We’ve partnered with the Adventure Travel Trade Association, leaders in adventure travel, to provide safety recommendations and best practices to help you be prepared while on an ocean experience.
Choose an experience that works for you
Find out about health, fitness, or other requirements you’ll need to safely enjoy the experience. Make sure you’re clear on what skills are required, and ask the host if you have questions or concerns. Consider whether your ocean experience or adventure will involve being wet all day, or possibly exposed to conditions that might make you seasick. Feel free to ask how much time you’ll spend on each part of your activity, and what skills you should have.
In addition to reading the description of the experience, reading the guest reviews can also give you a good sense of what to expect. You should always feel free to message the host before booking with additional questions.
Also, let your host know about any medical concerns you have that may affect your participation or enjoyment (from food allergies to a heart condition). And make sure you're satisfied with your insurance coverage.
Know your host
Your host’s bio will be included in the description of the experience. You can message them at any time (before or after you book) to ask additional details, including things like their background in the activity you’ll be doing, their certifications or other qualifications, or how long they’ve been guiding in their location. Don’t be afraid to ask about anything that’s on your mind.
If you’ll be more than an hour away from medical care, you may want to find out what kind of medical training or certification your host has, such as a Wilderness First Responder (WFR), Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA), or CPR. You can also ask them about their safety evacuation plan in case of an emergency.
Make sure you know what the host is providing and what you need to bring yourself. For an ocean experience, this may include anything from a wetsuit (with the thickness depending on water temperature), a raincoat and bibs, food and water, a bag to carry your gear, and possible items to alleviate seasickness. Air and water temperature, the length of time you’ll be out, and sea conditions all influence what you’ll need.
Message your host to let them know about any special considerations you may have—medical or otherwise—and find out what specific accommodations can be made for you.
There may not be cell service where you’re going, so ask your host about this if it’s important for you to stay connected.
Once you arrive
Your host will give you an overview of what to expect. Feel free to ask any questions you have as they come up. Some examples of things you might want to ask, if the host hasn’t already covered them, include:
- Are there animals or plants that shouldn’t be touched, or that you should keep an eye out for?
- Are there places that shouldn’t be entered or paths that should be followed?
- Are there guidelines for how to interact with the local people?
Your host should also cover practical matters like access to water and restrooms, and when (or if) you’ll eat. At this point, you should make sure you have what you need to be comfortable for your entire experience on (or in) the water.
Check your gear
If your host is providing gear for your ocean experience, make sure it’s in good condition, fits properly, and is clean. This may include wetsuits and rain gear. Check that there are no holes in fabric or webbing, and that all buckles, straps, and snaps work. Check whatever vessel you’ll be using for any punctures or holes, and you can always ask about the quality of propulsion—this could be anything from paddles to engines.
If you’re doing something technical where the gear is new to you, such as SCUBA or sailing, ask about anything that looks old, worn, or broken.
Make sure your host has a comprehensive first aid kit, and a way to safely evacuate any guest who gets injured.
Know the conditions
Talk with your host about the range of conditions you’ll likely encounter, both above and below the surface of the water. Above the surface, conditions include temperature, precipitation, wind, storms and squalls, and wildlife. Below the surface, conditions include waves, currents, tides, swell, water temperature, floating hazards, underwater obstacles, and wildlife. Find out how you can best prepare for these conditions, as well as any other unexpected challenges.
Your host should provide you with a clear itinerary and let you know what kind of first aid supplies they have available, as well as what to do if you become lost or injured. When you’re at sea, some of the common concerns include rapidly changing tides and currents, unexpected weather changes and storms, and changing "sea state,"" where the swell, waves, and wind can make the water more dangerous. Illness and dehydration, from seasickness or otherwise, can also be prevented.
You can check in again to find out what kind of medical training or current certification your host has.
Remember, you are the best judge of your own capabilities. Trust your judgment, and if you ever feel uncomfortable, speak up.
We recommend that all guests and hosts engaging in an experience prepare an emergency plan in case of a natural disaster or any other kind of emergency that could occur during an experience. Find out more about making an emergency plan.
Airbnb provided trip protections
All experiences include 24/7 community support. We also maintain $1,000,000 USD of liability insurance under our Experience Protection Insurance program, in order to provide hosts and guests with peace of mind (certain exclusions apply). Additionally, in the event of a life-threatening injury, we also have partnered with an emergency medevac provider that may be activated to reach an injured party to support a medically necessary evacuation.
Leave a positive impact
Experiences on the ocean are a great opportunity to give back to the local environment and community. Ask your host about any local rules or etiquette of the communities or environments you’ll be visiting that you can follow in order to help create a great experience for everyone. You can also do your own research to find out about the local culture before your experience.
Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA): Courtesy of the Adventure Travel Trade Association. ©2019 Adventure Travel Trade Association. All rights reserved.
The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) name and logo are used with its permission, which in no way constitutes an endorsement or vetting of, express or implied, of any product, service, person, company, opinion or political position. The ATTA does not select or approve, and is not involved in the selection or approval of, Airbnb Experiences or hosts. For more information about the Adventure Travel Trade Association, visit adventuretravel.biz.
American Red Cross and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC): Courtesy of the American Red Cross and International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. ©2019 The American National Red Cross. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
The American Red Cross and International Federation of the Red Cross Red Crescent name and emblem are used with its permission, which in no way constitutes an endorsement, express or implied, of any product, service, company, opinion or political position. The American Red Cross logo is a registered trademark owned by The American National Red Cross. For more information about the American Red Cross, visit redcross.org.