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Blow ins, ruining tow ins..

Tow in surfing could become a thing of the past in Western Australia unless a few of the so called "cowboys" don't settle down. .

It has already been banned altogether at some locations in the USA and if some of the irresponsible PWC (Jetski users) don't settle down we could see it happening here. .

In recent weeks some jet ski users have received warnings from Marine and Harbour officers in regards to the regulations of PWC owners and tow surfing. .

Tow surfing is deemed as skiing / towing another vessel or object (human or otherwise). .

Recent encounters with tow in jet ski surfers and the paddle in surfing fraternity around the Margaret River and Yallingup areas, Mandurah and metro area and even further North has been creating some friction. .

On Saturday a couple of blow ins were towing Margs Bombie with some paddle surfers out, even to the extent where they burn't a paddle surfer on the wave. But don't worry these guys are about to be tuned severely by all accounts from the local crew.

Crew have been rocking up who can't even paddle big waves and are getting towed into them all this while some paddle surfers are out in the line up, while others have been whipping their mates into beach breaks less than 200 metres offshore which is against regulations. .

It is regarded amongst the professional tow in surfing fraternity that if someone is paddle surfing a break, no tow in surfing should be carried out at that location. .

The following are the rules that the professional Tow-in surfers apply to their sport
" No tow-in surfing to be conducted at a break being used by paddle-in surfers. If paddle-in surfers enter a break being used by tow surfers the tow surfers will cease towing at that break until vacated by paddle surfers.

" No more than three PWC's towing one break at once.

Simple isn't it, yet a few D%#%HEADS can't seem to fathom these easy rules and are making the other responsible tow surfers angry along with paddle in fraternity.

Yesterday at a location that will remain unnamed by us, there were up to 7 skis buzzing around the line up, much to the disbelief of the professional tow in surfers.

In the Metro and Mandurah areas a few irresponsible users have been flicking crew into the beach breaks near paddle surfers and causing a bit of friction. The fact is guys, if you are not in a designated ski area, you do not tow.

We here at sro have received numerous complaints, right offs and abuse directed at Jet Ski tow ins. It seems a few are going to eventually stuff it up for the rest more legit and responsible users. So lets set it straight for those of you who do not know.

We here at sro have received numerous complaints, right offs and abuse directed at Jet Ski tow ins. It seems a few are going to eventually stuff it up for the rest more legit and responsible users. .

The whole idea of Tow in surfing was to have jet ski assisted takeoffs in waves which were deemed to large to paddle into. Offshore reefs and other locations were being used where paddle surfers were no where to be seen. .

The simple legal facts are as follows and are available off the dpi website for a more in depth look at the rules for PWC (Personal Water Crafts, jet skis) and sking at the end of this article. .

"Tow in" surfing is not legal in Western Australia under the present regulations. It is regarded and recognised as "water skiing" or "towing" and at present therefore may only be conducted in an approved water ski area (for water skiing) with the driver having an observer and obeying all other water ski regulations. .

However, they/you may conduct "towing" operations as long as they/you abide by Regulation 15 of the Navigable Waters Regulations.

15. Towing vessels .
(1) No motor boat shall pass through or under any bridge with more than one vessel in tow.
(2) A person shall not use a vessel for the purposes of towing unless he is at least 17 years of age and is accompanied, in the vessel, by a person of at least 14 years of age.
(3) A person in control of a towing vessel shall maintain a constant look out ahead and the person accompanying him, in the vessel, shall maintain a constant watch over the vessel or object being towed by that vessel.
(4) Sub-regulations (2) and (3) do not apply where - (a) a distressed vessel is being towed in an emergency situation and no other person is available as an observer; or
(b) the person in control of a vessel is unaccompanied at the time he finds a drifting vessel or object in any navigable waters and is towing the vessel or object away in order to prevent a danger arising to vessels using those waters. .

There are also several other regulations pertaining to the use of jet skis (PWCs). You must carry the appropriate safety equipment if you are more than 400m offshore.

There is also an 8 knot limit from shore to 200 metres along most beaches. So, they/you can only go out from 200 and beyond on open ocean and exceed 8 knots.

So what does this mean for the guys that are towing close to shore amongst and boosting into some of the beach breaks?
It means that they/you are restricted to 8 knots when towing if they/you abide by all towing regulations.
Which in laymen's terms, means that if you are within 200 metres from the shoreline, you can not flick your mate into a launch at more than 8 knots.

Minimum age of drivers: Has recently been changed and is in a period of change over - a copy of the Recreational Skippers Ticket book has the new rules for age and is available from most of the Fisheries Department offices.

:: Sking rules click here.                      :: PWC rules click here.