RE: Life Jackets Required?
Although you mentioned ScottC in your question above, I'll assume that it was meant for me.
Hey, great news about the elimination of the excessive fine. It's great how things sometimes work out in one's favor, especially when things looked very bleak earlier.
I live in Santa Barbara, California. Since I started windsurfing in 1985, there has never been any rules about the use of floatation devices. I think that the local Harbor Patrol views windsurfing and kiting along similar lines as surfing. This is an important distinction, since it effectively takes us out of the realm of being a boat. Also, like I mentioned earlier, our boards are, in fact, floation devices. As configured, they clearly aren't as subject to sinking as boats. In my mind, sailing in an ocean environment makes things much different than things could be in a more restrictive lake type environment where the authorities can tend to be focused on recreational rules and enforcement. In reality, the ocean has an almost infinite number of launch sites, and that readily complicates any enforcement strategies. However, I should point out that some beaches can impose restrictions on where you can launch and sail. Lifeguards sometimes have to balance different recreational users to avoid problems. Usually, this is done very sensibly.
Anyway, great news about your reprieve. Still, sounds like you're going to need a floatation device, at least in the near future.