Windsurfing (referred to previously as sailboarding) is a unique activity allowing participants to travel on a small board powered by the action of wind on a single sail connected to the board by a flexible joint.

Steering is achieved by the movement of the mast and sail.


Open waters include:

  • Coastal offshore - all waters greater than two nautical miles from the coast. Heading offshore is a serious undertaking and operators must ensure they are properly prepared. Additional safety equipment ensures that operators have a means of raising the alarm in the event of an emergency. This equipment will provide an increased level of safety for all vessels heading offshore.
  • Coastal inshore - all waters along the Victorian coast within two nautical miles.

Inland waters include:

Locations are as described by Transport Safety Victoria - Maritime Safety


Water environment

Water environments are subject to a wide range of environmental conditions. Windsurfing activities may be affected by conditions such as size and turbidity of the body of water, the strength of tides and currents, the presence and power of waves, and the temperature of the water.


Due to the unique nature of each location, a specific assessment of suitability should be made prior to the trip.

Your choice of location should be based upon the recent and first-hand knowledge of at least one member of the planning and supervising staff. Where this is impractical, planning and supervising staff should be thoroughly familiar with the general characteristics and conditions found in similar locations, and have consulted with people who can supply recent and first-hand knowledge of the locations being considered.

When assessing the suitability of a location, consider:

  • the potential to support your educational objectives
  • the level of access to the resources, services and facilities that you need or would like to use. These might include campsites, water, walking trails, toilets, shelter from extreme weather, or interpretive information
  • the level of access to communications and external assistance, in the event of an emergency, or extreme weather conditions. The more effectively remote your location is, then the more self-contained and self–reliant your group must be
  • the potential exposure to environmental hazards and difficulties
  • the activity ability and fitness of students.

Contact with relevant authorities should be made in order to access up-to-date management information and to determine any access and permit requirements.

These authorities may include:

Groups need to be aware that extreme weather conditions may develop prior to or during the proposed trip. Staff should be prepared to cancel, modify or relocate the activity at any time.


Your communication strategy should enable you to receive weather forecasts and warnings, communicate with the school, and engage support in the case of an incident or emergency.

  • Choose communication equipment based on current communication technology.
  • Develop a communication strategy for the group during the program and to enable communication with outside parties including the school and emergency services.
  • Be aware of the limitations of your communication strategy.

Check the weather forecast for the location in the days leading up to the program and on the day the program commences. If the program extends overnight, monitor and assess the weather throughout and based on that information access daily weather forecasts and warnings.

Weather conditions can change rapidly. Monitor and assess the weather throughout the activity and be prepared to cancel, modify or relocate at any time.

Weather warning telephone services:

  • Coastal, Land Weather and Flood Warnings: 1300 659 217
  • Full State Telephone Weather Service: 1900 955 363 (call charge applies)
  • Victorian Bushfire Information Line: 1800 240 667

These telephone numbers may be useful to have available on your program.

Web links:


The transportation of groups to and from activity locations must be carefully considered.

Vehicles used to transport students must comply with VicRoads registration requirements.

  • Drivers must comply with all licensing requirements.
  • Equipment carried inside vehicles must be securely stowed.
  • Students must be supervised by a minimum of one adult, in addition to the driver, during travel.

Drivers of vehicles with up to and including 12 seats (including the driver) require a current drivers license.

Drivers of vehicles with 13 or more seats (including the driver) require a current license appropriate for the vehicle and must:

In circumstances where a teacher or staff member is to drive a vehicle transporting students, the program should allow for them to have adequate rest prior to driving consistent with the national driving hours regulations.


Student skills

Windsurfing requires a reasonable degree of physical strength. It is not recommended for students under the age of 10.Planning for activities should begin with an assessment of students’ current knowledge, skills and experience in windsurfing.

First time participants and beginners must undertake lessons to receive competent instruction in basic skills taking into account factors such as activity area conditions, weather, body of water and the progress of students.

