Kiteboarding rules and safety sailing procedures


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The right of way rules in kiteboarding

When it comes to preventing collisions at sea, kiteboarders are considered in the same category as a sailing boat. Learn how to protect yourself and others against dangerous clashes.

In 1972, the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea defined the rules and guidelines for all sailing crafts. The oceans and seas are full of vessels, yachts, fishing boats, and cargo ships, so there should be signals and regulation for all.

That is why Colregs (Collision Regulations) were born. Colregs define priorities between sailboats, between sailboats and powerboats, and between power boats. Power boats, as a general rule, must give way to sailboats. Kites and kiteboards are considered sailboats.

Issues like steering, visibility, motor power, size, speed, and maneuverability are taken into consideration every time two crafts approach one another. Since 1972, several amendments have been proposed and approved.


Kiteboarder Conduct

Many people new to watersports may need to be informed about some basic rules that apply to watercraft. These rules are fairly universal and apply to all craft and all locations.

Responsibility: You are responsible for your craft, and you are responsible for any damage or injury it causes.

Safe Conduct: You must always operate your craft in a safe manner that poses no danger to other persons or property.

Proper Lookout: You must always look where you are going, and you are responsible for seeing and avoiding other people and obstacles.

Blocking Access Rights: You must never block another person’s access or impede the progress of another person or watercraft. You have no legal right to block the passage of a craft or person. You do not have the right to tell anyone else where they can or cannot ride, sit, or fish, That is illegal. Only an authorized officer of DOBOR, DLNR, State Police, MPD, etc, have the legal authority to do that.

Reporting Dangerous Operators: Any person can report the dangerous operation of watercraft to MPD, DOBOR (DOCARE), a Lifeguard, or Ranger.

Emergency: When there is a serious threat of injury, or to report any illegal activity, call 9-1-1


IN ANY EMERGENCY CALL 9-1-1.  If you see any emergency, like an injury, kiteboarder lost at sea, crime in progress, or other issue Call 9-1-1. Lifeguards are also connected to the 911 system. Call First, and tell the dispatcher your emergency. Police, Fire, Rescue, Ambulance, Search & Rescue and Lifeguards are all part of the 911 Emergency Response System. Act quickly and save a life or prevent serious injury.

Unpermitted Kite Instruction is illegal at Kanaha Beach

Unpermitted Kite Instruction is illegal at Kanaha Beach. Only Permitted Schools are allowed to teach. Illegal Operations jeopardize the future of Kiteboarding by increasing Legal Liability of the County and Increase the Risk of Injury to the Public. Report all Suspected Illegal Operators to the Parks Dept. All Commercial Activities without a permit are prohibited in the Park. Watersports Instruction of any Kind (commercial or non-commercial) is not permitted without a Parks Permit. Call the Parks Dept: (808) 270-7230 or email  to report any Violations, or make a complaint.

Kanaha Beach Parking is Under Threat

Protect Our Access (URGENT): Kanaha Beach Parking is Under Threat: 

The Maui County has a Plan to “improve” Kanaha Park, that would remove the 4 parking areas, relocate available parking eastward, and eliminate all of the near-shore access parking in the western half of the beach park that kiters (and local families/fishermen etc) use. If you do not want to lose this access, then please make your voice heard, and read the comments and sign the Petition here.

Ho’okipa Kite Rules

Ho’okipa Rules

*Access is from launching at Lanes beach west of Hookipa.

These common-sense rules will keep us all safer and create a better rapport with windsurfers and surfers. Be aware of the potential dangers at Ho‘okipa! The wave is powerful, the lineup is small, and the rocks are close. Hookipa is strictly for advanced Kiters only. Know the ROW rules and surfing etiquette before riding there.

Caution: A downed kite will present a danger to those on the inside, so always keep kite in control

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