Kiteboarding: lifejackets won't be mandatory when riding close to the shore | Photo: Hayto/IKA

The New South Wales authorities have rolled back the lifejacket regulation that was going to force kiteboarders to wear personal flotation devices in open waters.

The changes made in the Maritime Safety Regulations ignited an intense and quick response from the kiteboarding community. The kite enthusiasts noted that lifejackets (Level 50S or greater) would difficult duck dives and increase the risk of line entanglement.

"The speed at which Transport for NSW was willing to revert to the previous position, requiring a kiteboarder is only required to wear a suitable lifejacket when 400 meters or more offshore, ensures the safety of kiteboarders and other water users," explains Alexandra Lockie, general manager of Kiteboarding Australia.

The governing body for the sport of kiteboarding in Australia gathered 400 petition signatures and lobbied for the roll back of the new regulation, which will only probably occur on October 1st, 2016.

"It was apparent in this instance that having a professional, coordinated and measured response to the inappropriate regulation was crucial to convincing lawmakers to reconsider the recent changes."

Kiteboarding Australia is currently focusing on the development of the National Kiteboarding League (NKL), and on kite school accreditation system that improves the overall safety standards. Because it doesn't get public funding, the organization relies on membership fees to run the operations.

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