The following is a repost from ikitesurf. It would pay to discuss this among ourselves, agree on some conventions and pass these along to lifeguards and other rescue personnel in our launch areas. What do you think?
Excellent question, I will look forward to reading other responses. I will post this on some other forums for input and send it along to Traig Trumbo, an authority on this subject. Having been the unwilling participant in many unwanted rescue attempts over the years, this is what I would advise:
1. ALL KITEBOARDERS when they have to swim in for whatever reason should give the OK sign to guards or park officials onshore periodically. The one divers and I use is simply to hold one hand palm down on your head while looking at them for five to ten seconds. I repeat this to verify that they saw it. It may help to discuss this with the guards ahead of time as this universal signal, isn't quite universally recognized yet.
1a. If the guard can't see much of the kiteboarder or can't tell if he is moving or swimming towards shore after an interval, it would be adviseable to rescue him.
1b. IF YOU NEED HELP, blow your whistle (it is cheap and very useful safety device), and wave one or both hands. As you are wearing (or should be), an impact pfd, staying afloat is no problem. Continue this periodically, while trying to swim closer to shore until the guard onshore acknowledges your signal.
2. A kiteboarder in the water much more than a quarter mile offshore, I have been told, is hard to make out. That is it is hard to tell if they are moving or swimming. I would advise the lifeguards to try to examine the rider through binoculars from a height if possible very carefully. Look for movement, e.g. trying to relaunch the kite, winding in the lines, swimming in, bailing out using the kite as a sail on the water, etc. Alternatively, look for shoreward progress of the kite, hopefully faster than wind and waves would send it.
3. If the rider is moving and doing something productive to get himself into shore as suggested above, leave him alone but look in on him periodically to verify that he is still moving.
4. If it appears that the rider is being moved out of the area, offshore or to some other inappropriate place by wind and/or current, or if the rider appears to have stopped moving into shore for an extended period or has stopped moving period, it would be a good idea to send help out, and best by boat.
5. For boat rescue approach from the windward, avoid the lines at all times and if the rider is awake and able, ask him to secure his kite, i.e. deflate the leading edge and roll it or deflate all the bladders and tie it up. Then he should wrap up his lines. Only once the kite and lines are secured by an able rider should he be brought onboard.
6. For boat rescue, if the rider is unconscious or unable to deal with his gear, the second person on the rescue boat should jump into the water cut both lines leading to ONE SIDE of the kite to depower it as it drifts, detach it from the victim (unhook the control bar, pop the snap shackle), and do the remainder of the rescue per normal procedures. If you have time or another craft, have it intercept the kite, deflate the leading edge, roll and tie it, the wrap up the lines on the bar.
Some suggestions for lifeguard rescue of kiteboarders is given in:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FKSA/file ... Safety%20/
under: 9. Kitesurfer Rescue Information for Lifeguards.doc
Something that we have started to do in Florida and would benefit the sport in other parts of the country, is to give an orientation session to lifeguards/park rangers, etc. on kiteboarding. That is for a couple of hours or more, pref. by a kiteboarding instructor the guards go hands on with trainer kites, then a scaled down kiteboarding kite to appreciate the power of the device. We then go over the various rescue scenarios. We talk about what to look for in a kiteboarder in distress. With luck a few of the lifeguards will get hooked on the sport, (cheap or free lessons and discount gear help), now you have some great friends where it counts.
I have been thinking about making a DVD that shows various rescue techniques for kiteboarders. Stay tuned...
The lifeguards at Belmont posed this question - what should they be looking for?