New WA kitesurfing regs: Lifejackets, parachute flares and EPIRBs!?

Well folks, new WA marine regulations have been released, and despite best intentions, some of if seems a bit, well, just stupid.

“The laws state that if a kite surfer or wind surfer is between 400 meters and two nautical miles from shore they now require a lifejacket and can choose to carry either red and orange flares or an Emergency Radio Indicating Beacon (EPIRB) or Personal Locator Beacon.”

Between two and five nautical miles operators must carry a lifejacket and EPIRB. Further offshore they must also carry parachute flares.

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Two nautical miles offshore is a long way — I mean, really, unless you’re Ian Young, what business have you got being out that far anyway?  But parachute flares and EPIRBs? Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to just carry a portable marine radio instead? Where are you going to (safely) stash parachute flares as well as an EPIRB? Realistically, no one is going to end up two nautical miles offshore on a kite INTENTIONALLY, so if you’re not intending to go out that far you wouldn’t be carrying all that stuff.

4oom is a different story — but first of all, on a kite, just how do you know how far 400 meters is? Can you really accurately guess how far that is? I wouldn’t have a clue when I’m more than 400m out or even how far out I am, just by looking back at the beach. So then, maybe it also makes more sense to require that people carry a GPS if you are going to fine them based on where they are relative to the beach?  Mixed feelings about the lifejacket thing. Yes, there probably are some benefits, but your harness does provide a significant degree of buoyancy, not far off a Type3 life jacket so is that really solving anything. I suppose, theoretically, if you knocked yourself out a lifejacke could POSSIBLY keep your head out of the water, but not sure. But lets look at the data — how many kitesurfers have drown in australia because they weren’t wearing life jackets? Well, none that I’m aware of.  And after the sport being pretty popular for nearly 15 years now and probably tens of thousands of Australians and others involved in the sport, it does seem like fixing something that’s not actually broken. Your thoughts ?

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