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Event risk management

Event organisers need to consider the risks that may arise during an event. Organisers may become liable for property damage. Whilst ACC provides cover for personal injury, in situations where gross negligence has occured, the organisers may become criminally liable.

Windsurfing New Zealand has an insurance policy that can provide insurance cover for events that are sanctioned by WNZ. The insurance policy provides cover for any claim resulting from personal or property damage arising from WNZ sanctioned windsurfing events. But indequate event risk management may mean the insurer can refuse cover. This may have consequences for the organisers and for the organisations (eg the local club and WNZ) that sanction the event, including its officers and volunteers.

To become a sanctioned event, Windsurfing New Zealand now requires you to demonstrate that you will have adequate event risk management procedures in place for your event. For competative events, the Notice of Race and the Race Intructions may detail a desired minimum level of risk management. But for some events, a specific risk management document may need to be created and approved by WNZ. WNZ will work with you to create this.

Why consider event safety ?

Event safety is common sense. For most windsurfing events, it is not a big burden. In fact minimum safety standards are probably being met at many events already. Largely because its common sense. But windsurfing can be a dangerous sport. Usually as a result of the adverse conditions that people may find themselves in. Sometimes because of a lack of experience.

There are a number of good reasons to put event risk management near the top of the to-do list for windsurfing events. These include:

  • Reducing exposure to unforseen dangers for competitors, organisers, volunteers, spectartors and the general public.
  • Ensuring that appropriate rescue procedures are in place.
  • Ensuring that appropriate injury treatment is at hand.
  • Providing peace of mind for parents of junior competitors.
  • Suppliers such as surfclubs that may host the event prizegiving will feel more comfortable.
  • Event sponsors may require insurance cover.
  • Avoiding liability for any property damage that may be caused during the event.
  • Avoiding liability for any severe injury of fatality that may occur during an event.

    The aim of event safety is not to wrap events in cotton wool and prevent hardy competition. Windsurfing in most forms can have dangerous elements to it. Most competitors know this. It is more about aiming to avoid the avoidable and identifying hazards so the competitors can use their own judgement to ensure they remain safe and help keep others safe.

    Showing that you have considered risk management and implemented appropriate steps, helps demonstrate that you have turned your mind to the risks. This is important from the insurance point of view.


    Risk management is common sense. It is not difficult. For most events the Notice of Race and the Race Instructions will detail sufficient risk management information. WNZ has developed a basic set of safety related considerations for competitive events. Conveniently, these are detailed in the Race Intructions that can be found here

    If your event is not a competitive event you will need to contact WNZ well before the event is on to work with WNZ on an event safety plan.

    If your competitive event is going to have risks associated with it that are larger than usual, you may also need to work with WNZ on a safety plan that is in addition to saferty related info contianed inthe Race Instructions. You can read more about event specific safety plans here

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