Kitesurfing Around Whales
I?m sure most, if not all of you, have seen the recent stories in the paper regarding the
kitesurfer at Bashams Beach who allegedly came
within 25m of a Southern Wright Whale, photographed by some whale watchers.
Let us first be very clear about SAKSA?s standpoint on this issue. SAKSA does not condone
It is not only unlawful and carries very heavy penalties (in some cases fines of up to
$100,000 and 2 years jail, as well as confiscation of all of your equipment under the
Marine Mammals Act), but it is also irresponsible and dangerous. These animals are here
using our waters as a cr?che for their young, which makes them understandably more
dangerous as they protect their calves. While they're not actively out to harm people, an
unlucky kitesurfer in the wrong place could potentially be at risk of serious injury or death
by a whale.
Put quite simply, from a legal standpoint, you shall not move a prescribed vessel closer
than 300m to a marine mammal. If it a vessel that is not prescribed (grey area as to
whether kitesurfing fits into this category), you must not move your vessel closer than
100m. Furthermore, for those days when you?re out there chasing dolphins, seals or
sea lions? STOP! This law applies to you too. You must not move your vessel closer than
50m to a marine mammal that is not a whale.
If you would like to read more information about the legislation
and your responsibilities, please visit these links.
The Marine Mammals Act
National Parks and Wildlife (Protected Animals? Marine Mammals) Regulations 2010
SA Whale Centre:
IMPORTANT Whale Watching GUIDELINES
The recent story in the news about a kitesurfer allegedly operating within 25m of a whale is a
matter being dealt with by The Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources Investigation and Compliance Unit.
SAKSA does not condone this behaviour and encourages you to be aware of your obligations
as a watercraft user, in relation to this matter and others (proximity to swimmers and
other watercraft regulations) in the lead-up to Summer. Now is a great time to refresh
yourself with some light reading.
SAKSA is in communication with the relevant authorities over this incident to ensure that
all parties involved are working together for a reasonable outcome.
These sorts of actions not only jeopardize beach access to us but also other beach users such as sup?s, windsurfers, surfers, etc. Irresponsible actions of one can ruin it for us all.
The SAKSA committee
This is somewhat understandable if a whale breaches and a surfer goes out to it...but surely this is a grey area?? For we look at our kites and ahead of us, can't really see under the water.
D89 it is my understanding of The Marine Mammals Act that you are fine if you dont know its their but the minute you change course towards any marine animal (whales, dolphins, seals, etc), then you are then breaking the law. You will have to read the guidelines and relevent acts identified above though for further clarification on this.