We’ve partnered with the Adventure Travel Trade Association to provide safety recommendations and best practices to help you host an ocean Experience. You’ll get tips on everything from helping guests make sure yours is the right Experience for them, to keeping them safe once at the water.
These are some best practices and tips to keep people safe in ocean Experiences, but you’re the expert on the activities you’re leading. You should always think about what more you can do to keep everyone safe.
Ensure your guests are a good match
If there are health, fitness, or other requirements needed to safely enjoy the Experience, make this clear in the description of your Experience. This includes providing details about the Experience’s length of time, exertion required, and skills needed.
Once a guest books, you’ll want to check in with them to find out if they have any health concerns that may affect their participation. This may be anything from a food allergy to a heart condition. Don’t be afraid to make sure you’re clear on what modifications you’re able or willing to make to accommodate them. If guests need to purchase additional insurance, you should make this clear, and provide information about viable options.
Once someone books, you can use Airbnb’s messaging system 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 concerns 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 what bathroom facilities are available. Try to address these concerns before guests have to ask.
Some guests may be on an ocean Experience for the first time, so your communication is key to a safe and enjoyable experience.
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 there are no holes in fabric or webbing, and that all buckles, straps, and snaps work. Check whatever vessel guests will be using for any punctures or holes, as well as the quality of propulsion–this can be anything from paddles to engines.
It’s a good idea for you to know if and where you’ll have cell service coverage, and let your guests know in advance.
Give a pre-Experience briefing
Guests appreciate it if before you set out on your Experience, you make sure your guests 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.
Hosts should carry (and know how to use) an extensive first aid kit for stabilizing a patient and safely evacuating them.
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.
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 rapidly 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 may 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 a natural disaster or any other kind of emergency that could occur during an Experience.
Here are several useful safety plan templates provided by the American Red Cross and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC):
Airbnb provided trip protections
All multi-day trips include 24/7 customer support. We also maintain $1 million of liability insurance under our Experience Protection Insurance program, in order to provide hosts and guests with peace of mind (certain exclusions apply). Additionally, in the event of a life-threatening injury, we also have partnered with an emergency medevac provider which may be activated to reach an injured party to support a medically necessary evacuation.
Keep the community in mind
As a host, you can support the local, regional, and international environment and economy. One of the ways to do this is to share any local rules or etiquette around the activity of your experience with your guests. You can also look out for your local environment by reducing waste, recycling, and giving back to people in your community.
Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA)
Courtesy of the Adventure Travel Trade Association. ©2019 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, please visit adventuretravel.biz.
American Red Cross and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC):
Courtesy of the American Red Cross and International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. ©2019 The American National Red Cross ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
The American Red Cross and International Federation of the Red Cross Red Crescent name and emblem are used with its permission, which in no way constitutes an endorsement, express or implied, of any product, service, company, opinion or political position. The American Red Cross logo is a registered trademark owned by The American National Red Cross. For more information about the American Red Cross, please visit redcross.org.