SEASFiRE organises environmental education, marine science and media training programmes for young people, aged 14 and above. Expeditions for dive training and completing field research are key elements of these programmes. This policy sets out SEASFiRE’s general expectations and working practices for chaperoning expeditions. Each individual expedition can be tailored to the requirements of the group or school participating. Where an individual school or group requires chaperoning materially different to the policy as set out below, this must be approved at Board level.
Written Permission and Insurance
- Students must have written permission from their parents or guardian to participate in the expedition. Signed permission forms must be provided to either SEASFiRE or to the teacher/group leader working on the programme, and can be on SEASFiRE, school or group letterhead.
- Students are encouraged to carry their own travel insurance, which should cover scuba diving, snorkelling and other water sports. This should be set out in the permission letter/form.
SEASFiRE Expeditions vs School Field Trips
- If SEASFiRE trips are being completed as official school trips or as official youth group (e.g. scouting) activities, the school or group will provide SEASFiRE with copies of all relevant policies and procedures relating to such activities.
- SEASFiRE will adhere to all school and group policies of which it is so informed. If, for any reason, SEASFiRE does not believe it or a member of its staff will be able to comply with any element of such policies, it will immediately inform the school or group. Such notification will not be grounds for the school or group to cancel the trip.
Who Can Chaperone a SEASFiRE Expedition?
- All SEASFiRE field trips are to be chaperoned by SEASFiRE staff and at least one of the following, where available:
- Teachers from the school where the programme is running if they are involved in the delivery of the programme.
- Alternate teachers where teachers are either not involved in the running of the programme, or the lead teacher is unavailable.
- In the case of non-school programmes, an adult group leader, e.g. a Scouter with a Scout Troop
- Parents’ representative as decided by SEASFiRE or nominated by the parents of the students on the trip.
If no parents, teachers or group leaders are available, SEASFiRE will chaperone the trips independently.
- There should be at least one non-SEASFiRE chaperone on the trip for each 10 students involved in the programme. A lower ratio of non-SEASFiRE chaperones to students (e.g. 1 to 12) requires SEASFiRE board approval.
- Where possible, if there are male and female students on the expedition, there should be male and female chaperones.
What Does a Chaperone Do?
- Chaperones are responsible for the health and safety of the students on the trip, and they should be aware of where the students are or be able to contact them at all times. This responsibility commences upon leaving the central meeting place from where the students will embark for the expedition and ends upon their return.
- Chaperones will travel with the students to the island or base from which the trip activities are to take place. Where appropriate, chaperones will participate in dive training or other activities as set out in the trip schedule.
- Students will be “counted on” and “counted off” all buses, boats, and other transportation.
- Chaperones will check for student valuables following disembarkation, but will bear no responsibility for lost property.
- Chaperones are expected to model appropriate verbal and physical conduct at all times during the expeditions.
- Chaperones (SEASFiRE and non-SEASFiRE) will share responsibilities throughout the trip. The division of responsibilities is to be worked out at least 2 weeks in advance of the trips.
- A Head Chaperone will be appointed. In the case of an official school trip, this will be the teacher or staff member so designated by the school. Otherwise, the identity of the Head Chaperone will be confirmed at least 2 weeks in advance of the trip.
- The Head Chaperone will
- ensure that all chaperones are aware of the individual responsibilities they hold,
- retain copies of all signed permission forms from parents,
- be responsible for dealing with any issues with students that require escalation,
- hold emergency contact details for all students and staff participating in the trip. Any incidents are to be reported to parents and to the SEASFiRE board as soon as possible.
- keep Chaperones informed of trip logistics, with as detailed a schedule as possible for each day’s activities, including:
- Departure and arrival times for all travel
- Details for all dives and other activities happening during the trip.
- Procedures to follow in the case of emergency
- Where we have been made aware, SEASFiRE will notify the Head Chaperone of any medical and dietary requirements the students have, including medications.
- In the event that a Chaperone cannot fulfil their obligations for any reason, they must notify the Head Chaperone without delay.
- All students are to be in bed and accounted for with lights off by 10 pm unless otherwise agreed in advance of the trip by SEASFiRE, the Head Chaperone and the parents or guardians of the students on the expedition.
- After the expedition, Chaperones should attend a debrief, reviewing the expedition and noting any learning that should be passed on for future expeditions.
What Shouldn’t a Chaperone Do?
- Chaperones should not drink alcohol or smoke tobacco in front of the students.
- Chaperones are not to take illicit drugs or drink excessive amounts of alcohol during any trip. PADI recommends that anyone diving avoids alcohol for 12 hours before and 12 hours after diving. Smoking tobacco has been identified as a risk factor for Decompression Sickness (DCS)
- Chaperones are not to share rooms with students or to engage in any inappropriate behaviour.