I present the following safety checklist for meeting planners and others in our industry to reference when recommending or accepting recommendations for various transportation services.

While much of the checklist was compiled after learning of the tragic duck boat incident that killed 17 in Branson, Missouri, the list itself can be applied to all modes of transportation and to other activities, whether on land, air or sea.

Disclaimer: This list is far from inclusive. Each venue and vendor should be asked questions specific to the work they are to undertake. If using a DMC to assist with your event, consider whether they are certified by ADMEI, what precautions they take and their experiences working with groups.

By providing this list, Joan Eisenstodt, the author, with input from Tyra Hilliard, Ph.D., Esq., CMP, and Meetings Today, its editors and publisher, do not intend for it to provide legal protection. Always contract a professional to help you create a risk and contingency plan to cover all aspects of your events.

Assessing Transportation and Off-Site Activities Risk: 7 Key Areas for Planners to Consider

1. General safety:

  • What incidents have occurred in or on your facility or mode of transportation when safety may have been endangered for workers and guests? What has been done since then to correct any deficiencies?
  • How, by whom and when have the vehicles been inspected? What is the inspection schedule?
  • In the case of duck boats and other like craft, are recommendations from experts to remove canopies being adhered to?
  • By whom are the craft certified? For how long is that certification valid?
  • How many life jackets or vests, including those for children are on each boat?
  • Where are life jackets or vests stored?
  • When is it suggested that the life jackets or vests be worn?
  • How often are the life jackets inspected?
  • How many AEDs are on board?
  • What other safety aids are on board?

2. Driver/captain training and licensure requirements—in particular for land-water or amphibious vehicles like “duck boats”:

  • Are the land driver and the boat captain the same person?
  • How is this person, or how are the two, trained in land and boat and water safety?
  • How regularly are all drivers/captains drug and alcohol tested? Is smoking or alcohol consumption permitted by drivers and captains while in the service of passengers, and in particular when operating a vehicle?
  • What level of experience and training do they have in assisting guests in distress in the boat or in any emergencies?
  • For how many hours are they permitted by law or company policy to operate a vehicle?

3. Instructions to guests/passengers:

  • What standard instructions are given to guests for land and water safety, when, and by whom?
  • Are life jackets/vests suggested to be worn for all water transport? If not, when are they expected to be worn?
  • What is the standard script when boarding? What is the standard script when entering the water?
  • Are both scripts required to be read and followed before the vehicle can depart on land and into water?
  • Are guests instructed how to exit the boat in case of an emergency on the water? On land?

4. Communications:

  • With whom and how do those piloting the vehicles, on land or water, communicate?
  • What is the back-up communication in the event the initial communication is not available?
  • Is each vehicle equipped with a weather radio or other device to communicate with the U.S. or local weather service?
  • Who makes the final decision to proceed or turn back in the event of a weather issue?
  • What are the procedures in the event of a weather advisory?
  • What are the procedures in the event of a non-weather emergency or advisory?

5. Insurance and waivers:

  • Are guests/passengers required to sign agreements of behavior before boarding?
  • What is included in the waivers, if any, to be signed?
  • What insurance is required to be held and by whom is it held and what does it cover?
  • Have any lawsuits been filed against your company and its operators for negligence? If so, what are the details and what has been done to address the issues?

6. Onboard behaviors:

  • What information is provided on marketing materials in print or electronically about behaviors permitted and prohibited on board?
  • What announcements are made on board about behaviors permitted and prohibited?
  • When are these announcements made? Is this information also included in writing? In more than one language?
  • Are there ASL interpreters or other language interpreters on board? Must they be requested ahead of time?
  • What are the safety procedures for people with disabilities?

7. Food and beverage safety:

  • Is food served on board the vehicle? If so what are preparations to keep hot food hot and cold food cold? How are servers certified in food service safety?
  • In what ways are those who are responsible for food service trained in cross-contamination?
  • Is alcohol served on board? If so, how is it limited? How are those who serve alcohol certified to serve?
  • Are individuals permitted to bring their own food and/or beverages on board? What are the restrictions for container types? Types of food and/or beverages?
  • Are alcoholic beverages confiscated prior to boarding?
  • If allowed by law, does the boat carry undesignated stock epinephrine?  If so, who is allowed to administer it?
  • In what ways are the individuals operating the vehicles trained in addressing allergic reactions, including bug bites? (See this from Tracy Stuckrath on food safety).

As already mentioned, this list is far from inclusive, but hopefully it gets you thinking about safety precautions to take and questions to ask before you place your attendees in harm’s way.

Related Reading From the August 2018 Edition of Friday With Joan

Click here to view additional content in the 08.03.18 Friday With Joan newsletter.