BASIC MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR ADVENTURE TOURISM ACTIVITIES

Introduction

There are a vast number of Adventure Tourism Activities being conducted in
the country. In order to ensure safety of participants in such activities, there is a
need to lay down the minimum acceptable standards in terms of equipment and
human resources. As a first step, the Basic Minimum Standards are recommended
for those activities which have the greatest volumes in terms of participation.
These activities are:

(a) LAND BASED
(i) Mountaineering
(ii) Trekking
(b) WATER BASED
(i) River running
(c) AIR BASED
(i) Parasailing
(ii) Paragliding
(iii) Bungee Jumping

BASIC MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR

LAND BASED ACTIVITIES

MOUNTAINEERING

1. Application: These Basic Minimum Standards (BMS) will apply
specifically to commercial operators attempting 6000m or other comparable peaks,
which offer to guide or accompany climbers above Base Camp and also to
operators who offer more limited facilities. However, it will also concern operators
who supply transport etc to Base Camp, and also supply Base Camp services and
High Altitude porters.

2. Information to Clients: A variety of organisations offer to take clients on
6000m or other comparable peaks. They vary from those which provide a full
service to the summit or nearly to the summit, to those where there is minimal
support for clients above Base Camp. However at the present moment it is difficult
for clients to deduce from brochures exactly what is offered in terms of guiding
and support, and whether it corresponds to their needs. These Basic Minimum
Standards will supply clients with pointers to assist them to make an informed
choice.

3. Danger awareness: Mountaineers climbing at very high altitude, especially
above 6000m are at considerable stress to their mental and physical powers and
may not be capable of assisting others as has always been traditional in
mountaineering. This fact is of particular importance to mountaineers of limited
experience, who rely on professional guides to bring them safely up and down
6000m+ peaks. They should be made aware that the risks involved in climbing at
altitudes are such that a degree of self-reliance is necessary.

4. General Guidelines for Mountaineering
(a) All such operators will have to be registered with Adventure Tour
Operators Association of India and Ministry of Tourism.
(b)The leader or chief guide and as many as possible of the guides should
have high altitude experience appropriate to the altitude of the peak to be
climbed. He must have been a member of three climbing expeditions
above 6000 m and must have completed the Basic Mountaineering
Course with an ‘A’ grade or an equivalent from abroad. He/She must be
qualified on first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
certification.

(c) The guiding and porter staff on the mountain and the material supplied
must be adequate for the aims of the party and stated level of service
offered.
(d)An experienced doctor in the party is desirable but at the very least
advance arrangements must be known for medical help. Advance
arrangements must also be made for evacuation assistance in case of
emergency.

(e) The minimum safety equipment available is recommended walkie-talkie
radios and recommended medical supplies.
(f) Advertising must give a true picture of all the difficulties and dangers
involved, and avoid promising the impossible. If an expedition is
commercially launched by an operator, then the Biographical information
about the guiding team should be included.
(g) The client must truthfully reveal his experience,
supported by
documentation/photograph, medical history etc to the organiser so that
the organiser can make an informed choice about the potential client.
(h) Information supplied in advance will include a clear statement of the
guiding, porterage and equipment which will be supplied by the
organiser, together with details of the clothing and equipment to be
supplied by the client. This is not in context of the operators assisting
expeditions with logistics alone.
(i) All equipment on which life is dependent must be Union International de
Alpine Association (UIAA) or European Union (EU) certified.
(j) Knowledge of low impact environmental expeditioning
must be undertaken, pledging to environmental guidelines of Union International
de Alpine Association (UIAA)/Himalayan Environment Trust (HET) etc.

TREKKING

1. The leader or chief guide and as many as possible of the guides should have
experience appropriate to the difficulty of the route being attempted The trip leader
must have completed at least two trekking trips in general and must have
completed the Basic Mountaineering Course or equivalent with an ‘A’ grade.
He/She must be qualified on first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
certification.

2. The guiding and porter staff for the trek and the material supplied must be
adequate for the aims of the party and stated level of services offered.

