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, creating structure around them 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 is all about hands-on learning, our staff emphasize 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 agreement contract
  • 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. The cost of the membership is $50 for 17 and 21-day Voyages.

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 students and their families will appreciate the value of International SOS’s services along with the peace of mind that this resource brings. Before and throughout the voyage, our staff and students 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.

Remote Medical Care

While on an ActionQuest program, students have access to remote emergency & routine medical advice and coordination through International SOS assistance centers. As part of AQ’s incident response system, staff, students, and parents can speak directly with International SOS physicians in deciding the appropriate response to medical incidents both small and large.

Before the program, families can refer to International SOS for information on the specific locations they will travel. With your member login, the International SOS website and mobile application can provide insight on vaccination requirements, passport and visa requirements, advice on in-country healthcare and health concerns, hygiene, dietary concerns, currency, and even cultural considerations.

Medical Administrative Assistance & Coverage

Included with International SOS membership are referrals and office hours for physicians, hospitals, clinics, and dental clinics within the host country. Through the extensive network of International SOS assistance centers, ActionQuest participants receive assistance in arranging appointments, emergency translation services, and assistance with documentation and administrative correspondence. Through the mobile device, International SOS members are only one click away from the nearest assistance center.

Global Evacuation Coordination and Coverage

International SOS is a world-leading provider of medical and security service. In addition to remotely monitoring developing medical and security situations, assistance centers have the ability to dispatch medication and supplies. ActionQuest participants are covered by International SOS’s infrastructure should the unlikely need arise for emergency evacuation or repatriation. Many ActionQuest itineraries take our students and staff off the beaten path and away from adequate medical facilities. In the worst case scenario, the International SOS emergency evacuation service gives ActionQuest staff, participants, and families peace of mind.

Assistance Center Online and Mobile Application Access

ActionQuest students should be knowledgable about the locations they hope to visit in determining which program is right for them. With your International SOS membership number, you will be able to log into www.internaionalsos.com for access to pertinent information before and during your trip. For specific questions, GoBeyond participants can call and speak directly with International SOS experts for personal assistance on medical and vaccination information; visa, passport, and travel document acquisition; security information and legal assistance; culture and customs considerations; personal safety and packing advice; and referrals to additional resources.

“I can honestly say that not one detail was left for question. We felt clear on everything. You are a well oiled machine and you exceeded our expectations. We are so pleased. Our daughter felt safe, had a blast, and has come home with the passion of diving. She has never done any camp before and was overjoyed, confident, and wants to pursue diving to a higher level. She will be back! Our sincere thanks!”

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! Carmela got an ear infection on the trip and staff contacted me immediately when they took her into the clinic to get an antibiotic and she was able to get back to diving in 3 days! This year Carmela expressed that there was more fruits/veggies which she loved!”

KIM P. - PHOENIX, AZ

“Action Quest will forever be our daughter's childhood memory. Every year has been amazing for her. Diving is her passion and we greatly appreciate everything the AQ programs have done for her. It's an experience that is so far beyond anything we could have come up with. Just being with her peers. I do tend to be a worrier but with AQ I know she is well taken care of in any situation. She has been going for many years and it's simply a life changing experience for her.”

LAURA D. - ST. SIMONS ISLAND, GA

“We cannot speak highly enough about the ActionQuest programme. This is an outstanding experience for teenagers. It is run with the highest standards of professionalism whilst offering an environment where young students learn responsibility for themselves and others, gain professional qualifications and all whilst living in paradise and having the time of their lives. Our son was 17 when he first went, and made lasting friendships, wished he had known about ActionQuest earlier and said this was without doubt, the best experience he had ever had during his summer vacation. 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