Managing risk is a key part of any AQ Adventure.

Our activities are adventurous; so to say that there are no risks would be misleading.

The very nature of our teen summer trips is designed to encourage students to overcome challenges while living together in an unfamiliar environment and developing new skills and abilities. Many of the risks that exist are inherent, so can’t be eliminated without destroying the unique character of the activities themselves. However, awareness of these inherent risks is the key to minimizing them. We promote summer camp safety by creating structure around the inherent risks to mitigate and reduce them in appropriate ways.

Our partners in risk management

You

It’s our view that risk management is a partnership between all parties and a process that should start before even enrolling in the program. Learn More…

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International SOS

International SOS® (Intl. SOS) is the world’s leading medical and security risk services company. With over 11,000 employees, led by 5,200 medical professionals International SOS is in the business of saving and protecting lives from more than 1,000 locations in 90 countries. Learn More…

Ways that we mitigate risk

Program Design & Structure

Risk management is naturally an important consideration when planning and running any of our teen summer trips. Since AQ teen trips are all about hands-on learning, our staff emphasizes risk management, passing these important elements on to their team. Throughout the voyage, students learn risk mitigating procedures and this learning is reinforced through practical application, as students demonstrate risk management practices during everyday activities. Through repetition, simple precautions become second nature.

Staff Experience

Our staff plays an integral role in the overall success of the experience. Our core staff work with us year-round as educators and instructors helping to maintain a consistent level of instruction and oversight on our larger teen summer trips.

Small Groups within a Flotilla

For those new to sailing, we typically recommend our BVI programs, because yachts sail as part of a group or ‘flotilla’. Sailing and socializing within a larger group is a lot of fun and traveling this way also offers significant risk management advantages. We may have as many as 40 staff in one place at the same time, allowing our students to interact and learn from a large number of highly trained teachers and role models throughout our teen summer trips. Back-up support is always available with Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics close at hand. Additionally, it allows ActionQuest Director, Mike Meighan, to be present full-time to interact with students and staff and to ensure our high standards are upheld on all of our teen summer trips.

Personal Flotation Devices (PFD)

Whether aboard our larger sailing vessels or our smaller dinghies, wearing a PFD is a must when underway. The decision to wear a PFD is simple common sense. Risk management is as critical in times of blue skies and calm seas as it is in rough weather. The US Sailing Association, the national governing body for sailing, requires all crew to wear a US Coast Guard approved PFD whenever training vessels for youth are in motion. AQ instituted this procedure years before the regulation went into effect, and with good reason.

Staff Supervision

AQ staff live full-time with their students and much of our success comes from the strong working friendships that form as a result. Staff and students are truly on an expedition together. At times and locations deemed appropriate by the AQ Director, students have free time to explore ashore in small groups, yet for the most part our staff are with their team to lead and guide.

Sun Safety

AQ recognizes that sun safety is critical as we spend a lot of time outside during our programs. There are biminis (awnings) covering the cockpits of all our vessels, yet overexposure is still a concern and something we take seriously. Our staff set the example through good practices, while educating and monitoring their students on all of our teen summer trips.

What we expect from you

Parent & Student Responsibility

It’s our view that risk management is a partnership between all parties and a process that should start before even enrolling in the program.

Parents, you know your children best, so it’s important to learn as much as you can about the AQ experience so you can make an informed decision as to whether our program is a good fit at this stage of your child’s development.

Through experience, we know that each student has his or her own personal comfort zone. Whether related to immersing themselves in a new social environment, trying new activities or even tasting new foods, we are all a little different. Our goal is to create a challenging yet physically and emotionally safe environment for our students, yet the AQ experience is not necessarily for everyone.

Most AQ experiences are spent exclusively aboard a sailing vessel and the health and well-being of our students are top priorities. While most Adventures are only moderately physically challenging, all programs are designed to provide an intense emotional and interpersonal experience. Students are sometimes asked to do things they may not believe they are capable of doing. Part of our risk management process is to develop confidence that these activities can be accomplished. This confidence is based on our 40 years of experience and the skills of our instructors along with the measured expectation that the student is fully committed to working hard, taking responsibility for him or her self to work effectively in the group to achieve the goals of the program. We expect the following from our students on all of our teen summer trips:

Display Appropriate Behavior

  • Follow the conduct guidelines as laid out in the AQ Student Code of Conduct Agreement
  • Work effectively as a member of a team despite potentially stressful and difficult conditions. This may require problem-solving on an interpersonal or group level as well as a willingness to accept differences.
  • Contribute to a safe learning environment—no inappropriate verbal or physical behavior toward others is tolerated for any reason.
  • Be able to willingly and equally share responsibility with crew mates in daily group tasks. Each student may not do an equal share each day, but over a period of several days, each student should do a proportionate share. All students are learning the skills and being challenged by the conditions and activities; there can be no expectation that any other student will be able to continually assume a greater share of the work or that an instructor can continually focus a greater share of his/her energy and time on one student.
  • Effectively communicate ideas and concerns on an individual and group level.
  • Have the cognitive ability to learn necessary skills given normal time limitations of an AQ experience.