3. Adequate arrangements must be made known in advance for medical help
available in the area. Advance information must also be made for evacuation
assistance in case of emergency. Minimum first aid medical supplies must be
carried on the trip. In case of a helicopter requirement for rescue operation, it is
recommended that the Accreditation Committee be empowered to authorize the
rescue.

4. Information provided to clients must give a true picture of all the difficulties
and dangers involved, and avoid promising the impossible. Biographical
information about the guiding team should be included.

5. The client must truthfully reveal his experience, medical history etc to the
organiser so that the organiser can make an informed choice about the potential
client.

6. Information supplied in advance will include a clear statement of the
guiding, porterage and equipment which will be supplied by the organiser, together
with details of the clothing and equipment to be supplied by the client.

BASIC MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR WATER BASED ACTIVITIES

RIVER RUNNING

1. Any company operating river running trips or commercial white water
rafting trips must be registered with Indian Association of Professional
Rafting Outfitters/Adventure Tour Operators Association of India and
Ministry of Tourism.

2. All trips on white water for tourists will be conducted with at least one
qualified guide on each craft. A senior guide or trip leader must be present
and supervise the activity at all times.
3.
The Guide accompanying the trips should:
(a) be at least 18 years of age;
(b) be able to swim;
(c) hold a valid first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certificate
or equivalent.

4. Training: Guide trainees should complete a course (or equivalent training)
that equips them with the necessary skills and knowledge to safely and
competently guide a raft. A guide training course should include the
following topics:
(a) skills
-rafting techniques, crew training and management, emergency
and rescue techniques.
(b) knowledge – equipment, safety and emergency procedures, rapid theory,
leadership, signals, environment protection

5. Recognition Experience: Guides should:
(a) have guided a raft under the supervision of and to the satisfaction of
a
Trip Leader on at least ten white water runs within the past two years in
rapids of the same class or higher than the run they intend to guide on;
(b) complete a familiarization run on any new stretch of white water they
intend to guide on;
(c) maintain a log book recording each run and signed by the Trip leader as
proof of experience;
(d) should have good communication skills in Hindi and English

6. Special Requirements for Trip Leaders: Trip Leaders should:
(a) have been qualified guides for at least two years;
(b) have a high level of guide skills and knowledge;
(c) have a thorough knowledge of trip planning, white
water rescue
techniques, emergency procedures and advanced first aid;
(d) have guided a raft as a qualified guide on at least twenty white water
runs within the past two years in rapids of the same class or higher than
the run they intend to lead on;
(e) complete a familiarization run and know the evacuation routes on any
new stretch of white water they intend to lead on;
(f) should have excellent communication skills in Hindi and English.

7. Single Raft Trips: Some of the worst accidents in river running
internationally have occurred where there has been only one raft. There
should always be at least two crafts on the water i.e, two rafts or kayaks or a
raft and a safety kayak. This may be relaxed for float trips (maximum grade
II) in the case of rafts. For kayaks a minimum of two or preferably three is
always recommended. Safety Kayaks must be mandatory on technical rapids
grade IV and beyond. In case on continuous white water sections, one
should look at a minimum of one kayak per raft, if not more.

8. Kit: All trips must carry a well-equipped first Aid kit (it must have
triangular bandages, sterile pads, gauze roller bandages, pressure bandages,
first aid adhesive tape, splints, scissors as bare minimum), a repair kit (it
must contain approx. half meter of repair material, a sufficient amount of
flue and accelerator, sand paper or roughing tool and waterproof repair tape/
duck tape). Oar rafts must carry at least one spare oar. All rafts must have
a safety line going all around the raft, a bow- line and preferably a stern line
as well. All rafts must have a throw bag and a bailing bucket (in case of non
self bailer bucket boats). A flip line is recommended for all big drops.

