Windsurfing (sailboarding)


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Guideline review date: 28 October 2021

​​​This guideline is provided to support schools in implementing the managing risks in school curriculum activities procedure.

The CARA planner must be used for the specific school context in conjunction with this guideline considering additional risks, hazards and controls and including environmental, facility, equipment and student considerations.

For activities beyond the scope of this guideline, complete a CARA record using the CARA generic template.

Activity scope

This guideline relates to student participation in windsurfing (also known as sailboarding) in smooth and partially smooth waters during daylight hours as an activity to support curriculum delivery.

Note: This activity does not include participation in windsurfing competitions, the windsurfing discipline of wave sailing and any windsurfing activities in open waters (e.g. exposed, deep, unfriendly conditions; ocean swells, exposed trade winds). These activities are not recommended as a curriculum activity.

Depending on the scope of this activity, other risk assessments may be required when planning. Curriculum activities encompassing more than one CARA guideline (e.g. swimming in locations other than pools while power boating) must comply with the requirements of all CARA guidelines appropriate to the activity.

Schools should consider conducting this activity at a Department of Education Outdoor and Environmental Education Centre​ (O&EEC) and consult with O&EEC centre staff for risk assessment requirements.

For activities conducted at a non-Department of Education venue, and/or when engaging external expertise, request written risk assessment advice and attach it to this CARA record.​

For activities conducted off-site, schools must comply with the school excursions procedure.

High risk
Teaching and/or practicing of windsurfing skills in smooth and partially smooth waters.

Activity requirements

If any requirement cannot be met, the activity must not occur.

If any other safety recommendation cannot be met, modify the activity (or elements of it) and/or identify and use the hierarchy of controls to implement alternative control measures to meet or exceed the minimum safety standard.

Compliance with Australian Sailing Operating Standards and Guidelines is required when planning this activity.

Reference to Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for restricted areas is required when planning this activity.

Ensure the operator of the recreational vessel conforms to the general safety obligations for personal watercraft prescribed by Maritime Safety Queensland.

Prior consultation is required with local authority (e.g. local councils) for local advice (e.g. presence of water contaminants [blue-green algae] and other marine dangers that be present at the designated location), emergency support mechanisms and additional supervision requirements to ensure participant and public safety.

Permission/permits are required to be obtained from land managers (e.g. Queensland Government Marine park permits and activities, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, local councils or private landholders), if applicable.

Confirmation of student water safety and swimming competence is required prior to participation. The process is determined by the school and must consider the specific aquatic environments in which the activity will take place. Consult the sequence of competency water safety and swimming education program​ for support in determining age-appropriate suitability and consider student self-rescue skills.



Principals make final supervision decisions for the activity. Sufficient adult supervision must be provided to manage the activity safely (including emergency situations).

Specific roles for supervisors must include recovery, emergency and general supervision roles.

At all times, at least 1 adult supervisor with capability and competence (knowledge and skills) to assist/recover a student must be ready to perform a rescue. At no time, should students be relied upon to recover a participant in difficulty.

For activities with students with a medical condition or disability that may impact on safety during the activity, consultation with parents is required prior to allocating supervision to determine the impact of students’ medical condition or disability on safety during the activity.

At least 2 adult supervisors, one of whom is a registered teacher, must be present. In certain situations, there may need to be smaller or larger numbers of participants per adult supervisors.

Refer to the Australian Sailing Operating Standards and Guidelines (page 9) for participant to instructor ratios.

One adult supervisor is required to either windsurf with the learners or travel in a powered vessel in close proximity to the learners under instruction.

Before the activity, all adult supervisors:

  • must be familiar with the contents of the CARA record
  • must assess weather conditions and obtain accurate information on tides, depths, currents and other expected water conditions prior to undertaking the activity, inspecting the intended location in order to identify variable risks, hazards and potential dangers.

During the activity, all adult supervisors:

  • must be readily identifiable
  • must closely monitor students with health support needs
  • must comply with control measures from the CARA record and adapt as hazards arise
  • must suspend the activity if the conditions become unfavourable (e.g. poor visibility, extreme temperatures, thunderstorms)
  • must not allow this activity to occur outside daylight hours.

Supervisor qualifications

Principals make final decisions in determining supervisor capability (competence, relevance and currency) and are responsible for encouraging and enabling school-based activity supervisors to raise their qualifications to improve safety standards.

