Risks In Coasteering
Coasteering is a dynamic activity in close contact with nature.
As in all outdoor activities it is not possible or desirable to eliminate all risks, however, it is still possible to reduce them to an acceptable level.
Water as a resource for recreational and leisure purposes satisfies both the desire to be one with nature and the need for adrenaline and strong emotions.
The challenge is to balance the feeling of excitement and the perception of a potential danger better. Sometimes the balance can be wrong and this can have real consequences that can be serious or even fatal. All Participants and Guides should have the right information to make a weighted decision, recognize that these risks exist and have the ability to find an activity that suits their needs. This approach allows the participant to take responsibility, along with the Guide, for their own safety during the experience. In an activity, the key factor to be able to handle the risks is the experience, competence, knowledge and judgment of the Guide.
Interaction between the participant and the sea, atmospheric conditions and physical characteristics require very complex evaluations that vary throughout the activity.
The most common risks during a Coasteering session can be summarized in three macro categories:
Fallen from above
Falls in water
Fallen on overgrown rocks
Dive from considerable heights
Being “Swept” on the rocks
Tracks between the rocks
Traps under the water (cross between rocks, seaweed, nets etc.)
Submerged / Immersion repeated
Surface / depth current
Immersion in cold water
Hypothermia / Hyperthermia
Exposure to extreme atmospheric agents
These risks can occur in four potential contexts:
Where there is no chance (realistically) that a participant finishes in the water
Where participants can end up in the water
Where the participants will end up in the water
Where participants can risk a “dry” accident.
It will therefore be necessary to develop an effective risk assessment and normal operating procedures (NOPs)
An in-depth knowledge and an understanding of all these areas of risk is indispensable.
The Guide, in order to ensure the safety of participants, must take management measures, and / or apply additional control measures.
This list should not be considered exhaustive but represents common points that should be verified before each activity:
• Requirements for swimming and fitness of the participant
• Medical requirements
• Age requirements
• Group competence
• Skills and knowledge of the Guide
• Personal protection equipment
• Help Safety Equipment
• Weather conditions
• Security briefing
• Path options
• Guide / Participant Report
• Duration of the session
• Path Recording
• Control of obstacles
• Alternative outputs
• Stop or limit session.
It is important that coasteering takes place on conscious choices of participants and guides involved in the activity, so that they have an informed consensus on the risks.
A policy devoted to informing participants about nature, the scope of risks and what to expect from the business is a must.