A kiteboarder, or kitesurfer, on the water is considered a vessel operator. They need to follow the relevant rules and regulations.
Kiteboarding Australia says you should be very CLEAR about your responsibilities: Conditions, Look, Equipment, Attitude, Respect. Read their kiting safety advice – learn how to be CLEAR, and follow the rules of the road (on the water).
A kiteboarder must wear a Type 1, 2 or 3 (Level 100+, Level 50 or level 50S) lifejacket at all times when kiteboarding more than 400m from the shore on enclosed or inland State waters.
If you are kiteboarding more than 400 m from shore on coastal waters, you are required to wear a Type 1 or 2 lifejacket (Level 100+ or Level 50).
Visit our Wear A Lifejacket website to learn more about: lifejacket laws in Victoria; what jacket you need to wear, when; choosing the right lifejacket for your lifestyle; and looking after your lifejacket.
Speed and distance
All vessels are required to travel at a safe speed at all times. As a kiteboarder you need to be aware of your interaction with other beachgoers.
Some key things to remember are:
- Avoid crowded beaches and waterways
- Make sure your lines do not cross a walkway and do not let others walk between you and your kite
- Make sure you have plenty of space to launch, land, and use your kite without endangering yourself or others
- Never let someone who is unfamiliar with kites launch or use your kite. You will endanger them, yourself and those around you.
Check the conditions
Recognising the changes in the weather and general operating conditions will ensure that you have a safe day out on the water. Some important things for kiteboarders to remember are:
- Do not use your kite in thunderstorms. Watch for incoming weather fronts
- Forecasted wind speeds vary between on land predictions and on water predictions
- Do not operate in wind speeds beyond your ability
- Stay clear of overhead powerlines or similar structures
- Be aware of wave conditions, tides and rip currents
- Ask locals or consult waterway signage about conditions which may not be visible.
Kiting lessons are essential to learn the fundamentals of the sport, as well as giving you the opportunity for some basic instruction under the supervision of a seasoned kiter.
Do not attempt kiteboarding without appropriate instruction. Visit the Kiteboarding Australia website to find an accredited kiteboarding school.
You should also check out their video guides for four of Victoria's most popular kiting locations: St Kilda, Altona, Brighton and Rosebud.
Clubs and associations can also provide beginners with valuable information about how to get into the sport and improve your knowledge.
Be aware there may be some additional requirements for general operation that are relevant to you and the activity you are undertaking.
St Kilda shared windsports zone
An etiquette and safety guide to kiting in the St Kilda shared windsports zone has been agreed by a number of agencies. It is available for instructors and kiters to download as a PDF or accessible Word document.
Photo by Beau Outteridge, supplied by Kiteboarding Australia