All adult supervisors must comply with the working with children authority—Blue Cards procedure and be able to identify, and respond to, risks or hazards that may emerge during the activity.

A registered teacher must be appointed to maintain overall responsibility for the activity.

At least one adult supervisor is required to be:

  • a registered teacher with appropriate instructor level qualification with Australian Sailing (or equivalent demonstrated capability) and with competence (knowledge and skills) in teaching windsurfing; or
  • an adult supervisor, working under the direct supervision of a registered teacher, with appropriate senior instructor level qualification or current accrediation with Australian Sailing (or equivalent) and with competence (knowledge and skills) in teaching windsurfing.

For power boating (if a power boat is being used), the adult supervisor is required to have all of the following:

Facilities and equipment

The qualified adult supervisor of the activity, in consultation with the principal, determines the requirements for facilities and equipment appropriate to the local context.

Location must be suitable for the activity being undertaken. Undertake a reconnaissance of new or infrequently used locations to ascertain suitability. Consider underwater vegetation (e.g. coral, weed), marine life (e.g. crocodiles, sharks, eels), debris and protection from other watercraft when selecting location. Assess suitability of surrounds and reach of water (e.g. local water conditions and hazards, marine vessel patterns).

Personal protective equipment as relevant (e.g. enclosed shoes, wetsuit or stinger protective swimwear).

Wet suit or stinger protective swimwear must be worn during colder periods and during the stinger season, if applicable. Adhere to the Surf Life Saving Queensland marine stinger risk management guidelines for the location.

Level 50 life jackets as outlined by Maritime Safety Queensland must be worn when participating in windsurfing (sailboarding) activities.

Ensure access to waterways is available for emergency vehicles or vessels.

Equipment must be sized to match the ability and strength of students.

All equipment must be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

A process for checking for damage for all equipment used in the activity must be established and employed (e.g life jackets, securely fixed deck plate and effective non-slip surface)

A retirement schedule must be developed to replace plant and equipment by manufacturers' nominated expiry date or when significant wear causes a hazard.

If privately owned equipment is being used, Principal approval and owner consent/insurance details must be obtained prior to the activity.

Ensure any equipment (e.g. life jackets, sailboards) has Australian Standard Certification and complies with the requirements of that schedule (Departmental staff search "Australian Standards " in OnePortal).

Ensure a suitably powered rescue vessel is available and ready to perform a rescue.​

 Hazards and controls

Further to those listed, include any additional hazards and control measures considering the local context of the activity.

Environmental hazards Control measures

Animal bites/diseases
Stings, poisoning, infection

Adhere to Queensland Government dangerous marine life for information on dangerous marine animals. Stings and bites by stonefish, irukandji and other dangerous marine animals can be fatal.

Adhere to the Surf Life Saving Queensland marine stinger safety guidelines. For further information about types of poisoning and treatment available, consult Queensland Poisons Information Centre or phone 13 11 26.

Marine organisms not to be handled and contact with marine creatures to be avoided.

Continually assess threat of dangerous marine animals (if appropriate to location).

Adhere to established practices regarding the use of insect repellent outlined in insect viruses and allergies.

Environmental conditions
Weather, surrounds

The school's sun safety strategy must be followed.

Follow the managing excessive heat in schools guidelines when participating in very hot or extreme heat conditions.

Monitor participants for cold related illness (e.g. hypothermia) in cold weather conditions.

Ensure drink breaks occur regularly. Make water available for individual participants between drink breaks.

Ensure shade and food are available during the activity.

Continually assess threat of vehicles and vessels if approproate to location.

Student considerations Control measures


Students aware of the location of emergency and first-aid equipment.

Manual handling
Lifting equipment

Use correct manual handling processes when lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling or carrying.

Physical exertion
Exhaustion and fatigue

Monitor students for signs of fear, hesitancy, loss of balance, fatigue, disorientation, hunger and/or exhaustion.

Student issues
Student numbers, special needs, high risk behaviours, medical conditions, separation from the group

Remove accessories (e.g. jewellery, lanyards) before participating.

Ensure fingernails, hair and clothing do not pose a hazard.

Implement procedures (e.g roll marking mechanisms) to account for all participants.

Instruct students to obey all safety signs and instructions.

Ensure that all participants work far enough apart that they are not struck by falling masts.


Have students wear easily identifiable clothing (e.g. high visibility rash vest). Ensure staff can easily recognise those students with health support needs (in and out of the water) and are familiar with their needs.


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Last updated 18 April 2023