2019 End of Season Survey Review

Thank you to everyone that took the time to complete our end of season survey. Your feedback and thoughts are invaluable, and allow us to continue to improve and develop the way we work. Hopefully this year’s survey format allowed you to give us some more specific feedback than you’d been able to in the past. Below is a summary of the key things you said…..  

The Highlights

You said that our training days are a key date in the calendar and are hugely important to maintaining our high standards and for pre-season preparation. We’ve become extremely proud of them over recent years and it’s great to see that so many of you share that view. Lots of you made useful suggestions about what we could add/change this year, many of which we really liked and will look to implement. The scenario based sessions ranked highly, you really enjoyed the practical nature of the sessions and felt you benefited from real life application. We will be continuing to develop these to encompass the different types of event we cover in order to best prepare you for when you arrive on-site.  Going into the 2020 season we will be sticking with our North/South training weekend format as it allows us to deliver training opportunities to as many of you as possible.

“The team were incredibly welcoming, and I envisage building a strong paddling and social group…” was the comment from one new team member in 2019. We simply couldn’t do what we do without all of you, so it’s great to see that new joiners feel it’s a welcoming and friendly environment that makes them want to keep working with us. Seeing the same smiley faces each weekend is really appreciated by new staff joining the team and is key to developing the friendly atmosphere we’re happy to have, so thank-you!

Unfortunately due to bad weather, we had to cancel our end of season social last year, but we’re hoping to organise something pre-season, possibly in conjunction with the training days, as we recognise the importance of these social events and getting to know you all a little better, rather than just on-site at events.

It was my 1st or 2nd season

Many of you who have joined us over the last few season’s had questions/comments about our timelines for confirming event details and getting information out. We apologise for these milestones not always being as clear as we’d like them to be, so we’ve updated our FAQ Page to ensure it includes key events like when we confirm our teams and when we send out the final details.

Many of you were also interested to find out more about how food and accommodation worked. Whilst on-site with us, you will generally be provided with at least one meal, usually in the form of a packed lunch. If this will not be the case or there are other arrangements, this information will be conveyed to you in the final details. In regard to accommodation, if we are offering/providing anything, whether it be hotel rooms or camping, this information will be stated on the registration system under the ‘more information’ drop down for the event. If accommodation is provided, you will be able to request/make your selection when signing up to the event. If you still have questions when signing up for the 2020 season, just get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

I've been a Safety Kayaker for more than 2 seasons

The questions we posed specifically to you surrounded Team leaders. It was great to get your feedback and such a high level of interest from people wanting to be team leaders going forward. This is great news, and in response we will be bringing back the team leader session to the training days to give more of you the opportunity to take on this role for us.

Further to this, we are also going to be formalising the Team Leader pre-event process internally in order to bring consistency across our events in relation to when people will be asked to fulfill this role, what briefing information will be provided and when.

I've been Rescue Boat Crew for more than 2 seasons

As our number of boat crews continues to grow, it’s great to see that so many of you believe that new members are well integrated and suitably proficient for the role they are being asked to undertake. We believe the boat crew inductions we carry out play a huge part in this, however, it’s only a small part of the process and so we are grateful for all the experience and knowledge experienced crew members pass onto newcomers.

To further prepare everyone and improve (or refresh) your knowledge, we will be creating evac drill videos similar to those produced for Regatta London, as many of you said this was something you found extremely helpful and would like to have as a refresher.

On another note, whilst we always strive to ensure boats, kit and equipment are maintained to a high standard, we know that sometimes some issues do take some time to get resolved. Although our entire fleet undergoes regular checks and maintenance between event weekends and gets fully serviced in the off season, during the busy Summer months it can be a challenge to ensure everything is working in top condition.

However if you do have any issues on-site, see a problem developing or see people leaving rubbish in the boats, please do let the Water Safety Manager know as they will be able to sort it out/find a solution (or log it – for resolution at a later date) – the key to us being able to maintain kit to the highest standard is knowing when things begin to go wrong/not work properly/make funny noises – enabling us to try and resolve the issue before it become major problem.

I've been a Bank Lifeguard for more than 2 seasons

We’ve spent a long time trying to improve the experience you receive at OCR’s, trying to align them with that of a triathlon/swim event, so it was great to get so much positive feedback from you all in relation to this, but we’d still like to improve.

The majority of you are likely to work for us at obstacle course races such as Tough Mudder and Rat Race. As such, in an effort to better inform everyone, we’d like to make our Briefing Sheets available to the whole team, not just the selected Obstacle Lead. Further, we will be making an effort to bring consistency to the pre-event briefings and rescue drills we carry out to again ensure you receive the same experience regardless of where your event is in the country.

Unfortunately due to the nature of the events, we are unable to do anything about the last minute changes that occasionally occur. Whilst we will always do what we can to minimise the effects they have on you, we are super appreciative of your understanding and co-operation when they do crop up and we need to make changes to the plan(s).

2020 Changes

The world is becoming more and more environmentally conscious, and so have we. This season we will be doing our best to reduce our carbon footprint. As a first step, we will be trying to ensure there are facilities to fill water bottles up at all our events and promoting our lift sharing platform. We will also be launching a private (staff only) Facebook ‘chat’ group, which can also be used for people to co-ordinate lift shares, where possible.

As we grow as a company, the sports (and variations of) that we’re involved in continue to change and evolve. Many of you have worked with us for a long time and have a very good understanding of the rules, however this season we will be making an effort to ensure that all of our water safety managers include any competition rules/quirks (e.g. swimming on your back during a triathlon) into briefing to reduce any ambiguity while operational. 

Something that was mentioned across the feedback forms was the lack of a designated Swim Safety space on-site for you to all leave kit and have your breaks. We agree that this is important, and do always try to ensure this is provided on site, where possible/practical, so will make a concerted effort to re-look at this with organisers this year to ensure there is shelter for the team whether it be rain or shine. If for any reason we’re not able to organise/provide this for a particular event, we will let you know within the final details.

New Kit

We’re always interested to know what types of kit you’d like to have when working with us. As well as giving you access to all of our trade account discounts, we also have a range of branded kit that we have slowly been growing. Based on the survey and comments throughout the season, we will be adding beanies, re-usable bottles and thermal mugs this season.

These will be ready and available in time for the training days, so keep your eyes peeled for further details.

Favourite Events

It’s always fascinating to see what the most popular event of the season will be. While it’s always going to be difficult to topple the old favourites, it was great to see new events like Outlaw X take a proportion of the votes.

Swim Serpentine, Great Swim and WTS Leeds took the podium positions in our survey, but we thought it’d be interesting to see which were the most photogenic events. In 2019,  we launch the #MySwimSafety photo competition and based on the entries, the most photographed events were the Human Race Triathlons, specifically those held at Dorney Lake.

Interestingly, in complete contrast, second place goes to the Breca series with their far more diverse range of settings.

2020 Season

Thanks once again for all the feedback on the 2019 season – which as you can see from the details above, we’re already working to implement into this year’s season.

If you’ve not already seen it, our provisional list of 2020 event dates can be found on our website here.

Online registration, via the registration system, will launch the week commencing 2nd March – but we’ll also let you know via email and our social media channels.