This is an evolving part of the sport, but here are some basics. Be safe. If you have not spent any time offshore then be warned the sea gets exponentially less safe the further you get from the beach!
Also - practice using it in less serious context, Siri can be a real stroppy character sometimes.
Three Key Components of Safety
Planning and Weather
Appropriate gear to spend many hours in the water
Phone in a waterproof case with a charged battery
Buoyancy aid and whistle
Lumo reflective tape your paddle and board
SafeTrx or similar local tracking app
Phone (iPhone 14 has emergency SOS via Satellite)
Nutrition (water, energy gels, liquid food)
PLB personal locator beacon (EPIRB)
VHF in a waterproof pouch
Cold is what will kill you
In most places around the world, the thing that will actually kill you is hypothermia. I have enormous respect for the folks in the northern hemisphere who wear wetsuits and pogies and other hectic cold-water gear to paddle. source
Check the Coldwater Safety Golden rules (kayak stuff, but it largely applies):
Planning and Weather
For more details, see Plan For The Worst That Can Happen
PIP - personal intention plan- tell someone where your planned start and exit points are, what vehicles you were using and where they will be left, possible early exits from your run, planned start and time.
Have a plan, a fallback, and a few contingencies and exits in mind
Navigation, how you intend to find your way without a map from the sea
Wind and weather forecasts for the duration of time you plan to be on the water
Likely wind shifts and implications if adverse (remember the weather is likely more settled after a frontal system passes, and very unpredictable before)
Your fitness level
Difficult points with wave rebounds, chop, currents
Correct foil, correctly positioned for the worst of the run
It is very dangerous to assume safety in numbers. The group that you paddle with must practice group rescue techniques with the gear and in the conditions that you will be paddling in. Keeping track of, let alone assisting another foiler in offshore conditions can be extremely challenging .
Be very careful about who you crew with and their ability
Expect to lose visibility with your group, and to lose contact via cellphone, so agree on a plan
Adjusting foils, removing foils, paddling without foils
Knowing when to bail, especially when to call it because someone has joined who is a risk of causing an emergency
Circle back to check on each other and communication practice
What will you do if your paddle snaps? Can you prone paddle up?
Have you thought about being rescued?
Rescue call - VHF/PLB/phone to trigger rescue operation
Being Found - harder than you’d think!
Mirror establishes eye contact within 10km
Whistle, reflective gear, flares for within a mile
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