9. Personal River Equipment: All rafters/ kayakers must have a life jacket on
all times while on water. This includes the guides also. The life jackets
must have adequate buoyancy (minimum of 6.14 kgs, and preferably 9 – 10
kgs.), must be the proper type (U.S. coast Guard Type III or V) with a
provision of ensuring a snug fit by straps etc. and the life jacket must be
worn correctly. Inflatable life jackets and the ‘keyhole’ type jackets should
not be allowed. Guides must ensure that the life jackets are on in a secure
manner before the trip starts and above all major drops. Helmets are
mandatory on all rapids and it is recommended that helmets be kept on
throughout the trip. The helmet should be properly strapped.
Rafts must be of good condition with no leakage or compartment damage. A
baffle / compartment inflation check must be carried out at regular intervals
to ensure that each compartment is air tight with no leaks. A minimum of 14

– 16 feet boats are recommended for commercial rafting. Self bailing rafts
are recommended.

10. Age Limit: Fourteen years on all stretches except float trips (grade II and
below), where it may be relaxed to ten years.
11.
Non Swimmers: Non swimmers should not be allowed on any serious rapid
(grade III +/IV)/ or hard section.

12. Safety Briefing: Guides/ trip leader must ensure that a thorough safety
briefing covering all pertinent details for that particular trip is given before
each trip. The trip leader must ensure that clients are in suitable attire (bulky
clothes, sarees, neck ties, long skirts and three piece suits should not be
permitted). People suffering from any serious ailments, weak heart
conditions, epilepsy and expecting mothers should not be allowed. Non-
swimmers should be allowed to body surf only with rope back up.
Shoes/appropriate sandals/ booties are a must for rafting. Appropriate
clothing must be worn during winter/ on glacial melt rivers with cold air
temperatures. For such rivers, dry suits/ wet suits are recommended. If not,
light woolens/synthetic clothes are a must. Trips must be timed carefully to
finish at least an hour before sunset.

13. Alcohol and Drugs: Consuming alcohol in any form or quantity or illicit
drugs at least six hours prior to the river trip must not be allowed.

14. Familiarization Runs: One or two familiarization runs before operating
commercially each season or on new rivers is recommended. Rivers should
not be run commercially at flood levels.

15. Foreign Guides: Foreign Guides must be aware of the Indian Safety
Regulations before being allowed to operate. They must fulfill the required
criteria and should do a few familiarisation runs on the river and equipment
before being allowed to operate commercially. A valid first aid certificate is
a must.

16. Senior Guide: A senior guide must have spent at least three consecutive
seasons on any of the above three rivers with a minimum of sixty days on
the river per season. He must have all requisite first aid and
cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) qualifications and must have a clean
safety record. A senior guide must have river-running experience on at
least three different rivers.

17. Safety Kayaker: A safety and rescue kayaker must be thoroughly trained
and experienced in all safety norms, river rescue and first
aid/cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification. A minimum of thirty
days on the river is mandatory before kayaking with commercial trips.
BASIC MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR

AIR BASED ACTIVITIES

Aerosports need the highest skill requirements. They also have the highest
risk element and anything that goes wrong hardly gives an opportunity for
corrective action. Accordingly adherence to safety guidelines must be followed
meticulously.

Generally the following principles need to be adopted:

(a) The equipment used in each aero-sport must be defined in terms of its
specifications, certifying agency and its life (shelf life and usage life), as
defined by the manufacturer, who for the purpose must hold a valid
authorization for manufacturing the particular aero-sport equipment.
(b) Instructor/operator qualification is very important. It is not enough to
have an initial certificate or qualification. Currency and continued
evaluation in terms of safety and skill needs to be carried out.
PARAGLIDING

Infrastructure:

1. Operator must have access to safe and open take off points in case of hill
launches. The take off point should be free from obstructions in the take
off path and should not have rock or crops which could injure the
participant. Cliff take off points must strictly not to be used.

2. The operator must have free and clear access to a designated landing
ground free of obstructions such as tall trees, buildings, electric wires etc.

3. First aid must be available at site with Qualified First aid Instructors (
having additional knowledge of related accidents), with arrangements
with a nearby hospital for quick emergency services.

