Safety is paramount on our expeditions to Antarctica - we want you to have a fantastic adventure, and we want you to return in one piece! Most people who join our expeditions have little or no experience of ocean sailing or of extensive glacier travel and so we provide training in both areas for all people who join one of our trips.
We take this very seriously - we are the only operator to run glacier safety and crevasse rescue skills courses, both in Europe and in Ushuaia, for all Antarctic expedition members. If you are interested in glacier and crevasse training for your own Antarctic expedition, yacht crew or ship guides, please view our glacier training modules, and feel free to contact us to discuss your requirements further.
Antarctica is covered with glaciers and the coastline is an almost unbroken line of glacial cliffs. Even those with experience of alpine glacier travel will be overwhelmed by the scale, as well as the incredible beauty, of glaciation in Antarctica. And so ski travel in Antarctica invariably involves glacier travel, and to do this safely requires that everyone carries the right equipment and has the necessary skills. If you do not have experience of roped glacier travel and crevasse rescue then we recommend that you attend a course prior to joining one of our trips. We also like to organise a weekend meet for the team to get together, a couple of months before we depart, to meet each other, discuss plans and to practice the necessary skills. View our view our glacier training course modules.
When you arrive in Ushuaia we spend a day on the glacier above Ushuaia, again practising glacier skills and to ensure that we work as a cohesive team in the mountains. This means that when we arrive in Antarctica we can get straight into the mountains. For many people these are new skills, and learning them is all part of the expedition experience. Once we arrive in Antarctica we take things one step at a time in order to gradually build everyone’s experience and to develop`the team, starting with a short ‘shake-down’ tour, and then gradually progressing according to the team’s ability.
Avalanche safety is also extremely important. Although, the maritime climate of the Antarctic Peninsula means that the snowpack quickly stabilises, and the fact that the snowpack lies on glacier ice reduces the formation of weak layers low in the snowpack, there can still be areas of instability, particularly in the spring at low altitudes as the snow warms up. We insist that every member travels with the appropriate avalanche safety equipment, and is practised in its use.
Many people are understandably anxious about crossing the notorious Drake Passage. Stories abound of ships being tossed around in the roughest seas on earth. But we are a yacht, and we do things differently. Our trips have contingency time at the start and end in order to make the crossing when the conditions are favourable. We rarely have to wait more than a day or so, and we usually do this in Puerto Williams in Chile, where there is also plenty of beautiful hiking. This means that we cross the Drake Passage when there is a weather window with fair winds (from the right direction) and comfortable conditions.
When everyone boards the yacht we have a safety meeting to run through safety and life on board. We cover fire safety, man overboard, emergency procedures, health and hygiene, and watch duties. At all times when on deck every person must wear a lifejacket and be tethered to the yacht.
The yacht is designed and fitted out with all the necessary safety equipment. With 6 watertight compartments, a specially re-inforced hull for ice operations, satellite navigation and emergency systems, and a process of educating and training our expedition members, we can operate safely in the seas around Antarctica.