A new outdoor activity is piquing people’s interest and quickly becoming an undeniable trend: zip lining. Adventurers can soar through the sky, harnessed by a cable strung between trees, mountains or even man-made structures.
When they take flight, riders can reach the ultimate feeling of exhilaration while seeing nature from a whole new perspective.
In addition to being an exciting outing for solo thrill-seekers and families alike, zip lining is a legitimate career field for wilderness-loving outdoor enthusiasts who prefer their office to be amid the forest, jungle or mountain peaks rather than in a cubicle.
Obviously safety must be a top priority when engaging in this type of activity, and strict regulations and certification standards apply to all businesses and zipline operators who are ready to glide into this bold new industry.
As there is currently no nationwide legal regulatory authority governing this activity, consumers are on the hook to carefully research guide companies and make sure that instructors and businesses guiding them on zipline tours are certified by one of the following organizations.
Organizations overseeing ziplining safety
Zipline businesses and employees and guides must receive certification from the American National Standards Institute, and you can learn more at the ANSI website.
The ANSI is a non-profit organization that regulates a comprehensive consensus on standards for many different types of products, services, and personnel, and zip lining falls under their jurisdiction.
Certification can also be received by completing courses that meet the standards of the Association for Challenge Course Technology, (ACCT), ASTM International Amusement Ride and Device Standards and the Professional Ropes Course Association (PRCA).
According to the PRCA’s website, “In 2005, the Professional Ropes Course Association (PRCA) became the first industry association to achieve the ANSI Accredited Standards Developer status.”
Other zipline safety precautions
It’s also important to make sure the guide uses proper equipment and helmets, and requires that you to be roped in at all times. Accidents can occur before or after you are attached to the zipline cable by simply slipping off of a ledge.
Participants should be given a thorough safety briefing at the start of the tour, and the businesses should be conducting daily course inspections before the guests arrive, including checking for obstructions such as fallen trees on the course, loose cables or damaged cables and rigging, and of course damaged equipment.
Zipline operators must be trained in all safety systems and their purposes, CPR and rescue skills, emergency response, knowledge of breaking systems and proper safety precautions, and informed about the local environment, geography, weather and nearby medical facilities.
Most zipline companies require regular drug and alcohol testing for their employees as well.
“We have to handle scared, hesitant and afraid people,” Andrew Sullivan, an Adventures on the Gorge TreeTops and Gravity Zip Lines guide, explained online. “We also have to watch for medical conditions that might be a problem. We have to be able to lower someone safely at any point on the course.”
Whether you are looking for an exciting get away into the wild for a new perspective on nature or finding your calling as a career instructor, proper zipline certification and education is essential for a safe and secure journey.
Who knows: Your new life path might send you sailing through the trees while meeting interesting people from all walks of life with a common passion for the great outdoors and unparalleled excitement.