Item Coversheet



TO: Neighborhood/Community Affairs Committee Members

Jimmy L. Morales, City Manager

DATE: February 21, 2018



Since 2014, the City of Miami Beach has offered, through its Public Beachfront Concession Agreement with Boucher Brothers Miami Beach LLC (“Concessionaire”) and their subcontractor, TKS Concessions, LLC, kiteboarding lessons at 76th Street in conjunction with the Ocean Terrace beachfront concession operation.  In recent years, due to the increase in popularity, recreational users, as well as groups engaging in illegal commerce by selling and providing lessons, have been utilizing various locations for kiteboarding on Miami Beach, most notably, the area between 25th and 27th Streets.  Due to the overwhelming number of kiteboarders at this location, and a concern for the safety and well-being of swimmers, beachgoers and kiteboarders, Ocean Rescue placed a lifeguard stand at 26th Street.  Due to the current ordinance which prohibits watercraft in restricted swim areas (i.e., in front of lifeguard stands), the placement of this lifeguard stand displaced the kiteboarders from this area.


On November 7, 2017, the Marine and Waterfront Protection Authority (MWPA) discussed this matter.  Members of the kiteboarding community expressed their disappointment with the placement of the lifeguard stand at 26th Street and asked that they be allowed to continue to kiteboard in that area.  Representatives from the City advised them the lifeguard stand was placed at that location for life safety reasons and that the City has a non-motorized watersports channel at 76th Street which is designated for kiteboarding.  Both the City and the kiteboarders agreed that life safety is the top priority and agreed to work towards a viable solution regarding this matter.       


Public Kiteboarding Locations/Concessions in Miami-Dade County

Other than 76th Street on Miami Beach, there are two other public kiteboarding locations in Miami-Dade County.  Adventure Sports Miami is located inside Matheson Hammock Park and operates immediately adjacent to a parking lot and an open area on Biscayne Bay.  This location is not comparable to Miami Beach as there are essentially no swimmers or beachgoers in the area used by the kiteboarders.  Miami Kiteboarding (MKB) is located inside Crandon Park and operates on a relatively isolated section of beachfront on the east side of Key Biscayne.  MKB offers kiteboarding lessons and rentals, as well as rentals of kayaks and stand up paddleboards.


Kiteboarding Associations

There are several kiteboarding associations such as the International Kiteboarding Organization (IKO), the Professional Air Sports Association (PASA) and the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA).  All of these associations serve to teach and promote safe participation in the sport.


All three of the concessions operating in Miami-Dade County are members of the International Kiteboarding Organization (IKO).  According to IKO’s website “IKO is the world’s leading kiteboarding organization specializing in kiteboard education, promoting safe practices and enhancing the highest standards for the industry. IKO strives to reach the pure excellence in the teaching experience by finding the perfect balance of fun and safety while keeping each kiteboarder's individuality in mind”. 


IKO offers various courses and certifications, attached hereto as Attachment 1 – IKO Courses and Certifications.  As reflected in green on Attachment 1, there are five levels of certifications for a Kiteboarder.  Level 1 = Discovery (Beginner), Level 2 = Intermediate, Level 3 = Independent, Level 4 = Advanced and Level 5 = Evolution.  A detailed description of Levels 1-4 is attached hereto as Attachment 2 – Description of Levels.  Level 3 is generally considered a proficient rider who is capable of operating safely and independently, without the need for instruction.  The other associations have similar courses and certifications consistent with the IKO. 


Potential Kiteboarding Locations

Ocean Rescue has recommended the City limit kiteboarding activities to only one (1) area in order to consolidate the kiteboarders in the water and the kites deployed on the shoreline to a single location.  Ocean Rescue further recommends the designated area should be outside of any restricted swim areas (300’ from any lifeguard stands) and, in order to provide adequate space, a minimum of 500’ wide (approximately one city block).  This area could be designated as a kiteboarding area utilizing signage and/or cones and the general public (i.e., beachgoers, swimmers, etc.) would know to avoid this area if they were concerned with the activity.  To avoid designating a kiteboarding area behind any private properties, the City could designate an area behind City-owned properties such as parks and parking lots.  Below is a list of City-owned properties located upland of the beachfront.  Also included are key considerations regarding each location.


