Risk Assessment

Risk Assessment for Let’s SUP Paddle Board lessons and tours starting in Aberdyfi (reviewed March 2024)

This identifies significant risks to Let’s SUP staff and customers, members of the public and other water users. It advises the safety measures employed to bring these risks down to a tolerable level. We have completed a risk-benefit analysis and judge the following benefits to outweigh any potential risks:

  • Pleasure gained through participation
  • Gaining of new skills and knowledge 
  • Experience of the natural environment and learning to cope with the elements
  • Guided experience mixed with professional coaching
  • Health and fitness




Controls and safety measures

Setting Up

Injury from Boards

Boards carried a safe distance from members of the public.

Changing before and after

Slips and trips within DYC


Outdoor hazards

DYC responsible for health and safety within building and hold own insurance, fire exit displayed, first aid kit within DYC. 

Clients advised of potential hazards e.g steps and to check underfoot.



Warn of any uneven surface, first aid kit carried.

Check participants spaced a safe distance apart to avoid injuries from paddles.

Entering water

Obstacles such as stones/buoys/moored boats/underwater obstacles/other water users

Safe carrying technique shown, buddy carrying technique used if required. Any hazards identified on site inspection and dynamic risk assessment. Avoid boat activity on slipway - wait until cleared area/space to pass or if needed choose alternative launch site. Monitor during briefing and advise accordingly.

Instructor(s) to monitor harbour area regularly and  guide participants around any underwater obstacles and to stay on knees until clear and in deep enough water.


Poor weather

Close analysis of forecast beforehand, VHF radio and phone carried, cancellation or abandonment if needed (for example due to strong wind). Clear signals used with customers and clear boundaries set. Tow ropes carried by instructor(s). Land based contact informed of route and time of expected return and contacted to confirm safe return or alternatively the safe trx app may be used. Use of walkie talkies between instructors or instructor and land based contact if possible.


Injury due to submerged objects

Instructor to regularly observe beaches/banks at low tide to familiarise with objects submerged at higher tide such as boat trailers and rocks. Instructor to insist on being on knees in these areas.


Injury caused by equipment, incorrect techniques used, overstretching, misbehaviour

Safe handling and falling methods advised during briefing, first aid kit, phone and VHF radio carried. Participants advised only to stand/try new strokes in clear area of water. Water confidence and age of participants noted in advance and support given as needed. Students practice movements as a warm up during the briefing. The importance of listening to and following instructions is reiterated during the briefing.


Equipment failure

Equipment regularly checked for faults, spare paddle carried. Buoyancy aids and footwear worn by all participants.


Medical Emergency

Instructor(s) first aid trained, location of nearest defibrillators noted at Aberdovey Tourist Information.

First aid kit, phone and VHF radio carried. Medical information collected before session including any previous illness/injury. Those with health or other issues likely to cause problems refused participation. Emergency Action Plan in place and instructor(s) familiar with it. Each participant carries a card in their Bouyancy Aid with emergency instructions and how to radio for help. (in case of instructor incapacitation)

On water


All participants wear wetsuits, quick release leashes and buoyancy aids. Self-rescue techniques taught in land briefing. Safe ratio of instructor to participants (generally this will be 1:6 but may be up to 1:8 maximum for groups with more water experience or in especially calm conditions). Water confidence and ages attained before session so that those with more needs can be monitored more closely. Clear boundaries given by instructor(s) to keep group within safe parameters.This may involve returning to shore/towing. Instructor well informed of tidal flow and acts accordingly. Participants familiar with self rescue strategies. Emergency Action Plan in place. Instructor carries foil blanket and group survival shelter.

On water

Marine Life Hazards, bites and stings.

Monitored throughout and advice given. Shoes worn. First aid kit carried. Any water quality issues are advised by harbour master and activities planned/advice given as appropriate.

On water

Underwater entanglement

All participants advised to go to knees when traveling close to obstacles and instructor(s) to use CLAP principle to promote avoidance.  Quick release waist leashes to be worn by all participants and instructions given on how to use them during the initial briefing. Safety knife carried by instructor to cut leash in an emergency.

On Water

Tidal flow

Sessions only to be planned at periods either side of high or low tide when the flow is low for beginners and low-moderate for more experienced paddlers. 

On Water

Paddling past the Jetty 

Clients advised to keep good distance between themselves and the jetty and follow lead person around to Church Bay.

On Water

Crossing to Sandbanks

Clients advised to go downwind of any buoys/boats and to regularly check the depth is suitable for standing and if not to go to their knees.

On Water

Avoiding collision with other watercraft

In briefing, customers are made aware of importance of awareness and avoiding collisions. They are informed of the relevant ‘rules of the road’ but made aware not all water users know these so to aim to avoid collisions and apply caution. Students reminded of signals and to keep a safe distance from other craft/water users.

On Journey

Exiting and entering the water at Picnic island

Instructor to give clear instructions about landing point and to exit water first in order to guide participants in, avoiding rocks. Participants reminded to release leashes and be careful underfoot. On re-entry, customers reminded to reattach leashes and stay on knees initially.

Exit from water

Falling from board, trips, difficulty carrying equipment

Participants are reminded to return to knees in shallow water and to remove leash on exit. Instructor monitors participants on leaving the water and offers assistance where needed. Participants only asked to carry boards a minimal distance, especially in windy conditions. Buddy carrying can be used if needed.