Safety & Best Practice

Since 1932, British Exploring Society has been running challenging and adventurous expeditions to remote wilderness locations in the UK and abroad. The safety and support of our Young Explorers and Leaders are fundamental to our work, our staff, and our organisation as a whole.

The cornerstone of our expeditions

Safety is the cornerstone on which we build and develop an expedition from conception through to departure and return. Our safety management systems are designed to empower our Young Explorers and Leaders with knowledge and training.

British Exploring Society welcomes regular scrutiny and audit from the leading authorities within our industry. We have an excellent relationship with inspectors and licensing bodies and we appreciate the opportunity to continually improve and develop our systems, policies and operational procedures as a result of external inspections and compliance.

Pre-programme planning, preparation and transparency

Our policies and operating procedures underpin the way we work and what we expect of our leadership teams. They are adapted for each expedition and govern the way we build, conduct and lead any adventure we put into the field to maintain the highest possible standards at all times. Please note that the below is not a comprehensive list of all of our policies, just the most relevant ones for this page.

We have a network of specialist Technical Advisors who provide advice and consultancy to support the planning and operational development of all of our expeditions. All our Technical Advisors are highly experienced experts in their field.

Risk Benefit Analysis is conducted for each and every aspect and activity of an expedition. We continually develop our assessments throughout planning and preparation and take account of changes in risk profile, best practice, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and in-country advice prior to expedition departure.

We aim to provide all the information you need early on to enable you to make clear, informed decision about your own participation. We encourage anyone to contact us whenever they have a query or concern.

Risk management and training prior to departure

All of our Young Explorers are given an expedition safety summary as soon as they enrol and have access to our full Risk Benefit Analysis prior to departure.

Experienced leadership teams. We ensure we recruit the best, most competent and experienced Leaders for our expeditions. After a rigorous application, selection and assessment process we build balanced and highly skilled teams.

British Exploring Society adhere to comprehensive Child Protection and Safeguarding procedures; all staff undergo a thorough screening before being appointed including reference checks and completion of an enhanced Criminal Records Check with the Government’s Disclosures and Barring Service.

All expeditions are appropriately staffed with qualified medical professionals consistent with the nature of the expedition and all Leaders undergo courses in expedition and advanced first aid. All Technical Leaders (Adventure, River and Senior Leaders) are subject to further training and assessment conducted by our Technical Advisors.

Our comprehensive Leader training package is in addition to the qualifications and experience required at selection. It covers technical and specialist skills, safety and crisis management, continuous dynamic risk assessment in a field environment as well as child protection and safeguarding.

We operate our expeditions with a Leader to Young Explorer ratio of at least 1:5 and 100% of our Young Explorers surveyed described the safety of their expedition as either good or excellent.

All of our Young Explorers must attend a comprehensive Training Week where they are introduced to their expedition team and instilled with a strong level of risk awareness.

24/7 support and communications during expedition

Our Duty Operations Team (DOT) provides continuous 24/7 support from the UK whilst our expeditions are out in the field, working in close partnership with in-country agents and emergency support services. Safeguarding our teams with this tiered professional back up allows our staff and Leaders the capability to manage any situation that may arise on expedition competently and appropriately.

British Exploring Society has comprehensive travel, liability and medical insurance for all, with access to emergency response and evacuation, emergency medical care and repatriation services.

British Exploring Society supplies technical and specialist equipment on all expeditions, including communications, safety and adventure activity equipment. All our Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is subject to regular inspections and maintenance checks from qualified assessors in line with UK Legislation.

British Exploring Society carries out Third Party Provider Assessments when working with overseas agents to ensure the highest possible standards.

We equip our teams with a range of communications; from radios and satellite phones to satellite tracking devices and Personal Locator Beacons (PLB’s). Our UK operations room maintain regular scheduled contact with the expedition teams and have access to emergency response at all times.

Assessment and accreditation

BSi8848: Is the British Standard for organising and managing visits, fieldwork, expeditions, and adventurous activities outside the UK. All ventures provided by British Exploring Society conform to BSi8848:2014, declared by Adventure Activity Associates on the basis of the operating procedures and safety management systems evidenced on 6th April 2017 and a sample of ventures examined to the year-end 2017. Click here for the BSi8848: A parents’ guide to adventurous activities abroad for young people.

