We partnered with the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) to come up with tips to help you host an ocean experience. These are best practices, but you’re the expert on the activities you lead. A great Host always thinks about what more they can do to keep everyone safe.
Set the right expectations
If there are health, fitness, or other requirements needed to safely enjoy the experience, outline this in your experience’s description. This includes providing details about the length of time, exertion and fitness required, and skill levels needed.
Communicate with guests often
Communication is key to a safe and enjoyable experience. Send new guests a message to introduce yourself and help your guests feel welcome and prepared. Let them know that you’re available to answer any questions.
You can also anticipate common points of concern before the experience begins. This could include practical matters like if there will be food, snacks, or water provided, if they should bring their own water bottle, and where and when bathroom facilities will be available. Try to address these concerns before guests have to ask.
Some guests may be doing this activity for the first time, so your communication is key to a safe and enjoyable experience. Try to address any concerns upfront, and make yourself available to answer questions throughout your experience. What may seem normal to you may be difficult or fear-inspiring for your guests.
Prepare guests before they arrive
Provide your guests with a list of what they’ll need ahead of time. For an ocean experience, that may include wetsuits and rain gear. Check that they are adequate for the conditions, and that there are no holes in fabric, and that all buckles, straps, and snaps work. Ensure that whatever vessel guests may be using is seaworthy, meets legal carriage requirements and other applicable regulations, that safety equipment is available and functional and that means of propulsion, this can be anything from paddles to engines, is in good order.
Give a pre-experience briefing
Guests appreciate it if before you set out on your experience, you make sure they know what you’ll be doing. Talk with them about the conditions they should expect, as well as any expectations you have of them. Now is the time to check that your guests have all the food, water, and gear that they’ll need.
Some guests may be out of their comfort zone and may need different gear than a local or experienced ocean-goer, so if you can anticipate these needs, you can make the experience even better.
Provide the right gear
If you’re providing gear for your guests, it should be in good condition, clean and dry, and fit each guest properly. For an ocean Experience, you’ll need to check whatever gear and vessels you use for yourself and your guests. Make sure gear is free of holes and excessive wear, and all that buckles and straps work.
If you don’t provide gear, check your guests’ gear to make sure it’s in good shape.
You should carry (and know how to use) an extensive first aid kit for stabilizing an injured guest and have communication device(s) to call out for assistance if needed.
Choose the right conditions, and prepare for the unexpected
It’s a good idea to talk with your guest about the range of conditions you’ll encounter. Above the surface, this includes temperature, precipitation, wind, storms and squalls, and wildlife. At and below the surface, your Experience may be affected by waves, currents, tides, swell, water temperature, floating hazards, and wildlife. Let them know how they can best prepare for these, as well as unexpected but possible challenges. Practice any techniques they may need.
If you need to cancel an experience for an emergency, weather, or safety issues, no penalties will be applied.
Have an emergency action plan
It’s important to have a clear itinerary and plan that all your guests understand. This should include specific info about what they should do if they become lost or injured.
As a host, you can work to prevent some of the more common problems associated with ocean Experiences, including changing tides and currents, unexpected weather changes and storms, or changing sea state. You can also guard against hypothermia and guests’ becoming ill or dehydrated from seasickness. Some strategies for avoiding these conditions are understanding local conditions and effects, knowing how to recognize and treat the first signs of illnesses, and having a back-up plan to keep the experience safe and comfortable.
You want to have an emergency action plan that you’ve practiced, as well as the means to evacuate a guest if the unexpected happens. If you’ll be more than an hour away from medical care, it’s best practice to have a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) or Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA), along with Ocean Lifesaving and CPR certification.
We recommend that all guests and hosts engaging in an experience prepare an emergency plan in case of an accident or a natural disaster or any other kind of emergency that could occur during an Experience. Find out more about making an emergency plan.
Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA): Courtesy of the Adventure Travel Trade Association. ©2021 Adventure Travel Trade Association. All rights reserved.
The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) name and logo are used with its permission, which in no way constitutes an endorsement or vetting of, express or implied, of any product, service, person, company, opinion or political position. The ATTA does not select or approve, and is not involved in the selection or approval of, Airbnb Experiences or hosts. For more information about the Adventure Travel Trade Association, visit adventuretravel.biz.