Water Safety – Competence and Qualifications

BSUPA Conference 2023

Anni Ridsdill Smith, BSUPA Director and Trainer interviews Tim Morton from Adventure Risk Management services as part of the BSUPA conference and discusses safety in the adventure sports environment. We are fortunate to have the license to publish this video interview for 3 months and encourage you to watch it and reflect on your safety obligations as an instructor and / or manager.

Please note the video interview has now been removed due to a licensing requirement. We appreciate your understanding.


Anni Ridsdill Smith, BSUPA Director and Trainer interviews Tim Morton, Head of Service at Adventure RMS, as part of the BSUPA 2023 Instructor Revalidation Conference & AGM. We’d like to thank Tim very much for his ongoing support of the Association and our popular annual conferences.

Competence and Qualifications

A key focus of the interview is water safety in the context of competence of individuals leading the activities at each level of responsibility – employers and employees / trainers and managers.

And this focus includes the distinction between the individual’s competence and the individual’s qualifications. Specifically that qualifications owned by individuals does not necessarily imply competence.

Questions that trainers and organisers should be asking include (and are not limited to):

  • Do I have the right qualifications for this task AND am I competetent for this task.
  • Do the people working for me both have qualifications necessary and the competence to deal with possible outcomes.
  • What could the weather / environmental conditions be like at a venue that either yourself or your team are visiting and how could this impact safety?
  • Would your team be able to know how to react to different weather /water states at your chosen venue?
  • Do you and your team have the confidence to make the call to cancel an event if the conditions look unsafe, and are the structure in place to encourage and re-inforce these necessary judgement calls?
  • Do I have a well documented safety structure and guidance that I can provide for myself and those working for me that closely fits the need of my organisation?

For more information related to safety management and for question and answers related to these topics: