The Department’s weather policy ensures that outdoor recreation is both safe and manageable in variable weather conditions.
We understand that some participants in our programs are not used to being active in outdoor environments, however as we deliver outdoor recreation programs we are affected by changing weather conditions.
The experiences presented by wintery conditions can add an extra element of challenge to groups participating in outdoor recreation activities and instructors will encourage groups to work through the weather if it does not pose a safety hazard or impair the outcomes of the program.
If the forecast is rain, but no lightning, nor is it deemed to be dangerous to the conduction of that activity, outdoor programs will go ahead.
The Adventure Activity Standards for Western Australia require that contingency plans for forecast/foreseeable weather conditions are in place.
We recommend that participants wear appropriate clothing for the weather conditions, and have wet and warm clothing on hand if required. The wearing of hats and long clothing to protect from the sun is strongly recommended. Water bottles are required for many programs away from camp facilities and individual water bottles are recommended for all participants during hot weather.
Whilst it may be tempting to wear thongs or sandals during hot weather, for all land based activities, enclosed shoes must be worn as a safety prerequisite.
Activity during hot weather – hydration
It's important to keep up fluid intake to replace what the body will lose through perspiration as well as wear proper sun protection and loose-fitting clothing.
Children are at a greater risk of heat illness and when the ambient temperature gets above 34 degrees programs may be modified or cancelled in the event of extreme temperatures.
Paddling and other aquatic programs
In keeping with Australian Canoeing safety standards, in wind conditions above 18 knots a paddling program will be relocated, amended or cancelled. Where possible the camp will utilise land features as a wind break or amend the program to maintain safety e.g. restrict numbers of participants utilising craft at a single time rather than cancel a program outright.
Regular use of high protection factor sunscreen on all exposed areas is required for UV protection.
Participants are encouraged to wear wide brim hats to provide 360 degree protection and high protection lip balm.
Eye protection from solar UV radiation is recommended e.g. appropriate sunglasses.
A change of clothing is required for participants at completion of all aquatic programs.
Cancellation of event
In the event of strong winds, heavy rain, hail, lightning, hot weather above 34 degrees being prevalent, the camp may cancel or amend the program in consultation with the client and with no financial penalty.
Additional considerations may include wave and water conditions, wind direction and speed, exposure of site and availability of support vessels for aquatic programs.
Clients may choose to cancel programs if they are unhappy with the weather conditions on the day - however this may result in a loss of deposit.
The Department has a lightning safety plan. This plan is designed to ensure safety of clients and staff during thunderstorm activity.
The rule for assessing the risk is known as the 30/30 rule. For every three second delay between a lightning flash and audible thunder associated with the flash equates to a distance of approximately one kilometre.
When lightning is within 10km, therefore 30 seconds between the ‘flash and bang', it is recognised as an approaching risk and the camp should prepare to move people to safe areas.
All people should be within safe areas when the lightening is within 5km, therefore 15 seconds between ‘flash and bang'.
Events may cease up to 30 minutes after the last lighting or thunder event before re-commencing.