Water Safety Management – expedition reflections

Business manager Matt has just returned from leading an expedition in South East Asia  and has been reflecting on the challenges of safety near water.

Leading groups of young people overseas relies heavily on good judgement – is this situation safe? How should I control the group and keep them safe, yet let them explore and enjoy beautiful environments?

Reflections on water safety from expedition

training for water safety – water safety management programme with RLSS

Sadly it can be easy for a group playing at the waterside to develop into a dangerous situation rapidly without good management. I reflected how much more confidence courses like the RLSS National Water Safety Manangement Programme can provide in making these judgements.

Picture the scenes:

  • The students are playing volleyball on the beach. They have been working hard for the last week and all they want to do is to cool off in the water, surely having a nice cool splash in the water is just what everyone needs…
  • You are about to board a water taxi across a fast flowing river through the Cambodian jungle…
  • You are sitting by a waterfall in the middle of the forest having just spent all day walking there…

Making judgements is critical – is the water a safe place to be? Should you let the people in your charge in or even near the water?

The RLSS have developed the National Water Safety Management Programme (NWSMP) to help people that work at the water margins. For teachers, group leaders, environmental scientists, dock workers, police officers, construction workers and canal boat owners, this course has proven to be popular across a wide spectrum.

The course looks at the inherent water safety risks associated with different environments; still water, moving water and beach. Participants find themselves learning about group management, risk assessment and rescue techniques.

We have an RLSS NWSMP running on the weekend of the 12-13th October. We also have a, Instructor Certification Course (ICC) running on the 14-15th October, for those people interested in being able to deliver the programme.If you’d be interested in discussing these courses please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

One thought on “Water Safety Management – expedition reflections

  1. Simon Amos

    Paranoia about ‘scary water’ can totally undermine a youth expedition. Having watched groups of teenagers on a beach, where tourists and their kids are splashing around with lifeguards in attendance, being unable to get into the water is frankly plain stupid.
    I am happy to say that despite the strict guidelines laid down by LEA’s most leaders make that judgement call and let the team play in the water as long as they dont take any photos to get their leader into trouble.
    Of course it makes perfect sense to have good judgement and not all situations involve a safe beach so this course could have a positive impact as long as, leaders go for it. Its another expense though and most exped companies won’t fund their leaders to do it, the profit-mad companies that spout ‘safety, safety safety’ to their schools.
    When will there be some proper oversight in this industry that considers the actual value of the product delivered? Lack of real regulation is the biggest problem we face and the longer it goes on the less credible the industry will seem. Never mind crass blanket safety regulations banning this and that, accountability is what we need, just like any professional association.


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