4. Wind conditions should be strictly monitored and the activity must be
done within the

weather conditions stipulated by the equipment
manufacturer.

Equipment And Accessories

5. Paragliding wings must have APCUL DHV or CEN certification. Such
certification should be stitched on the wing and visible for inspection.
Harness should be with back protection and harness must be fitted with
round type certified rescue parachute.

6. Helmets and Ankle shoes must be compulsory.

7. Proper log books must be maintained for all equipment.

8. Annual inspection and certification of equipment for air worthiness must
be carried out.

Operator Qualification

9. In case of solo flights the pilot should have undergone two full days
ground training consisting theoretical and practical training and instructor
should satisfy himself of the first launch both in hill and winch launched
paragliding. For first 15 launches height should be restricted to Max 500
feet and student should be radio guided. After demonstrated capability
for 180 degree stable turns, five spot (20 Mtrs) landings and after the
theory paper is cleared, the student may be allowed to carry out free fly.
The student pilot must have a valid registration with a club recognised by
the Aero Club of India.

10. Tandem pilots must have a tandem pilots licence issued by the competent
authority, which will be issued after the following:
(i) 150 logged flights.
(ii)35 h + logged.
(iii) Pass theory paper

11. All instructors must be current pilots having sufficient knowledge and
experience in the sport.

PARASAILING

1. Operator Classifications: All operators shall be certified by the
appropriate agency in terms of their capability to conduct the activity on
land or water, specifically endorsed to allow multi-passenger flight
operations.

2. In Flight Floatation Devices and helmets: At all times passengers
participating in parasailing activities over water, while in flight shall
wear a properly fitted approved life jacket. Over land, the passengers
must wear an ISI approved helmet.

3. Assumption of Risk And Release of Liability Waiver: Without
exception, all operators shall require ALL PARTICIPANTS of legal age
or if a minor; a parent or legal guardian to read and sign an assumption
of Risk and Release of Liability waiver prior to starting the activity.

4. Passenger Safety Briefing: All parasail participants shall be required to
view a Parasail Safety Briefing video and/or be given a written Parasail
Safety Briefing handout. In addition, the crew shall give a pre-flight
verbal summary of the briefing before any parasail flight activities
commence, which should include the following:

A. A description of the activity itself.
B. Safety precautions while underway and in-flight.
C. Safety and life saving equipment locations.
D. Warnings and Procedures for unexpected events,
such as water
landings, equipment malfunctions, and towline separation.
E. Procedure in the event of an emergency onboard the vessel.
F. The proper use of signals.
G. Question and answer period.
H. Exclusion of any participant that may be afraid or intimidated prior to
participation.

5. Proximity to Obstructions. Wind restrictions: Operator should have a
wind measurement device and should not operate in winds exceeding 18
Kph. Operator shall at all times maintain a minimum operating distance
from any surf-zone, shoreline, or fixed object, of not less than 500 feet.
In addition, at no time shall a parasail vessel’s operator allow a canopy
to pass within the following distance from the shore while an onshore
wind is present. (Onshore wind shall be defined as any wind direction
that could potentially place a parasail vessel, canopy, or participant in
contact with land in the event of the loss of vessel or systems power
and/or line separation.).

6. Responsibility of Vessel Sea worthiness and tow vehicle road
worthiness: It shall be the responsibility of the first mate in charge to
make certain that the vessel is maintained and is properly equipped in a
sea worthy condition. A current written log shall be kept of all
mandatory daily inspections and all routine maintenance performed on
vessel. Under no circumstances shall the operator and/or crew utilize any
equipment outside the parameters for which it was designed and must at
all times adhere to manufacturers’ specifications, requirements and/or
recommendations. Similar conditions should apply for land based
parasailing vehicles.

7. Passenger Weight Restrictions: At no time shall a passenger be
allowed to participate in parasailing activities unless they meet the
manufacturers’ recommendations or requirements in terms of weight.
Passenger must be able to be comfortably and safely fitted into harness.