1)  South Pointe Park (Government Cut)

Width: 578 feet

Challenges: Within restricted swim area, adjacent to jetty, Continuum concession to north 


2)  Marjory Stoneman Douglas Park (2nd to 3rd Streets)

Width: 508 feet

Challenges: Within restricted swim area, designated surfing area, Marriot concession to south


3)  Lummus Park (5th Street to 14th Lane)

Width: 4,461 feet

Challenges: Multiple restricted swim areas, multiple public concessions  


4)  Collins Park (21st to 22nd Streets)

Width: 402 feet

Challenges: Within restricted swim area, less than 500’ wide, public concession, Days Inn concession to south, The W concession to north


5)  36th Street Park (35th to 36th Streets)

Width: 200 feet

Challenges: Within restricted swim area, less than 500’ wide, public concession, Versailles concession to south, Westgate concession to north


6)  Indian Beach Park (46th Street)

Width: 600 feet        

Challenges: Within restricted swim area, public concession, Eden Roc concession to south


7)  Fire Station # 3 / 53rd Street Parking Lot (53rd Street)

Width: 309 feet

Challenges: Within restricted swim area, less than 500’ wide, future site of Sabrina Cohen adaptive recreation center


8)  Allison Park (64th Street)

Width: 397 feet

Challenges: Within restricted swim area, less than 500’ wide


9)  Miami Beach Bandshell (72nd to 73rd Streets)

Width: 463 feet

Challenges: Within restricted swim area, less than 500’ wide (may be combined with Ocean Terrace, North Shore Library and Altos del Mar)


10)  Ocean Terrace (73rd to 75th Streets)

Width: 870 feet

Challenges: Public concession, (may be combined with Miami Beach Bandshell, North Shore Library and Altos del Mar)


11)  North Shore Library (75th to 76th Streets)

Width: 155 feet

Challenges: Less than 500’ wide (may be combined with Miami Beach Bandshell, Ocean Terrace and Altos del Mar)


12)  Altos del Mar Park (76th to 77th Streets)

Width: 303 feet

Challenges: Renovations to Park commencing January 2018, less than 500’ wide (may be combined with Miami Beach Bandshell, Ocean Terrace and North Shore Library)


13)  North Shore Open Space Park (79th to 87th Streets)

Width: 2,752 feet

Challenges: Multiple restricted swim areas

Ocean Rescue has proposed the north end of this location between 84th and 86th Streets. They would shift two lifeguard stands to accommodate the required distance from restricted swim areas.


Public Workshop #1

On December 1, 2017, the City held a public workshop at the North Beach Youth Center, organized by Code Compliance, to gain input regarding regulating kiteboarding on the beachfront.  Approximately twenty members of the community were in attendance including members of the Miami Beach Kiteboarding Foundation (MBKF) and representatives from Boucher Brothers and their kiteboarding subcontractor TKS Concessions.  There were two residents from Triton Towers (2899 Collins Avenue) attending as concerned beachgoers.  Commissioner Rosen Gonzalez and Commissioner Samuelian attended the workshop as well as Commission Aides for Commissioner Gongora, Commissioner Steinberg and Commissioner Rosen Gonzalez.  Also in attendance were Vincent Canosa, Ocean Rescue Chief, as well as City staff from the Office of Real Estate, Code Compliance and the City Manager’s Office.


The MBKF gave a brief presentation about kiteboarding, attached hereto as Attachment 3 – MBKF Presentation, which offered information about the sport, popular locations throughout the United States and information about the safe operation of equipment.  Following the presentation, the attendees broke out into two groups – one focused on locations and the other focused on rules and management.  City staff elicited input and ideas from the participants.  At the halfway point, the participants switched tables to ensure everyone had an opportunity to provide input on both topics.  A summary of the specific ideas and suggestions is attached hereto as Attachment 4 – Public Workshop #1 Summary.


