Water assault courses

Includes: Inflatables, Low Ropes Over Water Indoors, Outdoors, Adventurous activities, Water

Age:
7+
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Tackle the Obstacles

High-adrenaline water assault courses take place on inflatable or low-rope structures that are floating on water. Test your balance, climb, slide and weave as you try not to fall in!

Overview

Water inflatables use an inflatable structure to provide an obstacle course that is floating on water.

Low-rope courses over water use ropes suspended over water to provide a floating obstacle course. 

To take girls on inflatables, you will need to find a reputable local provider with suitably qualified instructors.

Water assault courses are an adventurous activity and should follow the adventurous activity policy and procedures

Approved: 5 May 2021
Version: 1.0

Content owner: Adventure team

Planning checklist

If you or another member of your leadership team is running the activity at an external venue/location, follow these extra steps:

  • Arrange for a home contact. Leave any route or other relevant details with your home contact and complete a home contact agreement form. Let them know about any changes to your plans.
  • Tell your commissioner.
  • Get a copy of the public liability insurance of the activity provider before you book.
  • Check you hold the relevant qualification (if one is needed) to run the activity and let your commissioner know you plan to run it yourself. If you aren't sure, speak to your local adviser to check.
  • Check with the venue that they have the correct equipment and, if needed, specialist clothing that will meet the needs of your group.
  • Get any specialist equipment or clothing needed to run the activity not provided by the venue, and make sure this is in good condition and fit for purpose.
  • Check that any equipment is suitably insured by the provider and agree what happens to the equipment if it gets damaged.
  • Ask for a copy of the venue's safety guidelines and risk assessment (if relevant).
  • Make sure you have the correct ratio of participants (girls, leaders and volunteers) to qualified adults (those running the activity if a qualification is needed). This is different to the ratio of leaders to girls.
  • Consider the ability and experience of the participants and any disabilities, access needs or health conditions and plan the session accordingly.

Some venues might ask for a disclaimer or waiver to be signed for each person taking part in the activity. This is something which parents/carers must sign on behalf of their child. You can do this along with the consent form. Parents and carers should be given sufficient information from the provider along with the waiver so they can make an informed decision to sign it or not. Leaders can only sign disclaimers and waivers for their own personal participation. 

If you're working with an external provider or external instructors to run this activity outside the unit meeting space, follow these extra steps. 

  • Arrange for a home contact. Leave any route or other relevant details with your home contact and complete a home contact agreement form. Let them know if you make any changes to your plans.
  • Tell your local commissioner.
  • Tell the activity provider about the ability and experience of the participants and any disabilities, access needs or health conditions that need to be considered when running the activity.
  • Choose a reputable and licensed activity provider (where applicable).
  • Check the qualified adults hold the correct qualification to be able to run the activity (see the information below).
  • Get copies of the instructor qualifications and public liability insurance of the activity provider before you book.
  • Ask for a copy of the providers' safety guidelines and risk assessment.
  • Make sure you have the correct ratio of participants (girls and volunteers) to qualified adults (those running the activity). This is different to the ratio of leaders to girls.
  • Check with the venue that they have the correct equipment and, if needed, specialist clothing that will meet the requirements for your group.
  • Source any specialist equipment or clothing needed to run the activity not provided by the venue, and make sure this is in good condition and fit for purpose.
  • Check that any equipment is suitably insured by the provider and agree what happens to the equipment if it gets damaged.

Some venues might ask for a disclaimer or waiver to be signed for each person taking part in the activity. This is something which parents/carers must sign on behalf of their child. You can do this along with the consent form. Parents and carers should be given sufficient information from the provider along with the waiver so they can make an informed decision to sign it or not. Leaders can only sign disclaimers and waivers for their own personal participation.

There are no set instructor qualifications for this activity, providers should ensure that staff have been appropriately trained.

Safety cover must be provided, and possibly bank and on-water safety cover as well, depending on the site you use. There must be sufficient safety staff to ensure that there are no blind spots on the course or the water around it. Those providing on-water safety cover should hold an appropriate qualification for the craft that they are using and should have undertaken rescue training.

We recommend at least one adult within your group with up-to-date knowledge of water safety and rescue techniques, such as the Girlguiding water safety training module.

If alternative qualifications are held, ask for advice from your outdoor activities adviser or contact [email protected] to ensure the instructor’s qualification is appropriate to the nature of the activity.

If doing this activity abroad, the above qualifications and regulations may not be applicable. The leader will need to make enquiries about the reputation and safety standards of the activity provider. Contact your international adviser or outdoor activities adviser, or email [email protected] for more guidance.

For many activities around or on water, confidence in the water is more important than the ability to swim a particular distance. Often girls will need to be assisted back onto a craft by the qualified adult running the activity and they should have the confidence to stay in water until rescued.

Leaders should check the swimming ability and confidence in water of their girls, and highlight those with weak swimming abilities or low water confidence to the instructor.

Where weak swimmers or those with low water confidence are taking part, this should be risk-assessed and ratios may need to be amended.

You can get good swimmers who have low water confidence if the environment in which they are swimming is different to usual.  Someone who is a good swimmer in a pool may not initially be very confident in cold open water.

Activity providers may have a swimming ability requirement to take part in this activity. Leaders should check with the activity provider before booking.

Buoyancy aids and lifejackets must be worn for activities where this is recognised as best practice as identified by the qualified adult or activity provider.

The leader must:

  • Make sure that safety rules and alarm signals have been explained to the girls, as well as the need for instructions to be obeyed immediately.
  • Make sure the required buoyancy aids or life jackets are used.
  • Follow water safety guidance and ensure that the responsible adult helpers are familiar with them.

Inspect water for visible signs of pollution, for example rubbish, blue green algae or chemicals.

Make sure girls and parents are aware of the dangers and symptoms of Weil's disease and what action to take if they suspect infection. On the day of the activity, advise participants to cover cuts and grazes with waterproof plasters to help prevent infection.

See our guidance on water activities.

Adult to child ratios

The ratios below are given as a maximum and ratios must be considered as part of the risk assessment, this may lessen due to any medical conditions, physical ability or other factors.

Leadership team ratio

As this activity will take place outside of your usual meeting place the leadership team adult to child ratio is mandatory.

  • Rainbows: not a Rainbow activity
  • Brownies: 1:8
  • Guides: 1:12
  • Rangers: 1 Girlguiding leader

Qualified adult/participant ratio

There must be safety cover to ensure no blind spots on the course or the water surrounding the course.

We recommend at least one recognised Girlguiding volunteer with up-to-date knowledge of water safety and rescue techniques, such as the Girlguiding water safety training module.

Forms

  • An Activity Information and Consent form is required to participate in this activity - PDF | Word
  • A Risk Assessment form is required for this activity - PDF

Remember - you can use one consent form for multiple activities