Outdoor recreation policy

Expeditioner on skates using sail on seaice
Who says you can't go sailing in Antarctica? (Photo F. Olivier)

All outdoor recreation activities require a minimum of station leader (SL) approval. Approval is subject to site conditions, experience, fitness, demonstrated current field competency as assessed by a field training officer and personal attributes.

Recreation activities

Recreational activities are a privilege and not a ‘right’. Operational activities take precedence over recreation at all times and as such the use of motorised transport is subject to operational requirements.

 Standard operating procedures must be followed. Where an activity is not covered fully by a standard operating procedure (SOP), a risk assessment must be completed prior to the commencement of the activity. Listed below are those standard activities endorsed for recreation: 

  • navigation
  • hiking
  • camping
  • cross country skiing
  • boating (See AAD Operations Manual Volume 7: Small Boat Standard Operating Procedures for requirements)
  • sled hauling

Other activities

Certain other activities may be permitted on presentation of documents to the station leader including:

  • A risk assessment completed specific to the location at which the activity will take place, the local conditions and time of the year
  • Certification from a competent and  appropriately qualified person that the equipment to be used is safe for use in Antarctic or subantarctic island conditions
  • Evidence that the proponent has sufficient skills and experience. When required by the station leader, these skills are to be demonstrated and assessed by the field training officer. The field training officer must deem the skills and qualifications sufficient for the proponent to participate in the proposed activity safely. If uncertain of an expeditioner’s claims, station leaders should seek advice from the Support & Coordination Manager.

These activities are:

  • glacier travel
  • mountaineering*
  • ice skating*
  • sled hauling with kite*
  • swimming.

* Primary equipment to be supplied by expeditioners.

Activities not mentioned

Recreational activities not mentioned in sections 1 and 2 of this policy must meet all requirements detailed above and must be approved by the Station leader, Support & Coordination Manager and when necessary (based on residual risk) the General Manager Support Centre.

Noting this requirement, there are certain outdoor activities that will not be permitted for recreation under any circumstance. These are:

  • flying (using equipment such as a gyrocopter, ultralight, parasail, paraglider or hangglider)
  • iceberg and ice cliff caving
  • iceberg and ice cliff climbing
  • recreational SCUBA diving
  • water skiing
  • windsurfing
  • sea kayaking
  • surfboard riding
  • rafting/ tubing in melt streams.
This page was last modified on 26 March 2012.