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Guidance For Leaders

This Section refers to dinghy sailing and windsurfing only. For further information on powerboating, keelboating and cruising, RYA and DoT guidelines should be followed and further advice should be sought from the Adventurous Activities Consultant

  • Planning
  • Equipment
  • Clothing and Personal Equipment
  • Keelboats
  • Water Hazards

Careful planning and preparation contribute greatly to the safe and enjoyable outcome of any activity. The council's generic risk assessment for your chosen activity is designed to help you plan that activity safely, and must be referred to in the early planning stages. If the site or nature of the planned activity poses additional risks which are not covered by the generic risk assessment then these must be considered in an additional site specific risk assessment.

Specifically the following should be considered:

  • Prior Knowledge of the location to be used should be first hand where possible Venues should be appropriate to the student’s level of skill and the aims of the session.
  • Flexibility should be built into planned programmes to allow for last minute modification or curtailment, to take account of changing conditions and unforeseen circumstances.
  • Know the group, in particular, their experience and physical capabilities, including any relevant medical problems.
  • Weather forecasts should be obtained and there should be a continuing awareness of changing conditions. .
  • Notify relevant bodies as to your plans e.g. Coastguard, Harbourmaster, colleagues at base.
  • Tidal Conditions - Seek local knowledge and exercise caution in tidal areas, particularly in relation to sea state and tidal flow. Where possible teaching should be done round the slack water periods.
  • Safety Boat - A powered safety boat must be in attendance for all sessions involving dinghies and windsurfers except when cruising in larger dinghies. The safety boat driver must hold as a minimum the RYA National Powerboat Certificate Level 2. In addition there should normally be a second competent adult aboard.
  • Other Constraints - Be aware of any other operational constraints such as available time, daylight hours, wind strength and direction, overhead power cables etc

ALL craft should conform to the guidelines set down by the RYA.

Please refer to the website for details:

It is the responsibility of the instructor to ensure that their students are adequately and appropriately clothed for the type of activity and the prevailing conditions.

Specifically the following should be considered:

  • All students should wear appropriately sized EN approved buoyancy aids.
  • Clothing including head and footwear should be warm and be of a multi layered system. If necessary a wind and waterproof outer shell should be worn.
  • Wet suits or steamers should be worn in circumstances where frequent capsizes are likely. If dry suits are worn suitable warm clothing e.g. thermal or fleece layers must be worn underneath.
  • All food and equipment should be stored in waterproof containers, securely fastened in, and be stowed in such a way so as not to adversely affect the craft’s sailing characteristics or to create an entrapment hazard for the crew.
  • It is recommended that watersports helmets be worn by young sailors.

These craft are often unique and specialist in nature. Advice must be sought from the Adventure Activity Consultant prior to their use with Aberdeenshire groups.

Any crossing which requires more than a simple step across a small stream should not be underestimated and should only be contemplated when no significant risks are posed by doing so. When managing risks associated with water hazards, leaders must operate within the scope of their training and experience.
The council´s in house Lowhills Award does not provide formal training in dealing with water hazards, and leaders who are qualified in this capacity are required to ensure that any water crossings carried out under their supervision are of no more than ankle depth, able to be carried out easily and are inconsequential in the event of a slip.
Leaders who have undertaken national awards such as the Summer Mountain Leader Award will be more able to apply a reliable risk benefit analysis when faced with these hazards; however the overriding consideration should be avoidance of such hazards wherever possible.
The key to a successful outcome lies in the planning and risk assessment stages. Contingency plans should be drawn up for those situations where water is above ankle level or where the outcome of a crossing is uncertain. These should include alternative routes or waiting until water levels recede.

N.B Leaders who have undertaken training in any relevant capacity must lodge a record of that training with the management of their establishment.