Life jacket as a mandatory requirement for kiters?
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [ottawaws] $355 no lifejacket fine
Date: Thu, 10 Aug 2006 09:28:41 -0400
From: Andrew Devries <adevries@...
Bottom line: If you have your driver's licence (or reasonable waterproof
facsimile thereof), whistle and an approved life jacket you will not get
the fines that I got last night. Also, do not try and explain your sport
to the officers as they don't really care and you may end up bumping a
warning ticket into the fines I got.
The guide: Safe Boating Guide
sailboards on page 29)
The story: I got pulled over by the Ottawa police boat last night in the
Greencreek area (west of Petrie Island) for sailing without a life
I tried to explain that my waist harness had floatation but was not
approved and my board also had tons of floatation (160l). The officer
did not like what he thought were my "smartalec remarks" and asked if I
was carrying a driver's licence (I was not). He then threatened me with
$1000 in fines. I proceeded to shut my mouth and take what I feel
boardered on harassment.
Failing to have a lifejacket I got nailed for an additional $120 ticket
for failing to carry: watertight flashlight or flares, manual propelling
device (paddle) and 15 m of buoyant heaving line (?!). (You do not need
these if you have a lifejacket). (and no, hands do not count as a paddle
I asked after I got my tickets)
Fortunately I did have a whistle on my harness otherwise I might have
tallied up a few extra dollars as well. However, the officer suggested
that my whistle was probably not adequate and I should consider carrying
a Fox 40 (fair enough).
The officer did not fine me for a failure to carry a driver's licence,
although apparently he could have.
One of the officers suggested I was engaged in a very dangerous sport,
risking life and limb and "what would happened if I hit my head". I
suggested to the officer that indeed windsurfing was pretty safe and
people all over the world sail without life vests and which point the
officer replied "well you are in Canada now". I shut up again.
At one point the police cruiser floated over top of my sail and mast
with the engine running and I pointed out that my sail might get caught
in the motor could they please kill the motor. They did but only after
I was criticized for not being a good enough sailor to keep my sail from
going under the boat (ummm, you guys pulled along side me not vice-versa
I said in my head).
It took about 30 minutes of floating downriver with the cops to fill out
the tickets and radio in my driver's licence at which point the wind
died and I walked back home.
I am wondering if anyone has had a similar experience and wondering what
they did. I find these requirements and the Ottawa police service
approach a little out of touch with the nature of the sport.
I am willing to challenge this silly precedent, including a letter
writing campaign to Transport Canada (the federal agency responsible for
the Canada Shipping Act under which I was charged (Sec 4 and 16.01) and
the Ottawa Police Service but would not want to turn this into a
crackdown on windsurfers. This is the first time I have ever been
stopped by the cops and I know the lifejacket debate has been around for
years in the windsurfing community (I wear one about 50% of the time)
but have not worn one this summer.
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