Review our complete eligibility criteria

Personal Safety & Good Judgement

  • Be able to stay alert and to focus attention for up to several hours at a time while attending classes, or receiving instructions.
  • If taking prescription medications, be able to maintain proper dosage by self-medicating without assistance from instructors or others (unless otherwise discussed with ActionQuest).
  • Be able to effectively signal or notify instructors or other student crewmembers of personal distress, injury, or need for assistance.
  • Recall and understand hazards and risks previously explained by instructors.
  • Be able to independently identify and recognize obvious hazards, such as rough water, collision hazards, purposely capsizing sailing dinghies and other risks associated with the marine environment.
  • Recognize and understand the hazards and risks posed by other crew members, which include, but are not limited to, fatigue, state of mind, and actions that may influence judgment and decision-making.
  • Be able to effectively alert and warn others of potential or impending dangers such as broken equipment, shifting wind or sea states or other environmental hazards.
  • Act responsibly around above-stated hazards to minimize risk even when not directly supervised.

Review our complete eligibility criteria

Understand The Inherent Risks

Many of the risks that exist during an ActionQuest Adventure are inherent to international travel and the adventure activities in which we participate. Most can’t be eliminated without destroying the unique character of the program and the activities themselves. Take a moment to download a copy of both our Declaration of Risk and Liability Release as we believe that reviewing and discussing ways to mitigate personal risk as a family is important to do before committing to join an AQ program.

International SOS - Worldwide Reach, Human Touch.

Our Risk Management Partner

We work with International SOS to provide integrated medical support for the remote environments throughout which we travel.

International SOS is a US-based company with an international footprint. Through a single point of contact, International SOS Membership extends us world-class medical advice, security services, and evacuation coordination anywhere in the world.

Because we want to be prepared for every scenario, we facilitate International SOS membership for every ActionQuest student. A critical piece of this plan is that International SOS membership also provides 24/7 access to a robust network of doctors and security services both before and during the trip.

Who is International SOS?

International SOS is the world’s leading provider of medical, security, emotional support, and logistical expertise for international travelers. As part of ActionQuest’s ongoing commitment to the safety of our participants, we have partnered with International SOS to keep our participants healthy, safe, and secure during their time with us.

Traveling internationally comes with inherent risks. No matter the problem, International SOS will coordinate any medical, security, or evacuation needs when ActionQuest participants or staff require them. Their global assistance centers have vetted medical facilities all over the world and have access to resources to aid in an emergency. So if an ActionQuest participant requires evacuation from a sailing vessel in the Caribbean, loses their medication in the Australian rainforest or needs to speak with a doctor offshore – International SOS is there to support them 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, anywhere in the world.

What are the benefits of an International SOS Membership?

Before and throughout the trip, our staff and participants can access International SOS medical or security staff anytime by phone, email or through their app. International SOS thoroughly understand the complexities of medical care in remote settings and radically improves the quality of our onsite medical care.

How do I use my International SOS membership before travel?

International SOS prepares you before you travel by providing on-call access to experts that can help you become informed about the places you’ll be traveling. Specifically, your membership entitles you to medical information, security assistance, and any precautions you can take before going abroad. Here’s some of the information International SOS can advise you on before your program:

By phone or by email:
  • Medical Information
  • Vaccination Advice
  • Security Information
  • Transportation & Accomodation Considerations
  • Cultural Considerations
  • Visa and Passport Information and Assistance
Online:
  • Specific information on countries and large cities
  • Level and types of risks
  • Local customs and political considerations
  • Practical considerations like communications and currency
How do I use my International SOS membership while traveling?

Through ActionQuest Staff, participants will have access to all of the professional medical and security expertise that comes with an International SOS membership. If a participant has a medical concern they should check with their staff members who’ll determine the best course of action. When appropriate, they will contact International SOS doctors who will advise on treatment and refer to one of their previously vetted medical facilities if necessary.

While traveling GXG groups will have access to:
  • Medical and emergency advice including referrals to doctors and specialists all over the world.
  • Coordination and verification of treatment with the treating practitioner.
  • Guaranteed payment of medical expenses provided for in your health insurance contract.
  • Email alert in the event of a health or security risk develops in a country.
  • Assistance in the event a passport or other official document is lost or stolen.
  • Referral to vetted security and medical service providers.
In the event of an emergency:
  • Emergency medical evacuation/repatriation.
  • Compassionate visit and family travel assistance.
  • Hospital follow-up, control of healthcare expenses.
  • Recommendations in the event of an emergency or critical event.
  • Organization of the evacuation and repatriation by our teams of in-field expert, through to the final destination.

