Outdoor activity regulations and procedure

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An important part of scouting is an active engagement in outdoor activities by Scouts and Cubs, one of the things that makes scouts a unique organisation is that it facilitates opportunities for Cubs and Scouts to experience outdoors adventure with an element of risk or perceived danger.


It is the responsibility of the Scouter or senior Scout to ensure all safety precautions are adhered to and thought through whenever facilitating an outdoor activity away from the normal scout meeting place.

The minimum recommended party size for any activity is FOUR.

Permits for outdoor activities

Scouting activities should not endanger lives. Safe, adventurous activities require careful planning. An important elements of this planning is the principle of "one-level-up review" by a responsible adult. The principle of "one-level-up review" requires that all Scouting activities be approved by more "senior" adult as prescribed in the Schedule of Approvals.

This procedure applies to all Scouting activities that take place away from the Group headquarters, with the exception of wide games, orienteering activities and sports events like swimming galas that take place within the vicinity of the Group headquarters.

The purpose of this review is to ensure that the planning of the activity has been thorough and has taken into account all foreseeable risk factors and potential hazards, that the activity is within the capability of the participants and that someone not taking part in the activity is aware of and approves of all the arrangements.

Use the following scale to determine how you go about applying for a particular activity. Schedule of Approvals (PDF)

  1. "A-grade routes" are defined as those where no rock work is involved, (rock work implies the use of hands to assist in scrambling over rocks).
  2. In addition to the above approvals, specialist activities e.g. SCUBA diving, canoeing, etc. should be approved by somebody appropriately qualified.
  3. "Within 1 hour of human habitation" means that human habitation can be reached by members of the party within 1 hour, using the quickest means of travel that they will have readily available at their disposal whilst on the activity.

Permit application forms

These regulations and procedures should be read in conjunction with the Regional Hiking regulations in the case of hikes. Regional Headquarters co-ordinate the bookings for all Regional properties. Permits for use of facilities and land are in addition to, and not in place of, the "one-level-up" approval detailed above.

Withdrawal of permit

This approval may, and indeed should be, withdrawn on the day of the activity if the prevailing conditions merit this withdrawal. The Troop Scouter retains at all times the responsibility for ensuring that conditions at the commencement of the activity are suitable for the activity to proceed and that each participant is properly prepared and equipped.

Parent consent

The leader of each activity must ensure that proper parent consent is obtained for each activity. Where the activity is Scout-led, this fact must be emphasised and acknowledged in the consent form. Every planned activity should provide for an alternative plan – PLAN B. This will entail the options for alternatives and escape route in the event that the activity needs to be curtailed for any reason. In addition, PLAN C must always be a real option in the minds of Scouters, namely the option to cancel the activity entirely.

Incidents and injuries

Injured Scout on Scout hikes

In the event of someone being injured or hurt, the immediate action required is to protect the patient from further danger or injury, and First Aid applied as may be required. In the event of a member being injured to the extent that he is unable to continue to the destination, or if it could pose a risk for them to do so, then the emergency procedure must be followed.

At least one member of the party must stay with the patient, to look after them, and to help "bring in" any rescue to their location. At least another two members of the party should be sent to the closest point from where help can be summoned. They must be provided with full details of who the victim is, what injuries are suspected, what action you have taken, the first aid given, a precise description of the location (preferably marked on a map if possible), contact number of his parents, details of the other parents who may be affected by change in arrangements.

This must be communicated to the "Contact" person for the activity who is named on the Outdoor Activity application form, who is not on the hike and who is aware of the details of the route being undertaken by the Scouts.

Emergency procedure for incidents on Scout hikes

The only emergency procedure to be used for any incident on all Scout hikes – be it an overdue party (over 2 hours late with no sign of the party), injured person, help required to evacuate a hiking party or any other problem – is as follows:

The Regional Hike Advisor must be contacted immediately by the "Contact" person. The contact details, and deputies (in order of priority should the senior Regional Hike Advisor be unavailable) are as follows:

  1. Regional Hike Advisor
  2. APC – Scout Programme
  3.  Troop Scouter

They will then advise you as to what you should do. Have all the information pertaining to the hike ready, with regard to routes, leader, number in the party, ages of those in the hiking party, etc. If you get through to the Regional hike advisor's voice mail, please ensure that you leave all your contact details, before contacting the next advisor.

The Regional hike advisor may be busy with another call-out at the time you phone, and will get back to you as soon as possible. All the numbers are available 24 hours per day. Detailed information about the incident should be provided as soon as possible to the Regional Commissioner and APC Scout Programme.

Under no circumstances should Parents, Scouts or Scouters

  • Organize or initiate any rescues or searches without permission from the Regional Hike Advisor. If there are any costs incurred by such action, you will be personally and financially liable. (An Oryx helicopter costs in excess of R58 000 per hour to operate, the average minimum operation is 1½ hours!).
  • Report incidents to the Police, Metro, etc.
  • Make statements to the press or other media.

After discussing and executing instructions from the Regional Hike Advisor, it is only courteous to inform your District Commissioner and Group Scouter of the situation.

Following all emergency procedures a debriefing meeting with the hiking party and Scouter will be arranged as a matter of course. This will be coordinated by the Regional Hike Advisor to ensure that any inadequacies in procedures or problems can be addressed for the future safety of Scouts.



Western Cape