We have developed a guide to on the water safety that specifically addresses unique situations for kiters.
1. NEVER LAUNCH OR RIDE WITHIN 200 FT. OR 60 M UPWIND OF BY STANDERS OR HARD OBJECTS
...land, boats, rocks, walls, buildings, powerlines, roads or prominent vertical surfaces or steep slopes that may cause uplift. Depower your kite as early as possible if trouble threatens. Waiting may remove the option to do so safely. Riders have been injured and killed by ignoring this. In kiteboarding "DISTANCE IS YOUR FRIEND" and may sometimes help to forgive bad luck & errors in judgment.
2. AVOID STORMS & SQUALLS. CHECK WEATHER RADAR, WIND & FORECASTS & BE AWARE OF WEATHER CONDITIONS WHILE RIDING Storms & squalls have injured lots of kiteboarders & are a serious threat. Actual weather may differ from predicted conditions so stay alert. If you see squalls or storms, LAND, remove the lines & SECURE your kite in advance of any change in wind or temperature. Riders have been injured by reacting too late or not at all.
Avoid offshore & onshore winds.
3. TAKE ADEQUATE PRO KITEBOARDING LESSONS FROM A GOOD SCHOOL carefully build experience in manageable conditions. Lessons cost but you should be kiteboarding faster, easier & safer for your investment. Also you could save your expensive gear & yourself from damage & our access to ride.
4. CAREFULLY PREFLIGHT YOUR GEAR make sure lines are equal, in good condition, free of tangles/snags, are properly attached & no leaks are
present. Repair gear before launching.
5. USE SAFETY GEAR AND PRACTICE REACTING TO EMERGENCY SITUATIONS ... a suitable helmet, impact vest, tested kite leash, reliable chicken loop quick releases (QR) & hook knife(s). Practice mentally & physically reacting to emergency situations, e.g. lofting & dragging, to try to reduce critical reaction time. Test & maintain your quick releases before each use to improve reliable performance.
6. BE CAREFUL IN & CONSIDER AVOIDING HIGHER WINDS winds greater than 25 mph are very different than winds below 20 mph. For example, the difference between 15mph wind and 20mph wind on your kite is little, but the difference between 20 and 25mph is much greater. In winds stronger than 25mph - kite forces & flight speeds can be much greater & conditions far less forgiving of errors in judgment or simple bad luck. In the past, these have resulted in serious injuries.
7. HAVE AN EXPERIENCED HELPER LAUNCH & LAND YOUR KITE who understands your instructions without error. If conditions permit, it may be safer to launch your kite near or from the water.
8. CONSIDER THE COMBINED EXPERIENCE OF THE LAUNCHER AND KITER. Avoid situations where both Launcher and Kiter are inexperienced. This is a recipe for disaster
9. KEEP YOUR KITE LOW & NEVER BRING IT TO THE VERTICAL WHILE NEAR HARD OBJECTS OR LAND TO TRY TO AVOID LOFTING. GET OFFSHORE WITHOUT DELAY.
10. BE HELPFUL TO OTHERS AND ASSERTIVE TO KEEP KITEBOARDING FREE & AT WILL. Jump to help kiteboarders. If you see someone doing something reckless, grab your friends & go talk with him. We are all in this sport together so pitch in & be ready to help to keep riders safe and to work to preserve access. Remember - if people are reckless and you say nothing, complaints will come and the sport will be shut down by authorities. So be HELPFUL and ASSERTIVE
11. NEVER KITE ALONE - USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM Make sure that your expected time of return is known by someone ashore (your agent) and that they keep visual contact with you on the water. Kitesurf with a buddy. This will ensure that should there be a problem assistance can be summoned. Local kite shops/schools provide a friendly means of riding safely with others. If possible chose a beach with rescue cover.
Thanks to Bryan Macdonald for most of the photos on the site.