Equipment, whether hired, borrowed or owned by the school or students, must be in a safe condition and suitable for the activity
First aid kits
First aid kits appropriate to the location and level of training must be carried.
Clothing is the individual’s primary protection against severe and variable weather conditions.
Clothing lists need to be appropriate for the activity, environment and season.
Participants must dress in a manner that will not hinder flotation or their ability to maintain a comfortable temperature. For example, heavy boots or bulky clothing would impede a swimmer’s ability to float or swim. It is recommended that rafters do not wear clothing over the top of buoyancy vests.
Participants must wear well secured footwear that will be suitable for rafting, swimming and hiking (in the event of a portage or walk out).
Eyewear should be secured in some way and loose jewellery must not be worn. Participants should not wear rings unless they are taped. Items of jewellery or rings which students remove should be placed in a secure location so they do not get lost.
Spare clothing, warm gear and shelter are recommended and should be carried depending upon season, activity length or remoteness and level of difficulty. Any spare clothing held on a raft must be contained in waterproof storage and safely secured.
To protect against sunburn (see
sun exposure) participants should wear a hat and use broad-spectrum, water-resistant SPF 30+ sunscreen on all exposed parts of the body, applied according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Hats must not interfere with helmet effectiveness or pose a risk to the wearer.
Staff and students must be easily identifiable.
Staff must determine the most suitable identification system based on an assessment of the environment, students’ skills, the type of activities to be undertaken, and the age and number of students.
Helmets specifically designed for water activities must be correctly worn at all times on the water and must comply with the following safety characteristics of lightweight protective helmets:
- adjustable chin strap
- hard outer shell
- firm fit – either by use of an adjustable harness securely attached to the helmet or a fixed helmet in a range of sizes
- foam padded or constructed with a suspension harness
- capacity to float.
Helmets must also meet European standard EN 1385, Helmets for Canoeing and Whitewater Sports.
Paddles should be in good working order, buoyant, appropriate to the activity and the correct length for the paddler. Spare paddles must be carried on all river trips.
Personal flotation devices
In all waters, staff and students must wear a securely fitted personal flotation device that meets Australian Standard AS 2259 – Type 2 Personal Flotation Device. See:
Transport Safety Victoria - Personal Flotation Devices
Construction of rafts, including air chambers and buoyancy and the requirements for grab lines and D-rings must comply with the International or Australian Standards (AS 2677 – Inflatable boats).
When the raft is fully inflated, the perimeter grab lines threaded through the D-rings on the side of the raft should be taut.
A bow and stern line must be securely attached to the raft.
Types and sizes of rafts should be selected based on their suitability for the river section, the water level and the abilities of the participants.
Manufacturers’ raft weight load limits for people and equipment must not be exceeded.
Small plastic, single chamber rafts are not recommended for rafting activities. These can only be used in grade 1 or 2 rapids (in non-remote locations where access and support are readily available).
Rescue equipment must be in good condition, readily accessible, and suitable for the location or activity and the water conditions category. Staff must be proficient in its use. An appropriate repair kit must be available to the guiding staff. Rescue equipment and repair kits must be chosen that are suitable for the remoteness and nature of the journey. Guides must know how to use the repair kit.
Staff should consider whether or not to carry a pump for the journey.
Rafting guides must have their own rescue equipment, suitable for the location and activity. For each guide, as a minimum this must include:
- a throw rope, flip line, safely protected river knife and whistle
- access to equipment to perform a ‘mechanical advantage’ rescue.