Safety Tips For Virtual Coastrek Event Day

29 Jun 2020

By The Wild Women On Top Team

Here at Coastrek, the safety of our trekkers is our top priority, and we want to ensure all trekkers have access to the information they need to have a safe and enjoyable Coastrek experience.

As with any Coastrek event, trekkers are responsible for their safety and preparedness throughout their Coastrek journey, including on Event Day.

The following information has been compiled by our amazing Event Production Manager Sally Smith to help you assess risk and manage your safety on Event Day. 

Wet weather

The safety of your route is going to be very dependent on the weather. Check the weather the day before so you can amend or plan your route accordingly.

In persistent wet weather, low-lying areas can become very muddy or impassable. Larger maintained paths are usually fine, but smaller ones are often best avoided.

Small streams on a map can become rivers too fast to ford, even a couple of days after rain, so pay attention to small blue lines on your map.

Roads and train lines

You may have to cross roads. It is recommended you wear a high-vis vest for higher visibility when crossing roads. Remember to look both ways twice, and listen out for traffic before stepping onto the road. Always cross roads at recognised crossing points.

It is illegal to walk on motorways, and to cross them. Motorways must only be crossed at designated footpaths or dedicated bridges.

Many rural train lines use level crossings. Pay attention to any warning signs and remember trains may be moving faster than they appear at first.

Coastal dangers

The biggest danger on coastal paths is the tide. Some paths will disappear under the waves at high tide, so you may find yourself stranded or trapped.

Check the local tide tables as you are planning your route.

Steep slopes and altitude

On paper and online maps, contour lines indicate a change in elevation. The closer they are together, the steeper the slope will be.

If you choose to take on a steep incline or decline, make sure every member of your team is capable. If a steep slope is combined with poor weather, it can go from tricky to hazardous very quickly.

Getting up to the top of a hill or mountain is a great goal for a walk, but be aware that temperature drops and wind speed increases as you gain altitude. Enjoy the leg muscle burn!

Daylight/night walking

While night navigation can be an interesting challenge, ensure you and your team are up for it! Night walking can be fun, but risk awareness, fatigue, terrain, and remoteness can make it dangerous.

We strongly recommend you complete your walk during daylight. If you are planning to walk the 60km event (which may take longer than the daylight hours), you are generally much better off starting in the dark when you are fresh and finishing in the light when you are tired. Do not leave home without your head torch.

Escape routes and emergency contacts

Make sure you have escape routes (i.e areas with car access) in mind, especially for the 60km event. If you are inexperienced in the bush, select a route closer to residential areas and roads.

Should the weather turn against you or someone gets injured, your escape route is the quickest route back to safety.

Select an emergency contact

We recommend you choose an emergency contact who is a member of your support crew, or someone who can remain close to your walking route. Plug their number into your phone, in case you need it.

Keep your phone charged

Always ensure you have at least one phone with power and that your team members are on different telecommunications services to maximise your coverage along the route.

You must download our recommended apps, in particular the Emergency + app and St John First Aid app. Emergency + can provide your location coordinates if required and St Johns First Aid app provides easy, step-by-step instructions on how to manage non-life-threatening issues. In case of emergency or if you are unsure of the severity of an injury, please call 000.

Equipment

Equipment will vary a lot depending on the distance, route and season. Please refer to our Coastrek checklist in your dashboard for compulsory gear and other recommendations.

Support crew

Get a support crew! Support crews are mandatory for the 60km event and recommended for the 30km event. Check out our blog ‘How To Be An Amazing Coastrek Support Crew’ for some inspo.

Support crews play a vital role in risk management. If you have a non-life-threatening injury on the route, you support crew should be your first port of call.

Support crews can also carry any extra items you may need, such as spare shoes and socks, snacks, clean t-shirt etc. Check out our Coastrek checklist in your dashboard for the support crew packing list.

Know your ability

Plan your route based on the ability of your whole group and the event time limits. Don’t forget to add time for breaks for refreshments or photos.

Tell someone

You must leave a copy of your planned route with family, friends or your accommodation provider, together with the expected time of return.

Ensure all team members have the ‘Find My Friends’ app switched on; and make sure a few family and friends download it too, so they can track you along the way.

Get going!

Now you have planned and prepared, it is time to go!

Do a final weather check, a final gear check, and don't forget to lock the front door!