8. Towline Length Limitations: At no time
(a) shall any vessel’s winch drum be equipped with more than 500 feet
of towline, while conducting parasail flight operations. Similarly land
based operations should not use more than 500 feet of rope.
(b)Exceed a maximum of 300 feet AGL (Above Ground/ Water Level).

9. Minimum Age Requirements: Children may participate in parasailing
activities only after the operator has made reasonable prior judgment
that wind and sea conditions are conducive to such activities and
extreme caution should be exercised. Children under 12 are not to be
allowed.

10. Towline Inspection and Maintenance: Towline in its entirety shall be
inspected daily for damage and/or wear and if necessary shall be
immediately replaced. Towline shall be kept clean and maintained in
accordance with manufacturers’ specifications, requirements and/or
recommendations.. A written log of such inspections and maintenance
shall be kept at all times.

11. Pre-Flight Weather Evaluation: It is the operators responsibility to
evaluate and determine if weather conditions are favorable for
parasailing. He shall use all means available to make such a
determination. No operator shall knowingly parasail in rain, heavy fog
or during a known lighting storm within 50 km from the parasailing
area, in addition a daily weather log shall be maintained.

12. Multiple Passenger Flights: Multi-passenger flights shall only be
conducted under the following conditions and only after the operator has
made reasonable judgment prior to each and every flight. Extreme
caution shall be exercised:
a) At no time shall there be more than 2 passengers in any canopy.
b)Wind conditions must be adequate, stable and consistent.
c) Conditions must be conducive to such activities.
d)Commercial equipment specifically designed and professionally
manufactured for multi-passenger flight operations must be utilised.
e) All equipment must adhere to manufacturers’ specifications,
requirements and/or recommendations.
f) Vessel’s winch system must be equipped with a functional level-
winder during all multi-passenger flights.

ENFORCEMENT AGENCY

1. An ACCREDITATION COMMITTEE may be formed for operators and
outfitters in one or several activities. The constitution of this accreditation
committee should be as follows:(
a)
Chairman (Designated by Ministry of Tourism, Government of
India).
(b)
Members: Members must be proven specialists with actual
experience of adventure activities, who meet the minimum criteria
for guides and trip leaders.
Two members nominated by Adventure Tour Operators Association
of
India (ATOAI).

One member each nominated by National Institute of Water Sports
(NIWS) and the Indian Association of Professional Rafters
(IAPRO).

One member nominated by Parachuting Federation of India

One member nominated by Indian Mountaineering Foundation

2. The committee may also appoint examiners, in consultation with relevant
Adventure Trade Associations, who have proven experience in the activity to carry
out inspection of the operator’s facilities and certify compliance to safety
regulations. The appointed examiners must be individually capable of conducting
the activity independently and must themselves meet the minimum requirements
for trip leaders or instructors.
4. This committee will also be empowered to look into any complaint against
any adventure tour operator.
5. This committee may further keep upgrading the guidelines and safety
regulations, as and when required on a yearly basis.
6. This committee may also do training programmes/refresher courses and
coordinate any relevant issues impacting the smooth running of the adventure
activities in India.

LIST OF INSTITUTIONS

The suggested list of institutions whose certificates would be recognised as
guide or Trip leaders qualification for the specified activity are as follows :

Land based

1. Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Jawahar Parbat, Darjeeling.
2. Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi.
3. Western Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Manali.
4. Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering, Gulmarg.
5. Armed Forces Training Establishments (In respect of ex-servicemen).
6. Any other equivalent institution from abroad recognized nationally or
internationally.
Water based

1. National Institute of Water Sports, Goa.
2. Regional Water Sports Centre, Pong Dam, Himachal Pradesh.
3. Armed Forces Training Establishments (In respect of ex-servicemen).
4. Any other equivalent institution from abroad recognized nationally or
internationally.
Air based

1. Armed Forces Training Establishments (In respect of ex-servicemen).
2. Any other equivalent institution from abroad recognized nationally or
internationally.
Disclaimer: The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India would not be
responsible for any claims by clients of the approved Adventure Tour Operator.

Leave a Reply