Forums > Kitesurfing   Western Australia

URGENT - DOT Safety Equipment Review - YOU WILL BE IMPACTED

Created by WindsurfingWA 9 months ago, 1 Nov 2019
WA, 707 posts
1 Nov 2019 7:16AM
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Morning Kiters - It is time to unite and ensure the DOT implements practical Safety Equipment Requirements. The following has gone out to ALL windsurfing WA members and we need the help of the kiting community to reinforce our point with the DOT.

The Department of Transport (DoT) is seeking your feedback on proposed changes to safety equipment requirements for recreational vessels in WA. As key stakeholders it is vital windsurfers provide feedback on the proposed changes to the safety equipment requirements as YOU WILL BE IMPACTED by the proposed changes.

If our voice is not heard, we will be ignored.

Windsurfing Western Australia supports some of the proposed measures as they offer a better solution to the current requirements. We acknowledge that these measures are contentious in the windsurfing community and impractical for wave sailing. As there is no chance of the current requirements being reduced we see improvement as the next best option. Windsurfers will always be considered vessels and therefore treated differently to surfers and SUPs.

There are 3 ways to provide feedback

Complete the online feedback form (a guide to answering the questions is provided below)
Contact the DOT policy officer directly
Lisa Patrick
Marine Safety Policy Officer
Department of Transport
Call them on 08 9435 7901

The following proposals ALL include windsurfers:

Link to Current Requirements -
Link to Survey -

Proposal 1 - SUPPORT (no real impact on windsurfing)
Vessel length will not restrict the distance a vessel can operate from shore.

Proposal 2 - SUPPORT
There will be no mandated safety equipment for any vessel in protected waters or within 400 metres of any shore in unprotected waters.

It will be mandatory to carry an appropriately sized lifejacket with a minimum buoyancy of Level 100 (Type 1) for each person on board any vessel when operating more than 400 metres offshore in unprotected waters.

Suggested Feedback
There are currently no Type 100 windsurfing specific lifejackets available on the market as compared to the currently required Type 50 lifejackets. In line with the guiding principles, the following feedback is provided

It is impractical to apply a requirement to a user group that they can't achieve in a safe manner. While there are many styles of Type 100 lifejackets on the market they are not suitable for windsurfing. Type 100 lifejackets are not recommended for highspeed/high impact sports such as windsurfing. The cost of replacing the Type 50 lifejackets windsurfers currently use if high.

Windsurfers are best placed to determine the safety equipment which offers the most benefit for the condition in which they choose to sail. Windsurfing CANNOT be compared to recreational boating as windsurfer choose to sail in high wind and surf conditions outside the typical safe operating limits for recreational boating.

There is no practical or easy way to comply with the requirements with readily obtainable and easy to maintained lifejackets specific design and suitable for windsurfing.

The safety equipment should be as uniform as possible across all vessel types.

Type 50 lifejackets currently worn before windsurfers offer a wearable, safe and practical means of assistance in an emergency or survival situation.

Proposal 4 - UNSURE or SUPPORT (more applicable to recreational boat owners)
When lifejacket carriage is mandated (Proposal 3), the wearing of a level 100 or higher lifejacket will be required for each person on any size vessel, if they are more than one year old and under the age of 12 years on board.

Proposal 5 - DO NOT SUPPORT
It will be mandatory to carry a Global Positioning System (GPS) enabled emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) on any vessel when operating more than 400 metres from shore in unprotected waters.

Suggested Feedback
Due to the size of EPIRBS currently on the market, PLBs offer a more practical solution as they can fit into a lifejacket pocket.

Proposal 6 - SUPPORT
A GPS enabled personal locating beacon (PLB) may be carried in lieu of an EPIRB provided the PLB is worn by at least one person on board at all times.

Proposal 7 - DO NOT SUPPORT
It will be mandatory to carry two in date hand-held orange smoke flares and two in date red hand-held flares on any vessel when operating more than 400 metres from shore in unprotected waters.

Suggested Feedback
4 smoke flares are very bulky and difficult to secure to a lifejacket. Preference is for electronic night signalling devices

Proposal 8 - SUPPORT
An approved electronic night signalling device may be carried in lieu of flares if a GPS enabled EPIRB or PLB is also carried.

Proposal 9 - UNSURE
It will be mandatory to carry either a HF or VHF marine radio on any vessel when operating more than 4 nautical miles from shore in unprotected waters (27 MHz marine radios to be phased out over a five-year period).

4nm or 8km is a very long way offshore and not a typical distance a windsurfer will sail offshore

Proposal 10 - SUPPORT
It will not be mandatory to carry a fire extinguisher on any vessel.

Proposal 11 - SUPPORT
It will not be mandatory to carry or have fitted a means of removing unwanted water from any vessel.

Proposal 12 - SUPPORT
It will not be mandatory to carry an anchor or line on any vessel.

The DOT's GUIDING PRINCIPLES for their paper are:

The onus of responsibility for safety equipment will be predominantly on the skipper, mandating only where necessary.
Safety equipment requirements should be practical, effective and enable operators to comply at a reasonable cost.
The safety equipment that is required should be simple to use, easy to comply with, readily obtainable and easy to maintain.
The safety equipment should be as uniform as possible across all vessel types.
Only safety equipment which directly promotes survival or rescue of people will be mandatory.

WA, 150 posts
1 Nov 2019 4:48PM
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Thanks WWA - I've already submitted, in line with your recommendation for 1-9

However, totally disagree with 10, 11, 12.

10 - DO NOT SUPPORT This only applies to inboard engines. Running an inboard engine with no fire extinguisher on-board is crazy
11- DO NOT SUPPORT A bucket or a bailer on a boat is not onerous and can save your life
12 - DO NOT SUPPORT Again, not onerous on a dinghy or anything bigger and can save your life. There have been cases of very small tenders being blown away with a motor failure. People have died.

Your responses will be taken seriously. If you were running a support boat at an offshore break, wouldn't you want these things on board?

WA, 139 posts
1 Nov 2019 8:08PM
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Thanks for the heads up.

For windsurfing / kitesurfing, all of these proposals appear to be guarding against risks that rarely happen (who was the last person who died windsurfing or kitesurfing more than 400m from the shore?). They're attempting to use personal protective equipment as a control in lieu of experience and assessing the conditions against your own competence.

The most sketchy conditions I've ever been in have been less than 400m from shore in waves.

WA, 1461 posts
17 Nov 2019 8:07PM
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No-one is going to enforce the lifejacket BS. What they will do though, is put a death fence all the way along your favourite kite spot, so that if you make one mistake, you will be decapitated by a wire, or knocked out by a 6foot pine bollard.

I guarantee this will kill someone in the next couple of years. Or at least a horrific injury.

It doesn't just affect Cottlesoe either, anyone starting at Leighton who has a kite issue, has horrendously dangerous obstacles should they need to come in before Swanbourne.

1115 posts
19 Nov 2019 8:53AM
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they will be eroded and falling over after next series of winter storms too... i agree it looks terrible and fkn dangerous

edit: and correct, no officer numbers etc to enforce the lifejacket stuff. however, if you are kiting far offshore and go astray and need rescue, but don't have the mandated gear - they may claim liability and costs from an individual. that's probably the greater impact - which won't affect 99% of kiters


Forums > Kitesurfing   Western Australia

"URGENT - DOT Safety Equipment Review - YOU WILL BE IMPACTED" started by WindsurfingWA