Rules & regulations

Kite Racing Rules

Amendment 1 to 2013-2014 Kiteboard Racing SIs

Regulations applicable to Kiteboarding in Victoria

When you are on the beach you are expected to be a beach citizen – local councils have some expectations of kiters and other beach users…

When you are sailing on your board, you and your rig are considered to be a sailing vessel. As such, you need to be aware of applicable regulations which you must observe…

You are responsible for knowing the applicable laws – contravention could lead to fines and have a detrimental affect on the image of kiting – this in turn could lead to kiting being banned, something we all want to avoid.

For further information please see the Related Information section at the end of this page…

Jurisdiction & Laws
  • On the water kiters are subject to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority Act 1990 (Commonwealth) and Victorian Marine Act 1988 (Vic).
  • The governing bodies are the Department of TransportParks Victoria and Maritime Safety Victoria. Parks Victoria is the local port mamanger and is responsible for boating zones with Port Phillip and Westernport bay – the rest of the Victorian coastline falls under the Department of Transport.
  • The Victorian Water Police enforce the Marine Act on port Philip And Western Port in partnership with Parks Victoria.
  • On the beaches kiters are subject to local council and agency rules and regulatations and should check for locally signposted information as well as checkiing direclty with the local council concerned.
State Rergulation regarding clearance from power lines
  • The rule is published (i.a.) on the Energy Safe Victoria web site under LEGISLATION & REGULATIONS – Electricity Safety (Installations) and can be downloaded as a pdf or Microsoft Word document.
  • Part 3, Division 2 (Duties of the Public) states:
    • 306 Aircraft, kites etc. (1) A person must not launch, release, operate, fly or land any aircraft, glider, hang glider, hot air balloon, parachute, mechanically propelled model aircraft, model glider or kite within 45 metres of a relevant installation that is above the ground. Penalty: 10 penalty units. (2) Subregulation (1) does not apply to a person who lands an aircraft, glider, hang glider, hot air balloon or parachute if the particular circumstances reasonably necessitated the landing by the person.
    • 307 Entangled objects A person must not pull or interfere with any object resting on or entangled in any relevant installation unless the action is reasonably necessary to prevent or reduce injury to a person or damage to property. Penalty: 10 penalty units.

It is general knowledge amongst kiters that kiting and powerlines do not mix – that the regulation exists is probably news to a few BUT the point is that is does exist and it is our responsibility to be aware of it.

Classification of Kiteboarding
  • A kiters on the water is considered to be vessesl and as such must adhere to all applicable rules and regulations. It is the kiter’s responsibility to know what these are.
Specified Kiting Zones
  • Parks Victoria has designated some bay zones as kiteboard operating areas – kiting within these zones is not subject to the 5-knot rule but all other boating rules still apply (clearance from swimmers, objects, other vessels, etc). Kiting zones are not exclusive to kiters however zones are usually signposted warning the public of the presence of kiters
  • Proposed additions to the existing designated kiting zones can be seen under Boating Zones on the Parks Vic website.
  • No Boating Zones/Swimming Only may not be used for kiteboarding. 5-knot “shared” Zones and Boating Only Zones may still used for kiting provided that other applicable boating rules are observed. In areas without designated kiting zones, kiters should transition to unrestricted water by body-dragging across the 5-knot zone. In coming years the 760m zone on the Mornington Peninsula will reduce to 500m.
Specified Beach areas
  • Some councils have designated specific areas as rigging and/or launching areas – these are usually signposted at the locations concerned.
  • Regardless of signposting, kiters are expected to:
    • Avoid rigging/launching on crowded beaches.
    • Make sure your lines do not cross a walkway – beachgoers may have to cross your lines on the beach so wind them up or stow them appropriately when not in use.
    • When launching make sure that nobody walks between you and your kite – when launching or landing you should make sure there are no beachgoers within 100m of you except for anyone assisting you to launch or land.
    • Make sure you have plenty of space to launch, land, and use your kite without endangering yourself or others.
  • Never let someone who is not familiar with kites launch, land or use your kite. You will endanger them, yourself and those around you. You are responsible for the safe operation of your kite.
  • Check here for the list of councils responsible for the bay and coastal beaches.
Speed Restrictions
  • Kiters must not exceed 5 knots within 200m of the shore, 50m of a jetty, 50m of a person, or 50m from another vessel (moored or underway) or any object (including buoys or pilings) in the water.
  • Exceptions: Some areas designated 5-knot zones which extend beyond the standard 200m from shoreline – these areas are usually maked and signposted and can be seen on the Parks Victoria or Department of Transport web sites.
Safety Equipment
  • All kiters are required to wear a PFD 1, 2 or 3 which complies with the relevant standard.Approved inherently buoyant wetsuits ar acceptable as an alternative to a PFD 3.
  • Recommendation: Kiters should also wear a suitable helmet, wetsuit and other equipment that is suited to the conditions and any emergency conditions should they arise.
Right of way on the water
  • As a general rule, power gives way to sail. Kiters should however be reasonable; don’t expect large, less manoeuvrable vessels to give way. For the sake of safety, kiters should give large vessels a wide berth.
  • Less manoevrable vessels have right of way over kiters. Again for the sake of safety kiters should keep clear of all other vessels including small baots and windsurfer.
  • Other righ-of-way rules also apply – see below.
Starboard Rule
(Rule 10)
When two sailing vessels are approaching one another, and at risk of collision, one of them shall keep out of the way of the other as follows:

  • When each has the wind on a different side, the verssel or kiter which has the wind on the starboard (ie right side, where right leg/arm are leading in the direction of travel) has right of way. The vessel which has the wind on the port (ie left side, where left leg/arm are leading in the direction of travel) side shall keep out of the way of the other. This is commonly known as the Starboard Rule.
  • In sailing terms, a kiter with right of way is entitled to “insist” on exercising that right (warning opposing kiters) by shouting “starboard” very clearly and in good time but avoiding such encounters is safer and more practical.
  • When each vessel has the wind on the same side, then the upwind vessel must keep clear of the downwind vessel – this comes form sailing where the upwind yacht can “steal the wind” of the downwind one and thus rob the downwind yacht of the abilioty to give way – (Rule 11).
Kite High Rule
  • A kiter who is upwind (closest to the wind) must keep their kite hign in the wind window so as to avoid their lines crossing those of a kiter who is downwind of them. Similarly, the downwind kiter must keep their kite lower in the wind window so as to avoid their lines crossing the upwind kite. This applies regardless of whether the kiters are on the same, or opposing courses.
Other Kiting Rules According to the International Kiteboarding Organisation [IKO] the following are also valid kiting rules:

  • The outgoing kiter has right of way over the incoming kiter: the wind is sometimes gusty on land. The kiter who is trying to leave the beach is the one more at risk, so he/she has the priority.
  • The rider going faster than another in the same direction must give way to the slowest rider: the one going faster is the one who has a global vision of the situation since he/she arrives from behind.
  • A kiter which is jumping or changing tack must give way to other kiters – i.e they must not start their manouver before they have checked that they have adequate clearance t.o do so.
  • The rider surfing a wave has the right of way over the one who is jumping or going in the opposite direction: when surfing a wave, the kite is less easy to pilot so there is less room for maneuvers. Nevertheless, the rule for the outgoing rider is applicable when the waves are close to the shore (shore break). In this case, the rider who is surfing will have to give way to the rider who is going out.
Related Information New Recreational Boating & Swimming Zones for Port Phillip & Western Port (2010)
All about the latest Boating Zones and related regulations as well as maps of all the zones.