PLB for kitesurfing

Kitesurfing, wing foiling, windsurfing, there is no water sport that is so intensive and active. Action, speed and feeling super free. We probably don’t have to explain that kiting, surfing or foiling is not without danger. Every year, several rescue operations by the KNRM are needed in the Netherlands alone to remove kiters from dire positions. As always, accidents can happen anywhere, from equipment that fails you, medical problems to a (small) personal mistake with major consequences.

What do you do if the wind suddenly changes or disappears completely? Or if you make a big mistake and your kite takes off or you have to make do without a board? Even with a good (winter) wetsuit, you won’t last long in the North Sea in spring or winter. And let’s be honest, these situations can happen to even the most experienced kiters. The simple answer is: take the PLB1 with you when kitesurfing.

| One-time investment for seven years of peace of mind

Why the PLB1 for kite surfers?

The PLB1, a Personal Locator Beacon, is ideal for kitesurfing. It has only one purpose: to notify the emergency services during an emergency. Due to its small size, it is the smallest PLB in the world, you can easily put it away in your wetsuit or impact vest. Or hang it on your harness.

Personal locator beacons (PLB1)



This satellite-controlled device sends an SOS signal to rescue services, along with your location. The main features are:

  • Works in remote areas worldwide (works best in clear view of the sky)
  • Dutch PLB permit costs approximately €40 per year
  • Homing signal (which allows a rescue helicopter to pinpoint your exact location)
  • No need to charge, the battery lasts seven years (or until use, it must be sent in for replacement)
  • No ability to send messages home or cancel an SOS call
  • Once activated, the device will continue to work for at least 24 hours, even at -20 ºC, even after it has been unused in the cupboard for (max.) 7 years (the PLB1 can be switched off yourself)
  • Stronger signal than a Satellite Messenger
  • Waterproof up to 15 meters

As soon as you activate a PLB – at the touch of a button – it sends out a powerful distress signal that is received by a global system of satellites. Once received, the satellite system transmits the emergency call to a network of emergency services, directing the request for assistance to a local search and rescue organization. Particularly important in the water, where it is difficult for rescue services to find you, is that the PLB1 uses the Homing signal, so rescue workers and ships in the area are provided with your GPS coordinates and helicopters and rescue boats can monitor in real time. gauge your location. Everything to make the rescue operation even smoother.

| Take control of your own safety
safe kiting with a plb

One more time the dangers of kitesurfing

Although we prefer not to dwell on it for too long, dangerous situations can easily arise during kitesurfing. The consequences can be greatly reduced by wearing a PLB. An overview of situations in which the PLB1 has saved people in distress by activating the emergency signal:

  • Sudden wind changes making you unable to get back to land
  • Loss of material on open water
  • Injury following an accident or medical event
  • Hypothermia symptoms

Successful rescues after using the PLB1

The PLB1 has already proven its added value. Ideally, you only have it with you just in case, but you never use it. The fact that these kiters were saved is largely thanks to the PLB1.

When this experienced kitesurfer (and KNMR volunteer) went out with two friends in wind force 6 and heavy sea conditions, no one was thinking about a rescue yet. But the day took a quick turn when he fell into the cold water, released his kite and lost his board. The water was cold, and even with a winter wetsuit he wouldn’t last long. He immediately activated his PLB1. KNRM immediately deployed, and thanks to the PLB1’s good location tracking, he was quickly rescued from the water.

– Experienced kitesurfer
That’s why you choose safe outdoor, whatever you do, do it safely!

Take responsibility for your own safety and stop depending on your cell phone or people on the beach.



When an experienced hunter and hiker from New-Zealand(70) ripped his Achilles-tendon while crossing a creek more than six hours from the nearest settlement he activated his PLB1. Within the hour a rescue helicopter with intensive-care paramedics hovered over him.


An experienced kite surfer went out to sea with two friends in wind force 6 without a contingency plan. When he fell into the cold water, released his kite and lost his board, disaster seemed inevitable. Fortunately, he immediately activated his PLB1, allowing the Dutch nautical rescue services to respond quickly and rescue him from the water.


Kevin had carefully prepared his motorcycle tour with two friends to cross the Simpson desert in Australia. However, when he fell over the front of his motorcycle and injured his back, his only option for rescue was activating his PLB1. Thanks to the PLB1, his friends were able to call for a rescue mission. A helicopter was necessary to swiftly carry him to the hospital for his grave injury.