Instructional staff must brief students on:

  • equipment, clothing and footwear that is suitable for the activity and location
  • safety measures appropriate to control risks associated with the activity and the environment
  • minimal environmental impact techniques relevant to the activity and location
  • historical and cultural considerations relevant to the activity and location
  • activity scope and boundaries
  • communication and communication signals
  • relevant terminology.

Preparation should also include supporting the mental health and well-being of students. This is as important as physical preparation.

For more information, see: Excursion Support Student Preparation Section.


Equipment must be in a safe condition and suitable for the activity.

First aid kits

First aid kits appropriate to the location and the level of training must be carried.


Large, wide, buoyant and laterally stable sailboards, with good traction for the feet, are suitable for beginners. Beginners’ boards should have the foot straps removed.

A range of sail sizes is useful. Small, light students learn more easily with a small sail.

Boards should have the following features:

  • be fitted with a towing eye or fitting with an internal diameter of not less than 38 mm, or, if this is not practical, towing should be accomplished by passing a line through the centre case or around the mast step
  • be fitted with a friction device to maintain the centreboard in the case or a line to attach the centreboard to the hull
  • be rigged so that for towing or self-rescue each standing rig should be capable of being stowed and secured in a compact manner longitudinally on the hull (allowing the crew to be unimpeded while controlling the board under tow, or while paddling in the prone position).

A repair tool kit appropriate for the sailboards being used should be available at the venue.


The use of any form of seat harness is not recommended until students can sail confidently. Harness lines must be removed before use by students.


Helmets may be provided to students participating in a windsurfing activity at the discretion of the instructor after consideration of the wind and weather conditions, characteristics of the location and students’ windsurfing experience and skill level.

Helmets specifically designed for water activities must comply with the following safety characteristics of lightweight protective helmets:

  • holes to allow for water drainage
  • adjustable chin strap
  • hard outer shell
  • firm fit, either by use of an adjustable harness securely attached to the helmet or a fixed helmet in a range of sizes
  • either foam padded or constructed with a suspension harness
  • capacity to float.

Life jackets

The wearing of a securely fitted Australian certified life jacket is required under Victorian marine safety law on all craft that are underway on all Victorian waters. Students and staff must wear, as a minimum, a securely fitted Australian Standard Type 2 lifejackets in all waters. For more information, see Life jacket laws.

Rescue craft

Rescue craft appropriate to the location and in good working condition must be readily available during any windsurfing activity for rescue and towing purposes.

Individuals in the rescue craft must wear an Australian Standard Type 1 personal flotation device. Powered rescue craft must comply with the minimum safety equipment listed in the Recreational Boating Safety Handbook, see: Transport Safety Victoria.


Clothing is the individual’s primary protection against extreme and variable weather conditions. Clothing lists need to be appropriate for the activity, the environment and the season.

Participants must dress in a manner that will not hinder flotation. For example, heavy boots or bulky clothing must not be worn, nor a waterproof jacket over the top of a personal flotation device.

Participants must wear footwear when participating in windsurfing. Glasses should be secured in some way and no loose jewellery worn. Wearing rings is not advised unless they are taped.

A complete change of clothes should be available at the location.

To protect against sunburn use broad-spectrum, water-resistant SPF 30+ sunscreen on all exposed parts of the body, applied according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Use sunglasses and seek shade. Further information can be found at SunSmart.

Sun Protection is required when the UV Index is above 3. For further information see Sun and UV Protection.


Staff and students must be easily identifiable.

Staff must determine the most suitable system/s of identification, based on the assessment of the environment, students’ skills, the type of activities to be undertaken and the age and number of students.



Staff members are those adults who provide the supervisory, instructional and educational elements of the program. All staff members must be approved by the principal.

All staff members must comply with current Departmental police check requirements or the Working with Children Check.

A teacher registered with the Victorian Institute of Teaching and either employed by the Department or the school council must be present and have overall responsibility for the activity.

Where not directly responsible for the instruction of the activity or assisting the instructor, the teacher present must understand the activity and the environment in which it will be conducted. This teacher must confer with the designated instructor about the supervisory role and establish areas of responsibility. If the teacher is not the designated instructor he/she is to act on the advice of the designated instructor on technical safety issues.

