Coasteering

Coasteering is an adventure activity that takes place around the rocky coastline of the UK. Coasteering entails wearing a full body wetsuit, recreational buoyancy aid, white water helmet and suitable footwear.

Coasteering is a combination of adventure swimming that takes place along the base of  sea cliffs, exploring gullies, caves, cracks and different rock formations created by the sea. Stopping on route to experience the rise and fall of the ocean waves, experiencing the movement of the swell, in and around the rock formations. Traversing and scrambling the lower level of sea cliffs above deep water and climbing the cliffs to the jumping locations. Cliff jumps can range from 1 – 10 meters in height.

Coasteering is an extreme adventure activity that can be high risk, depending on sea and weather conditions and activity location.

Present Safety Guidelines

Coasteering sessions are ALWAYS led by a minimum of two qualified Coasteer guides.

Coasteering sessions are always guided by a minimum of two Coasteer guides. The lead guide will hold the full BCF Award, valid SLSGB Coasteer safety Award and an up to date First Aid Certificate. We recommend that guides keep logged information on the knowledge of the Coasteering location. The assistant guide must hold a valid SLSGB Coasteer safety Award and an up to date First Aid Certificate, along with logged coasteering experience. An assistant guide is reccommended to have attended the 6 day Coasteer guides training award.

The Coasteering provider or lead guide MUST have in place:

  • Detailed risk assessment for Coasteering
  • Detailed written location assessment (site photos can be included)
  • Emergency Action Plan
  • Normal Operation Procedures
  • Staff training and assessment log
  • Adventure Activities Licensing Authority (if required)
  • 5 million indemnity Activity Insurance

The above risk assessments, EAP’S and NOP’S must be collected and formulated by both the Coasteer provider and the Lead Coasteer Guide(s). This must be documented in the staff training and assessment log.

The Coasteer guide to client ratio is; two guides up to 14, then an additional guide would be required if the group size increases from 14 up to 21. This increases again from 21 to 28 and so on.

  • 1-14    Two guides
  • 14-21    Three guides
  • 21-28    Four guides

The guide ratio is advised to be increased if the sea conditions are more adverse than normal, or the group’s needs are greater than usual, i.e. a group of young children with weak swimming ability.

Coasteering Equipment

The correct equipment must be used and worn by all taking part in Coasteering.

  • 3mm full body wetsuit for summer season
  • 5,4,3 steamer full body wetsuit for winter season
  • 45N child’s up to 70N Adults Buoyancy Aid with adjustable straps on the shoulders, side panels and  front.
  • Suitable impact water helmet.
  • Suitable footwear i.e. trainers or thick soled wetsuit boots
  • Protection over shorts for wetsuits  (Only recommended)

All the above equipment must be fitted to the client correctly and checked throughout the Coasteer session.

Guide Safety Equipment

When leading a Coasteering session all Guides should carry the following safety and rescue equipment

  • Rescue Tube (flexible) the rescue flex tube is recommended because it is almost impossible to tow an unconscious patient with a solid rescue can.
  • 10 Metre throw line (no less)
  • 3 Metre rescue tow lines
  • Plastic whistle
  • Pocket Mask
  • Waterproof torch (if caves are used)
  • Safety knife
  • Mobile Phone or VHF radio (Mobile Phone/ VHF radio can be left at HQ if less then 10 minutes to dial Emergency services)
  • Standard First Aid Kit, (First Aid Kit can be left at HQ if less than 10 minutes to retrieve)

Coasteering Session

The duration of the half day Coasteer session can last between 2-4 hours. If the client or group has booked a full day Coasteering, this can last from 5-6 hours. The following points must be addressed:

  • Both lead and assistant guide should discuss and assess group fitness individually before and after the first session.
  • If an individual or group member seems uncomfortable about a second session, the lead guide must discuss with the individual their own requirements and safety options for the second session.
  • Change of wetsuit for second session due to adverse weather and sea conditions. (A client or group member may require changing their 3mm to a 5mm wetsuit.)

Introduction

One of the most important skills of a Coasteer Guide is having the ability to communicate effectively to his/her clients!

  • A clear friendly approach is always taken when meeting clients for the first time.
  • Introduction to client(s).
  • Welcome to the organisation i.e. company
  • Guides and group introduction, IMPORTANT!
  • Can everybody swim? And are there any medical conditions within the group. Clients may wish to discuss these matters to one side. Be professional in your approach!
  • Brief description and history of the Coasteering location.
  • Introduce the route of the Coasteer and give brief description of activity.
  • If possible, Safely show the Coasteering route.
  • Equipment introduction i.e. how to fit wetsuit correctly, buoyancy aids and helmets.
  • Client’s equipment must be checked by all guides

Guides Safety Brief

All guides must address the following points prior to group’s safety brief; these points should be discussed away from the group.

  • Which guide is leading the Coasteering session?
  • Can the chosen route be led safely?
  • To the guide’s knowledge of the group, are the conditions matching the group’s ability?
  • Can all parts of the Coasteer be used safely?
  • If the sea conditions change, how will the route vary?
  • Escape routes and stopping the session early.
  • Equipment checks
  • Individual clients needs

Group’s Safety Brief

The safety brief should be led by the lead guide, with the assistance of the other guides. It is extremely important that all guides are involved in the safety brief.

  • Introduction of Coasteer guides.
  • Description of Coasteering i.e. what is Coasteering?
  • How to enter the water safely.
  • Swimming alongside the cliffs, submerged rocks
  • Defensive and aggressive swimming.
  • Exiting the water safely i.e. feet first.
  • Climbing on the rocks i.e. always three points of contact.
  • Jumping procedures. Always start at a low level to assess group’s technique.
  • Swimming and walking through caves.
  • Marine life.
  • Bunch up procedure.
  • Emergency escape routes
  • Signals
  • Group safety
  • Self-awareness.
  • Communication.

Any questions? IMPORTANT! Make sure that everybody understands and is happy with all safety procedures before entering the water