British Exploring Society maintain Corporate Conformity status through continuing independent assessment by the Adventure Activity Associates.

Expedition Providers Association (EPA): British Exploring Society is a full member of EPA and conforms to the association’s standards. We are a holder of the Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) quality assurance badge, which demonstrates that we deliver the highest standard of expeditions.

Adventure Activities Licensing Service (AALS): We are AALS licensed for our activities in the UK and are stringent in guaranteeing our leaders are appropriately skilled and qualified for all activities undertaken abroad.

Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC): British Exploring Society is a Quality Badge holder for LOtC’s national award for provision, learning and safety for all types of learning outside of the classroom.

Technical Advisors: British Exploring Society utilises a network of specialist Technical Advisors who provide advice and consultancy to support the planning and operational development of all of our expeditions. All our Technical Advisors are highly experienced experts in their field.

"One of the reasons I went on expedition was to prove to myself that I can do the things that at first glance I feel like I wouldn’t be able to. I like to take going up the mountain really literally - many times I’ve heard that 'problems are like climbing a mountain' and there is something so rewarding and freeing knowing I’ve actually done that!"

Grace - Young Explorer, Dangoor Next Generation Iceland 2022

I completely opened myself up in an entirely new and thrilling environment. Not only did I return as a person who had developed a great deal and who had in many ways matured, I did so with many new friends at my side.

Gus - Young Explorer, Canadian Yukon 2019

"What I have found the most interesting post-expedition is realising how much I’ve learnt from the other people in my fire and on expedition. 5 weeks is a long time to be around people you don’t know very well 24/7, so there’s a lot of time for talking, sometimes about trivial things but also about some serious issues and debates. I’ve found this is what I have been applying to life back home the most – reminiscing on these conversations and applying new world views to my own thinking."

Edie - Young Explorer, Kyrgyzstan 2022

"After the expedition I really do feel that I have a greater sense of self-confidence. The expedition has made me happy with who I am and confirmed the journey I want to embark on. I felt as though I could see my goals more clearly making me want to go on more expeditions in the future. On top of this I am even engaged in geographical dilemmas facing the world, which has made me more motivated to succeed in my studies and pursue a Geography degree."

Nye - Young Explorer, Hartz Scottish Explorers 2022

“My life goals became a lot clearer and I understand myself a lot more now. I know that in the future wherever I go and whatever I am doing this experience will still be holding a positive influence on my mindset. At the start of this expedition I was in the middle of nowhere with a large group of strangers, at the end I was in an amazing place with friends I now have for life.”

Ilayda - Young Explorer, Canadian Yukon 2019

“We’ve embraced others, ourselves, but finally the stunning nature that has submerged us these last three weeks. Seeing the complete wilderness of this beautiful landscape has revealed… the little things can have such a big impact, which can be easily ignored when living in a fast-paced city… [it] has inspired us all to change our ways to conserve the wonderful world we live in.”

Kyle - Young Explorer, Dangoor Next Generation Iceland 2019

“Things changed for me this summer and my life was transformed when I found the inner strength to ignore the negativity of bullies and overcome my self-doubt and anxiety, to put myself forward and join the awe-inspiring, mixed ability, month-long Dangoor Infinity sea and land expedition of self-discovery to Iceland.”

Joshua - Young Explorer, Dangoor Infinity 2019

"Challenging myself to go on an expedition was the best thing I could have done at this stage in my life. The expedition, and everything that led up to it, was an incredibly rewarding, and life-affirming experience. I feel incredibly lucky to have spent such an extraordinary three weeks with a truly brilliant group of people, who I hope to stay in contact with and hopefully go on more adventures with in future."

Izzy - Young Explorer, Canadian Yukon 2022

Life changing. I have learnt more about myself than I ever thought I could know, a journey of self-discovery. British Exploring attracts such a unique blend of people, you are definitely going to meet some friends for life - like minded people you never knew were out there that are just like you.

Dasha - Young Explorer, Amazon 2017

To see how far we had come in 3 weeks in terms of fitness was incredible but also seeing how much stronger we were emotionally was unbelievable. This experience proved that I can do anything I put my mind to and with determination and support from those around me anything is possible.

Charlotte - Young Explorer, Canadian Yukon 2019