Water sports at sea, review safety

At sea, there are many ways to have fun on the water, other than by boat. Windsurfing, jet-skiing, stand-up paddle, kayaking, pedal boat and other beach gear are leisure activities that nevertheless require some rules and precautions.

With the summer holidays approaching, it is worth recalling some safety rules and precautions to be taken when practicing water sports at sea. We are talking here about machines that are not boats such as windsurfing, powerboats, kayaks or rowing, or stand-up paddles.

Because if these nautical devices are often made available by yacht clubs, without prior experience, certain precautions must be taken.

Don’t forget the personal buoyancy equipment

There is always a good excuse for not wearing a lifejacket: uncomfortable, uncomfortable movements, weight, etc. However, regardless of the practice, a lifejacket should be worn.

For water sports, the latter will depend on the practice and conditions of navigation. Within 2 miles of a shelter, a buoyancy aid of 50 newtons may be sufficient. Between 2 and 6 miles from a shelter, prefer a lifejacket. These must be coupled with a lighted tracking device, so here’s how to choose the right vest.

Respect vitesse !

Don’t forget that in the 300 m coastal strip, the speed is limited to 5 knots. So move with caution.

Windsurfing and kitesurfing

According to the regulations, windsurfing or kitesurfing takes place only during the day and at a distance not exceeding 2 miles from a shelter (3.7 km).

Required equipment

For windsurfers practising in the 300 m coastal zone, there is no obligation to carry safety equipment. Above 300 m, it is necessary to carry a buoyancy aid of 50 newtons minimum or a worn suit as well as a means of individual waterproof light identification (flash lamp or cyalume type) with an autonomy of 6 hours minimum.

Powerboat (PWC)

This refers to hand and saddle jets with a hull length of less than 4 m and operated by an internal combustion engine. They can be used alone or with others, sitting or standing.

VNMs with a minimum of 2 seats can sail up to 6 miles from a shelter, the others are limited to 2 miles. In all cases, a yachting licence is required.

Required equipment

Up to 2 miles, the basic allocation applies. That is to say 1 individual buoyancy equipment per person with its light tracking system, a towing device, 1 bailer, a bucket and a hand pump, 1 way to know the times and tidal coefficients as well as a national flag outside territorial waters.

For use up to 6 miles from the coast, the coastal allowance applies. Consult it by reading What is the mandatory safety equipment on board pleasure craft?

Kayaks and sea oars, stand up paddle, pedal boat, canoes and beach gear

Beach craft are boats less than 3.50 m long and propelled only by human energy. They are neither self-draining nor watertight and do not meet the requirements of stability and buoyancy.

This category also includes self-empty or watertight boats that meet buoyancy and stability standards and are powered by paddles or oars.

Required equipment

Beach gears are certified to operate in the 300 m coastal areas and do not have mandatory equipment.

For self-draining or waterproof boats, navigation is limited to the day and 6 miles from a shelter. Up to 2 miles away, the practitioner must have a way to stay in contact with his boat and to get back on board alone or with an escort.

Up to 6 miles – the paddles are forbidden to go that far – the previous obligations are supplemented by other recommendations. He is obliged to sail a minimum of 2 boats and each group of 2 must carry a VHF with a minimum power of 5 watts, waterproof, not sinking and permanently accessible.