Adventure firms that would usually be considered to be commercial competitors have joined forces to develop and promote shared safety standards for the emerging activity of Coasteering. The new guidance for Coasteering providers recognises that risk-taking is an integral part of an adventure activity that needs to be managed rather than eliminated.
Coasteering, which involves traversing the coast at the intertidal zone using a combination of scrambling, walking, swimming, and jumping, is now offered as an organised adventure activity by firms around the UK. Thousands of people are likely to take part in a Coasteering session this summer.
To respond to rising activity and increasing reports of incidents and near misses, an industry working group was set up involving around 120 Coasteering providers, plus the outdoor industry regulator (AALA) and safety and rescue organisations, under the direction of the National Water Safety Forum’s beach safety advisory group. Established in 2007, the working group has defined industry standards and good practice and published best practice guides – one covering skills and training for Coasteering guides, and the other outlining best practice for providers in managing the risks associated with Coasteering, including drowning, impact injuries and the effects of temperature.
A new industry group – the National Coasteering Charter (NCC) – has now been established to take forward the sharing and embedding of good practice across the sport. John-Paul Eatock, head of quality at Falmouth Marine School, has been appointed as its chairman. He said: “New and emerging sports like coasteering often have local pockets of knowledge and excellent practice. Defining, sharing and embedding good practice was the objective of the original working group and this will now be taken forward by the NCC.