An update from AdventureMark™ certified operator The Offlimits Trust
Offlimits is a charitable trust that raises funds to support the wellbeing of members of the New Zealand Defence Force and their families. It raises funds by conducting motorbike trail rides, motorbike guided rides, 4x4 guided tours, mountain biking and guided horse treks on the 65,000 ha that comprises the Waiouru Military Training Area. The trust would never be able to operate on Crown Land if it did not hold its Adventure Tourism Operator certification. This certification gives the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) a degree of peace of mind that events will be conducted professionally plus it helps NZDF meet its obligations as the land owner.
23-25 March saw 1500 keen motorbike riders participate in the annual TUSSOCKBUSTER event. This is the largest motorsport event in Australasia. The event is entirely run by volunteers and approximately 70 helpers come together once a year to fill the roles of track marshals, sign on crew, administrators, command post staff etc.
Offlimits is a certificated Adventure Tourism Operator. David Greenslade- one of the Offlimits trustees indicated that due to the diverse range of events, its SMS is huge. However, we handle this by having good SOPs, job descriptions, good induction processes, a marshal’s manual plus an annual training weekend for helpers.
TUSSOCKBUSTER has approximately 300km of marked trails covering approximately 20,000 ha so there are significant geographical and logistical challenges with safety. This issue is overcome by having approximately 50 RTs on hand that operate via the military radio repeaters located around the training area. Additionally, marshals are despatched with military precision to ride the tracks and assist riders. Quad bikes with specially designed recovery trailers are positioned at key locations to quickly move to recover broken bikes or injured riders. Offlimits has a dedicated helicopter on site to quickly recover the more seriously injured riders and return them to the large medical support team at the Offlimits event HQ.
Motorbike trail rides are traditionally a high risk activity. Offlimits has always had an enviable safety record achieved via good track marking, well defined rules that all participants must follow, plus a high level of written and verbal briefing and explanation of the hazards. However, injuries still occur and the TUSSOCKBUSTER18 medical team (in this instance ProMed) sent 13 riders to hospital for a variety of injuries. This might sound like a large number but when viewed in the context of 1,500 riders participating for three days and covering approximately 400,000 km off-road, then the hospitalisation injury rate is only 0.0086% which is extremely low when compared to other motorbike trail ride events.
Offlimits is happy to talk with other Adventure Tourism operators about how it operates and share its experiences around how it keeps participants as safe as it possibly can. For more information on The Offlimits Trust please check out this link.
Integra/AdventureMark Blue Certification is JAS-ANZ accredited. AdventureMark Blue certification is approved by WorkSafe NZ under the WorkSafe NZ Adventure Activities Certification Scheme.
New Zealand Adventure Tourism Safety Certification
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