Tow-in surfers from Western Australia have reasons to be happy. The official safety procedures require a spotter behind the jet ski driver, but the Department of Transport is exempting tow-in surfing rules for another 12 months.
The authorities believe everything is OK with the sport and everyone seems to have full respect for the general nautical rules and laws.
The idea is to test which details should, in fact, be relevant to regulate tow-in surfing as a safe sport for surfers, swimmers and everyone involved.
"The trial is being conducted in consultation with the South West Tow in Surfing Association which has developed a code of conduct and can provide operators with advice and information," said Peter Beattie, Coordinator of Safety and Compliance at the Department of Transport.
The exemptions only apply to PWC operators over 17 years of age while involved in tow-in surfing at offshore breaks and outside of water ski and PWC prohibited areas.
Enthusiasts must also comply with a list of conditions including:
1. Both the PWC driver and the person being towed must have a Recreational Skipper's Ticket;
2. Towing must be limited to one at a time;
3. Other aquatic activities can not be impeded and must be given right of way;
4. Towing operations must be conducted between sunrise and sunset;
5. A minimum of 45 metres must be maintained between tow in surfers and they must stay 200 metres from all other aquatic activities - including swimmers;
6. Each PWC must have the required and additional safety equipment as outlined in the gazetted exemption.