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Surf’s up! Keeping your watersports business out of rough water

There’s a thriving community of watersports businesses in the UK from Caithness through to Newquay, offering activities from scuba courses, snorkelling tours, boat rides, equipment hire and surf schools, enabling anyone from beginners to big kahunas to enjoy our marvellous coastlines. Watersports can offer the ultimate adrenaline rush whilst activities such as scuba diving evoke feelings of wonder unlike anything else – but conditions can be hard to predict, which means that you need to be prepared for any eventuality.

If you own your own surf school, hire out watersports equipment or offer scuba/snorkelling tours to adventurous tourists, you’ve probably seen first-hand what can go wrong when in hot water.

Marine life
They say never work with children or animals, but when you’re working in this industry it’s unavoidable. Children are often easier to manage as you can reason with them to some degree and enforce rules, however, marine life is a different story. The presence of animals can make or break a trip. For example, if you go on a seal spotting tour in the Farne Islands and no seals are spotted, you might have some very disappointed customers. On the flip side, you don’t want an untimely jellyfish attack during a surf lesson. The sea plays host to a number of potentially dangerous marine life and despite your best efforts, you can’t always predict their location or actions at any given time.

Equipment
Saltwater, rust and corrosion come hand-in-hand and because of this, you need to stay on top of the maintenance of your equipment. If you don’t wash the salt off your equipment after every use this can lead to irreversible damage and a number of insurance policies won’t cover general wear and tear caused by lack of maintenance. This also applies to leaks, osmosis treatment/blisters and more.

You also need to make sure that your equipment is safe and in full working order before each use. This is essential to ensure customers are safe when out at sea and is particularly important when hiring out equipment as you won’t be able to monitor your customers as closely. This could result in an increased chance of damage to the equipment, or, worse still, failure of the equipment, rendering it not fit for purpose and putting your customer’s safety at risk.

Challenging weather conditions
Most watersports businesses are required to remain extremely vigilant about the weather, including the chance of any sudden changes and upcoming storms. If you’re caught up in the wrong weather it could be bad news for the safety of your customers and your equipment. If you’re not sure, it’s always best to veer on the safe side no matter how tempting it is to get out on the open water.

Rip tides/currents
Rip tides/currents are one of the most deadly elements of the ocean and the hardest to spot. Whilst some rip currents are permanent features, others are unpredictable. Peter Dawes, head of lifeguards at the Royal National Lifeboat Institution stated that ‘rips will move, and what may be a perfectly safe place one day will not be safe the next day’. These could be particularly dangerous for surfers and can catch out the most experienced of sea-goers. However knowledgeable staff and a strong safety brief prior to hitting the waves can lend themselves to the safety of your customers in unpredictable waters.

Rocks
Both under the sea and in the cliff edges nearby, rocks can be tricky to spot and one wrong move can result in an injury to a customer. This could range anything from a scraped ankle to a serious concussion from hitting your head as a result of an unexpected wave. This could result in a liability claim made against you, putting your reputation at risk and incurring a considerable financial loss.

Despite the risks, there are plenty of advantages to running a watersports enterprise and spending day after day on the ocean waters, showing others your passion, is what it’s all about.

Speak to Full-Time Cover today to find out how we can help insure your water sports business and keep your business going swimmingly.