Any staff member with a known medical condition that might compromise the group’s risk management plan should make accompanying staff aware of this condition. Issues of confidentiality and privacy will apply to any such disclosure.

Experience and qualifications

Staff involved in the planning and conduct of the activity should have sufficient knowledge and experience of the activity and the activity environment to operate in all foreseeable conditions.

The designated windsurfing instructor/s must have one of the following:

  • Windsurfing Instructor certificate from Australian Sailing, see Australian Sailing - Windsurfing Instructor
  • equivalent documented training and experience from another training provider or education institution
  • equivalent documented experience in lieu of certification/accreditation.

The designated assistant to the instructor must:

  • have experience in the activity at the level being offered to students
  • be familiar with the requirements of the activity
  • be able to assume a supervisory role during the activity
  • have the ability to participate competently in emergency response procedures
  • have conferred with the instructor on the safety requirements of this role.

The staff member responsible for the rescue craft (which must be present at the activity) must hold a Marine Licence. For more information see: Transport Safety Victoria - Marine Licence

Documentation of Staff Qualifications and Experience (doc - 151kb) can be used to document staff qualifications/experience in lieu of qualifications.

Where an external contractor is chosen to run all or part of this activity, see: Roles and responsibilities, External Providers.


Supervision is a critical factor in managing risk in the outdoors.

A minimum of two staff members must be present for each activity, one with responsibility for activity instruction and the other able to assist the instructor.

The following table shows the minimum staff-to-student ratios that must be used for windsurfing.

(Note: students not directly involved in windsurfing, must be supervised separately with a minimum staff student ratio of 1 to 10.)

Staff numbersStudent numbers





1 - 6

7 - 9

10 - 12





1 - 10

11 - 15

16 - 20

It may be necessary to increase the number of staff allocated based on:

  • age, maturity and gender of students
  • ability and experience of students
  • individual needs
  • group dynamics of the student group
  • experience, qualifications and skills of staff
  • location conditions.

Reasons for increasing staff allocations must be documented.

The teacher in charge is responsible for the supervision strategy, which must be endorsed by the principal as part of the excursion approval process. Staff members will supervise students according to that strategy.

Informed consent

The school must receive informed consent from parents or guardians that their child may participate in adventure activities.

Informed consent should be based on an understanding of:

  • the educational purpose of the activity
  • the nature and details of the activity
  • the supervision strategy
  • other information deemed relevant by the school or by parents/guardians.

Informed consent must be given in writing, including signatures, by parents or guardians.

First aid

At least one member of staff responsible for each group of students must hold, as a minimum, a current (within 3 years) level two first aid qualification, a current (within 12 months) Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) qualification and have a first aid kit applicable to the level of training.

Staff members must consider carefully the nature and location of the excursion as well as the medical history of the students to determine the level of first aid training required. For example, if any student in the group has a history of anaphylaxis and may require the use of an epi-pen, appropriately trained staff must be present. See: Excursion Support – First Aid.

Common risks

This list identifies risks likely to be inherent in any windsurfing activity. A program-specific risk management plan must be completed that takes account of the specific conditions and unique participants of the excursion/program.

Sample RisksSample Controls

Entanglement with rigging

Teach students the capsize drill prior to participation.

Close supervision of craft which capsize.

Rescue craft readily available at all times.

Shallow waters

Recent windsurfing experience at the location and/or information from others with recent windsurfing experience at the location.

Knowledge of tides times and heights at the location if relevant.

Submerged objects and sandbars

Recent windsurfing experience at the location and/or information from others with recent windsurfing experience at the location.

Monitor for hazards prior to student activity. (The surrounding environment will provide some indication of the likelihood of objects being encountered as will recent weather patterns.)

Understanding of recent local water and wind conditions.

Access points in the activity location/s

Identify the points at which the shoreline can be accessed throughout the activity.

Readily available rescue craft


Windsurfing resources
General resources