Risk Management is something that we deal with on a daily basis. This is not to say that we deal with high risk adventures, but we do want to be able to provide a positive and memorable experience. There is a lot that goes into managing for risks for an outdoor adventure. For example we constantly watch the weather before any trip starts. This is to make sure that we don’t have any high winds to deal with and to keep an eye out for scatter thunderstorms too. Here in the Wilmington area scattered thunderstorms happen a lot all throughout the summer season. Another safety concern that we monitor during many of our kayaking trips is boat traffic, and container ships that travel along the Cape Fear River. These ships can create large wakes which become hazardous in shallow water areas. We also carry rescue gear in our guide boats on every trip in case someone does fall out of their boat. This is so that we can safely get someone back inside a boat if they do fall out. Along with our rescue gear, we also bring a large first aid kits on each trip.
This past Thursday I had the opportunity to go to BSA Cape Fear Council’s Camp Bowers with Don to learn about the high ropes course, climbing tower, and zip-line that is part of the C.O.P.E. course there. The risk management that goes into operating these aspects is serious. Risk management starts before the course ever opens by having trained a professional such as Don inspect all the equipment, including different carabiners, ropes, helmets, and harnesses before use to make sure that everything is working properly and efficiently. Once all the gear is inspected and cleared for use then Don can inspect the course for any damage and safety concerns. After he has inspected the course, and everything has checked out, Don then begins to set up the course to be able to have participants safely climb up to the top where they can begin the course and use the zipline. To set up the belay system which makes sure everyone can get up on the course safely, Don uses steel climbing carabiners, it is important to note that he is not using aluminum carabiners because aluminum carabineers would be damaged by the steel cables that are part of the course which the belay is anchored to. Once participants are on top, they then have a self-belaying system with two adjustable ropes with clips that attach to their harness. These tethers are then clipped into the steel cables for safety (called lifelines). These are used as a backup device in case anyone does slip or fall off of one of the obstacles. Even though it may seem as though there are many different risks to manage for, if done properly it makes any adventure operate safely and efficiently.
Don & Diane Harty own Mahanaim Adventures. They specialize in helping families and groups to have “Positive & Memorable” outdoor adventures. Whether these are wildlife view adventure, camping adventure or a simple kayaking adventure. They provide kayaking adventures on Town Creek, Cape Fear River, Fort Fisher Basin, Masonboro Island, Black River, Holly Shelter Creek and Moores Creek. Contact them at www.mahanaimadventures.com for more information about all of their adventures.
This blog was written by Mike Manning. I am Mahanaim Adventures new intern for the summer of 2018. I am a Park and Recreation Management student at East Carolina University, Go Pirates! I love the outdoors and have a strong passion for kayaking. This coming summer I will be writing a blog similar to this every other week to let everyone know about the awesome adventures we will have on the water this summer.