National Coasteering Charter
The National Coasteering Charter is an Advisory Organisation run by a committee with both national and regional representatives, all working together to ensure the best practices and representation of Coasteering in the U.K is being met by its members.
What is the National Coasteering Charter?
‘In November 2010 after nearly 12 years of discussion and meetings, over 80 coasteering providers from across the U.K including coasteering centres in Pembrokeshire, Cornwall & Devon made their way from areas including the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, Scotland, England and Wales to unanimously vote that they be represented nationally. The vote was taken to create the National Coasteering Charter (NCC)
John Paul Eatock
National Coasteering Charter Vice Chairman
The National Coasteering Charter is an Advisory Organisation run by a committee with both national and regional representatives, all working together to ensure the best practices and representation of Coasteering in the U.K is being met by its members. With safety and regular communication among the coasteering community being paramount to their purpose they are the closest thing to a governing body the activity has.
The remit of the NCC is:
- Represent Coasteering Providers at National Level
- Continuously improve Coasteering safety and practices
- Report, learn and share information from accidents and near misses
- Sustainably run Coasteering provision for future generations to enjoy the special places that it takes place in
- Support its members by being a place of Coasteering expertise through a body of peers to go to when needed (e.g with access issues)
To ensure a minimum level of good practice the NCC has written, agreed and continuously update a series of documents as its Industry Standards. They are widely supported and recognised by major and respected governing bodies such as HSE, AALS, ROSPA, the MCA and the RNLI among many others. All of their documents are public and can be downloaded on their website.
Why do we value the National Coasteering Charter?
This group of peer elected volunteers is made up of some of the Nations highest qualified and experienced Coasteering guides, they are seen in the industry and by its members like us as the go to body for affirmation of becoming a reputable and trusted provider. This is why we only recognise registered members on our site as we know they have at least met the minimum requirements of operations as laid out by the NCC.
The cumulative years of knowledge and experience this group of representatives hold has been pivotal in the healthy growth of what is a potentially a dangerous activity of traversing the coastline. By definition they have been responsible for setting the minimum standards expected with regards to everything involved in taking people Coasteering, from providing regular training of guides, to site specific assessments. They have helped to ensure that only the most competent and qualified guides lead Coasteering experiences under their governance. Thanks to this initiative there is a platform for providers to discuss lessons learned, incidents occurred, changes in environment and any suggestions to further improve the experience and safety customers have.
Why should you use an NCC provider?
As Coasteering grows there are a number of companies that wish to further expand their Outdoor businesses and have started to offer Coasteering as one of their activities. It is in our opinion that while you may find other such companies providing safe Coasteering practices but without the support or recognition from the NCC, them doing so could still be jeopardising the future of the activity for all. Unfortunately Coasteering already has this reputation of being a high risk activity and without a governing body policing such practices, along with it’s wrongful association with ‘tombstoning’, anyone operating outside of the well thought out guidelines these industry experts have outlined then any one misjudgement or avoidable incident could result in the public having negative and long lasting damaging views of the whole industry.
Why isn’t the NCC the National Governing Body for Coasteering?
Coasteering is still a relatively new activity and isn’t really a sport as such, yet. You don’t tend to find people Coasteering on their own without a guide due to the nature of the environment in which it is in, the accessibility and the safety equipment required in case of an incident. And while it is growing in popularity each year with more and more holiday makers adding it to their list of summer activities, the National Coasteering Charter seems yet to have confidence in their ability to make the admittedly massive leap from charter to NGB status. The hours of work and bureaucratic expertise required would need a budget that may not be attainable through provider membership alone. Unlike other ‘Sports’ there just doesn’t appear to be participation on a social level yet and attempting to transition to NGB status may prove unsustainable and could actually cause the complete opposite result to which they hoped for.
Their website is a great information resource and has a list of all their affiliated providers, the names, contact and roles for all its committee members as well as relevant news such as AGM minutes. They also explain in their words why it is not yet a governing body. Their facebook page is where you will find up to date happenings and news among the Coasteering community.
If you wish to become a member, show support, log an incident or even just learn more about who they are then visit the National Coasteering Charter website.
Disclaimer: This is written from someone who has had no involvement with the organisation other than as a member and observer of everything they do to represent the activity of Coasteering and its members.