger radius.  When learning, plan for 1km clear area downwind to transit in your training session.
bulletRead the forecast and assess the weather (wind strength & direction/ thunderstorms) See http://www.seabreeze.com.au/graphs/ for Perth metro wind strength and direction trends & links to current forecast. http://www.oceanoutlook.com.au/forecasts/perth_forecast.html is also useful for forecasting up to five days ahead. http://www.breakingwind.com.au can provide email & SMS alerts Australia-wide.
bulletAlways fly within your own capabilities (equipment and experience) – gain experience gradually.
bulletThe kite can change direction very quickly, always be aware of what the kite is doing. Initially spend 80 – 90% of your eye contact on the centre axis of the kite. Always use a safety leash and a quick release (QR) on anything that you hook yourself into ie main loop and/or "chicken loop" on 4-line kites.
bulletDo not let go of the bar unnecessarily - but practise using your QR so that you can use it instinctively in an emergency. Packing up at the end of each session is a good time to do this after ensuring that the downwind area where you will drop your kite is well clear of people, animals and obstacles.
bulletBoard leashes can be dangerous - practice getting back to your board without the using a board leash.  Consider wearing a helmet.
bulletUse the kite responsibly and never take risks, especially in terms of wind strength and safety distances downwind.
bulletAlways ensure you have a means of getting back to shore.  Never go out any further than you are not prepared to swim back in.
bulletAvoid Kitesurfing where the wind is blowing any more onshore than 30 degrees when learning.
bulletAvoid Kitesurfing alone.
bulletAvoid flying a power kite on or near land. The exception may be in very light winds.
bulletAll parties should always take action to avoid a collision:
bulletStarboard tack has right of way ie port tack alters course (international sailing & buggying rules)
bulletDownwind flies kite low, Upwind fly kite high
bulletDownwind kite has right of way when overtaking
bulletAlways check for other water users before water-starting or jibing
bulletNever deliberately manoeuvre into a right of way position so that it interferes with another water user. If you are behind another kite heading into the beach, turn early to allow the lead kite room.
bulletLearners should launch well downwind of other water users.

 

Best areas to learn in WA are:
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SW or NW: Melville (Lucky Bay) downwind off carpark

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SW or NW: Leighton Beach (where windsurfing is NOT prohibited - check signs)

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WSW or NNW: Pinaroo Point

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SE or NE: Peel Inlet Mandurah

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Almost any direction (E is often a bit gusty though): Australind

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SW - W - NW: Lancelin

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SW: Hamlin Bay

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NW or NE: Dunsborough

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NW or SW: Busselton

 

Other popular areas suitable for the more experienced:
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S - W - N: Scarborough (be aware of beach break & downwind current.  Keep well clear of surfing and swimming areas)

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S - W - N: Dutch Inn @ Cottesloe through to Cables  (be aware of beach break & downwind current.  Keep well clear of surfing and swimming areas)

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SE - NE: Woodman's Point

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W - NW - E: Point Walter

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SE - E: South Perth

 

Dept of Transport (Marine) Regulations

 

We are covered under any local government by-laws (not sure if any City Councils have passed any yet) + Dept of Transport (Marine) Regulations, which technically include:

 

Right of way “rules of the road” see http://www.dpi.wa.gov.au/imarine/rec_boating/regulations/rules_of_road.html - main one is starboard tack (wind on your right shoulder) has right of way, maintains speed & heading – port tack changes course/ speed to avoid collision.  In addition: kite upwind should remain above 45 degrees, kite downwind keeps below 45 degrees.

 

In protected waters such as rivers, lakes and dams and within 400 metres offshore, a PFD Type 1, 2 or 3 must be worn. When in unprotected waters, more than 400 metres offshore, the PFD must be a Type 1 and flares must be carried.

 

When you go further than 5 nautical miles you also need to carry a rocket flare, radio and EPIRB.  Still exempt from anchor and fire extinguisher.

 

All boats under 3.75m in length (including kite surfers), must stay within five nautical miles from the mainland, unless they are within the limits of a port or within one mile of any island.  Rottnest Island is excluded from the Fremantle Port Boundary ie you cannot legally kite surf to Rotto.

 

Must stay clear of 50 metres of another vessel or person in the water.

 

8 KNOT SPEED RESTRICTION AREA
All the ocean waters within 200 metres of the foreshore, within an area commencing at the southern extremity of Port Beach, Fremantle and extending northwards along the coast to a point on the foreshore coinciding with the northern boundary of the Marmion Marine Park.  More detail can be found at: http://www.dpi.wa.gov.au/imarine/rec_boating/regulations/navguide/regions/wanneroo1.html

 

Dept of Transport turn a blind eye to many of these regulations as long as they do not receive any complaints or observe any unsafe behaviour – it would be a real pain if we all have to wear PFD all the time (as they already have to in Melbourne), stay 50m apart and have to keep under 8 knots within 200m of the beach!!!!

 

We all need to work together on these safety issues by educating those that are risking us all being banned ie if you see someone doing something that you think they shouldn’t, then speak to them – often it is just ignorance and a friendly chat can sort the issue out and prevent it happening again.

 

Unfortunately there are many people who choose not to get any instruction and many instructors who do not teach safety adequately and even worse do not conduct safe practises eg I still see guys teaching others on public beaches.  AKSA also have published safety guidelines at http://www.aksa.com.au/docs/Waterways.pdf