What does my international SOS membership cost?

Because we want to be prepared for every scenario, we facilitate International SOS membership for every ActionQuest participant. We will add the membership fee as a separate item on your tuition invoice, and prior to the program, we’ll send all of your International SOS membership details. While we understand that this is an additional fee, we believe our participants and their families will appreciate the value of International SOS’s services along with the peace of mind that this resource brings. The cost of the membership is:

  • $35 per student for Adventures up to 14-days.
  • $50 per student for 17 and 21-day Adventures.
  • $75 per student for 40 and 50-day Adventures.

Does International SOS membership cover medical expenses?

No, International SOS is not a medical insurance provider so will not pay for medical treatment expenses. International SOS is the world’s leading provider of medical, security, emotional support, and logistical expertise for international travelers so our partnership covers the cost of these services including up to $1,000,000 coverage for medical, sickness or security-related evacuation expenses and coordination fees.

That said, as part of their service, International SOS will guarantee payment to medical care providers in order to begin necessary treatment. They do this because many countries around the world have medical systems that require upfront payment before treatment, even in an emergency. International SOS will guarantee and pay up-front costs associated with their medical care to ensure you receive immediate treatment. Ultimately, the participant and/or their family are responsible for paying for medical treatment rendered. For this reason, all ActionQuest participants are required to have comprehensive medical insurance coverage prior to traveling overseas with us. While some domestic insurance policies provide coverage while overseas, many do not, and those that do often prohibit some of the more adventurous activities included in our programs. We suggest that you check with your insurance provider on what is and is not covered while traveling with us, then determine whether purchasing an additional short term international policy is a prudent decision.

ActionQuest Participants from the U.S. or Canada:

During the enrollment application process, parents have the opportunity to select an insurance policy through TripMate. This policy covers program tuition, airline tickets, and up to $25,000 of international medical insurance. TripMate or a similar travel insurance plan can help fill gaps between your domestic medical insurance policy and International SOS membership. Go to www.actionquest.com/trip-insurance/ to learn more about TripMate insurance.

ActionQuest Participants from outside the U.S. or Canada:

For students who are residents of countries other than the U.S. or Canada, Abroad Insurance offers a policy with medical and tuition coverage. In addition to coverage of trip cancellation or interruption, this policy offers up to $100,000 of international medical insurance. Since ActionQuest cannot purchase this plan on behalf of the participant, it must be purchased directly from Abroad Insurance. Go to www.actionquest.com/trip-insurance/ to learn more about Abroad insurance.

What information do I need before calling International SOS?

Your International SOS membership is automatically activated once you are confirmed on any ActionQuest program. Once enrolled, you will receive your membership number along with a digital copy of the ActionQuest International SOS membership card with all the information you’ll need for assistance. The membership number is all that is required to access International SOS by phone, through the International SOS website, and/or mobile application. We highly recommend looking into the information available online and downloading the mobile application at http://app.internationalsos.com or your App store before calling an assistance center. Participants will receive a physical copy of their membership card to carry while they are on an ActionQuest program.

How does International SOS assist with evacuations?

International SOS is the world’s leading medical and security services company and all ActionQuest participants have access to their global response network. Through their 27 assistance centers, International SOS operates from over 850 sites in 70 countries with 1,400 physicians and 200 security specialists on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Not only does International SOS have the ability to coordinate and support evacuation services almost anywhere in the world but through ActionQuest, International SOS will pay up to $1,000,000 for emergency evacuation expenses as well. Whether for medical reasons, inclement weather, or security threats – International SOS can coordinate professional evacuation services at any point.

Who do I contact with questions about International SOS?

For clarification on what’s available through your International SOS membership, feel free to call into the ActionQuest office or email Info@ActionQuest.com with any questions.

“I can honestly say that not one detail was left for question. We felt clear on everything and you exceeded our expectations. Our daughter felt safe, had a blast, and has come home with the passion of diving.”

CARL L. - UPPERVILLE, VA

“The program changes the teens in a positive manner. We found them to be more independent, helpful and ready to face new challenges. The friendships that they made and the memories they cherish are life changing!”

KIM P. - PHOENIX, AZ

“ActionQuest will forever be our daughter's childhood memory. Every year has been amazing for her. I do tend to be a worrier but with AQ I know she is well taken care of in any situation. It's simply a life changing experience for her.”

LAURA D. - ST. SIMONS ISLAND, GA

“We cannot speak highly enough about the ActionQuest program. This is an outstanding experience for teenagers. This is a well planned, well executed and detailed expedition with every consideration for the welfare and health, (mentally and physically) of the young adult.”

CARL G. - READING, UNITED KINGDOM