Neighborhood/Community Affairs Committee

This matter was presented at the December 20, 2017 Neighborhood/Community Affairs Committee (NCAC) meeting.  The NCAC considered the issues presented and agreed there is a need to regulate kiteboarding.  The NCAC requested the item be brought back for discussion, including suggestions for regulating the activity, after obtaining additional input from the public.


Regulating Kiteboarding

There are two activities associated with kiteboarding.  There are instructors/students participating in instructional lessons and there are riders who are kiteboarding independently (some more proficiently than others).  For safety purposes, these two activities should occur separately, even though they may be at the same designated location (i.e., lessons on the north side and independent riders on the south side).  In order to accommodate both activities, a concessionaire may be utilized to manage the designated kiteboarding area, similar to Matheson Hammock and Crandon Park.  There are a number of options in this regard, including requiring that all kiteboarders are registered with the concessionaire (perhaps including a fee); requiring that all registered kiteboarders are identified with a streamer attached to their kite; limiting the number of kiteboarders in the water/and or shoreline at any one time; requiring minimum distances from the shoreline and swimmers; and perhaps most importantly, due to the inherent danger associated with the activity, requiring kiteboarders to be certified as IKO Level 3 (or equivalent), otherwise they must obtain instruction until Level 3 certification is achieved.


Public Workshop #2

On February 9, 2018, the City held a second public workshop at the North Beach Youth Center, organized by Code Compliance, to gain additional input regarding regulating kiteboarding on the beachfront.  Approximately 60 members of the community were in attendance including members of the Miami Beach Kiteboarding Foundation (MBKF) and representatives from condominium buildings such as Triton Towers, Oceanfront Plaza, and Club Atlantis.


Commissioner Gongora gave opening remarks at the workshop and the Commission Aide for Commissioner Samuelian was present throughout.  Also in attendance were Vincent Canosa, Ocean Rescue Chief, as well as City staff from the Office of Real Estate, Code Compliance Department, Environment and Sustainability Department, and the City Manager’s Office.


The participants were asked to break out into facilitated group discussions held at five tables. The discussions were facilitated by City staff and the conversations were focused around three leading questions:


1.    To what extent should be City of Miami Beach regulate kiteboarding? What role (if any) should the City play?

2.    To what extent should the City restrict where kite-surf can or take kitesurfing lessons, and if restrictions are in place, where should kite surfing be permitted?

3.    What is the best way to ensure the safety of both kite surfers and other nearby users of the water?

The feedback obtained from the five facilitated group discussions had three main themes.  The need to create a way in which the City could regulate and enforce rules, creation of an area specifically designated for learning, and a certification or registration process by which experienced kiters would submit their credentials.  A summary of the specific ideas and suggestions is attached hereto as Attachment 5 – Public Workshop #2 Summary.


The City has also launched an online feedback forum for individuals who were not able to attend the public meetings. The online tool can be found by following this link:


Additionally, at the meeting, representatives from Oceanfront Plaza Condominium, located at 2625 Collins Avenue, provided City staff with a petition, attached hereto as Attachment 6 – Kitesurfing Petition,  demanding that kitesurfers be banned from the 26th Street location.  Forty-two (82%) respondents agreed with the ban and nine (18%) disagreed.


Amending the City Code

Upon determining the best policies and procedures for regulating kiteboarding it will be necessary to update the City Code by amending the provisions in Sections 82-466 through 82-470 regarding definitions, prohibited watercraft in restricted swim areas, prohibiting watercraft in certain non-restricted swim areas, exceptions for the launch and use of certain watercraft in permitted areas, providing requirements regarding safety equipment and distance, providing exceptions regarding restricted and non-restricted swim areas, and amending the provisions for enforcement and penalties.


The Administration seeks direction from the Neighborhood/Community Affairs Committee regarding regulating kiteboarding on Miami Beach.   

Attachment 1 - IKO Courses and CertificationsMemo
Attachment 2 - Description of LevelsMemo
Attachment 3 - MBKF PresentationMemo
Attachment 4 - Public Workshop #1 SummaryMemo
Attachment 5 - Public Workshop #2 SummaryMemo
Attachment 6 - Kitesurfing PetitionMemo