Kiter rescue rules developed

Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue fleet manager Nick Hill demonstrating how a kiter may be set free if entangled with the lines. Picture: Martin Kennealeyd409290
Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue fleet manager Nick Hill demonstrating how a kiter may be set free if entangled with the lines. Picture: Martin Kennealeyd409290

They will train their volunteers and offer the rules to colleagues from Mandurah to Alkimos.

‘Five years ago, calls to rescue kitesurfers were rare to non-existent, and if they were, they were rare and close to shore,’ FVSR president Philip Martin said. FVSR crews cover kitesurfing spots from Coogee to city beaches and into Gage Roads.

‘Now kiters are spreading out along the coast to find new places to go and are going further offshore.’

But rescuers and the public have been unfamiliar about how to deal with the four or five detachable 25m-long lines that connect a kitesurfer to the kite.

Mr Martin said methods were needed to deal with kites looping dangerously on the surface, possibly preventing self-rescue by the kiter who could be unconscious or impaired from being in the water for a long time.

As part of ongoing safety initiatives by kiting groups, FVSR hosted a forum on offshore rescues at East Fremantle Yacht Club last week.

It was attended by kite shop owners, the Water Police and yacht club members, among others.

The forum was unrelated to the death of kiter Marc Sprod at Cottesloe three weeks ago.

It was intended to instruct surf lifesavers about kite rescues close to beaches.

Mr Martin said boaters who found a kiter struggling at sea should first call professional rescuers. He said offshore kiters should also carry a personal emergency beacon.