Good point Toby, it better to add that extra assurance of safety. I have modified the document further including the suggestions that have come in. Input on this would be most welcome.
SAFE KITEBOARDING GUIDELINES - April 19, 2002
These guidelines have been prepared with the goal of improving kiteboarder and bystanders safety. They have been derived from other kiteboarding guidelines from around the world and from lessons learned from actual accidents and incidents. Kiteboarding can be potentially dangerous both to the kiteboarder and to bystanders, particularly if practiced without adequate knowledge, training and caution. Kiteboarders must accept that even if these guidelines are followed that accidents and/or injury may occur. The ways of having accidents and being injured are still being discovered in this new sport. Kiteboarders should follow these guidelines, area specific guidelines if applicable and other prudent and safe practices in an attempt to maintain safety and continued access to beaches for Kiteboarding. These guidelines are updated regularly so please check them often and use the latest version.
GENERAL SAFETY GUIDELINES
1. Help other kiteboarders with launching and landing. Whether you are starting out or are almost a pro, your help may avoid a serious incident/accident and possible restrictions. Talk persuasively to kiteboarders that aren't following safe practices and ask them to follow these guidelines and seek instruction if appropriate. Kiteboarders are solely responsible for their safety and that of effected bystanders. If you are new to an area or visiting, seek out local kiteboarders, shops and/or associations for local guidelines and rules before kiteboarding to avoid causing problems.
2. All kiteboarders, particularly beginners should seek adequate professional instruction. Beginners must avoid crowded areas as most bystanders aren't aware the potential hazards. Out of control kites have the potential to drag riders or fly over substantial distances so always maintain a safe buffer zone. Beginners should body drag out at least 200 ft. (60m) from shore prior to water starting.
3. Know your equipmentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s limitations as well as your own. If you aren't 100% healthy OR IN DOUBT, DONÃ¢â‚¬â„¢T FLY! Always maintain an energy reserve while out kiteboarding. Hydrate regularly and wear exposure clothing as appropriate. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t kiteboard alone or further from shore than you are readily able to swim in from.
4. Make sure you have proper safety equipment, i.e. a kite depowering leash, a good well fitting helmet, impact vest, gloves and hook knife. A kite depowering safety leash must be attached to your body.
5. Give way to the public on the beach and in the water at ALL TIMES. Always be courteous and polite to bystanders. Complaints have led to restrictions on kiteboarding in some areas.
6. Is the weather acceptable, free of current or pending storm clouds and excessive gusty winds? Are seas and wind condition within your experience, ability and appropriate for your gear? Offshore and onshore winds should be avoided. REMEMBER; TWICE THE WIND Ã¢â‚¬â€œ FOUR TIMES THE POWER!
1. Make sure your launch is open, FREE OF DOWNWIND BYSTANDERS, hard objects, nearby power lines, buildings and walls, within at least 100 ft. (30 m), and preferably 200 ft. (60 m). Avoid kiteboarding near airports and in low flight path areas.
2. Check your kite for tears or leaky bladders. If you have leaky bladders or tears in your kite, repair them before flying.
3. Check all webbing, pigtails, bridles, centerline or chicken loop and leaders for knots, wear or abrasions. If the line sheathing shows any breaks or the lines cuts, replace them. The pigtails should be replaced no less frequently than every 6 months on inflatable kites.
4. Make sure your flying lines are equal as they will stretch unevenly with use. If they have knots that canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be easily untied, replace your flight lines.
5. If solo launching make sure your kite is properly anchored with sand and is draped downwind to avoid premature launch. Rig your kite for solo launch at the last minute and launch without delay as serious accidents have happened in only minutes during this stage. If you leave the kite unattended, disabled by disconnecting all lines from one side and roll your lines when not in use.
6. Walk down your lines and examine them carefully. Attach your kite leash before launch. Just before launch pick your bar up and carefully look down the lines for twists and tangles that could cause the kite to be dangerously uncontrollable.
LAUNCHING AND GETTING UNDERWAY
1. Avoid hooking or snap shackling in while onshore or near hard objects. Pull in your trim strap or rope entirely or to a point that will allow stable kite flight with existing wind conditions, to properly depower the kite before launching and so that you can readily hold the bar and release it if necessary.
2. Announce your intention to launch and then launch promptly. The kite should be launched near or preferably from the water. Assisted launches are always preferred.
3. To try to avoid lofting or involuntary lifting. DO NOT BRING YOUR KITE OVERHEAD or near neutral or the zenith, within 200 ft. (60 m) of ANY HARD OBJECT (on water or land).
4. Go offshore WITHOUT DELAY after launch. If there are substantial waves where you need to put on your board consider body dragging outside the breaker zone first. Be aware of and properly react in advance of low flying aircraft coming into your area.
5. Yield the right of way to all others in the water. Riders must yield to kiteboarders when jumping, maneuvering, or riding on port tack (left hand forward). Kiteboarders should not jump and always allow a buffer zone within two hundred feet (60 m) of others and objects that are downwind. Incoming riders give way to those launching.
1. Approach the shore slowly with caution. Take care to avoid causing an accidental jump in well powered conditions by slowing suddenly while approaching the shore. Keep your kite low to avoid lofting.
2. Arrange for assisted landings at least 200 ft. (60 m) from bystanders, powerlines and vertical surfaces. Do not use non-kiteboarders for assisted launches or landings. If in doubt, safely solo depower your kite in the shallows away from shore and bystanders.
3. Properly anchor your kite, disconnect your kite lines and wind them up. The kite should be placed in a safe area well out of bystander and vehicular traffic.