The IRF has for many years discussed the merits of developing an accreditation for operators that offer whitewater rafting guided or instructional services. Simply put, this process would provide a means of recognizing operators that meet or exceed internationally accepted safety and quality standards. In September 2019, a committee was created to address this need and draft an accreditation program for the IRF Board approval. The Rafting Operator Accreditation (ROA) Committee has now achieved this stage and is ready for input from stakeholders.

Throughout early 2020, the ROA Committee will be interviewing leading rafting companies around the world to gather feedback on the ROA draft. So far, 20 operators from 18 countries have been invited to participate in the interview. Their responses will be themed, and the findings will inform the review of the ROA draft.

The ROA will be launched in Costa Rica in the fall of 2020 with a selected group of companies going through a pilot test. Following the pilot tests, we will make final adjustments to the process before we make the ROA available internationally.

More details of the Rafting Operator Accreditation (ROA) scheme:

The Rafting Operator Accreditation (ROA) is a credential issued by the International Rafting Federation (IRF) to operators that offer whitewater rafting guided or instructional services. The purpose of the system is to provide a means of recognizing operators that meet or exceed internationally accepted safety and quality standards. The process consists of a period of self-evaluation against published standards, a peer-review by an expert committee, and a site-visit by a trained assessor.

The ROA principles:

  • Inclusiveness: The ROA is designed to be universally applicable to a global market yet situationally flexible enough to incorporate the diversity of applicants.
  • Sustainability: The ROA is self-sustaining and provides value to all stakeholders involved in the process including operators, staff, participants, and the rafting industry at large.
  • Credibility: The ROA process, standards and expectations are clear for applicants and consists of a fair and unbiased assessment through an expert committee.
  • Efficiency: The ROA process is achievable and affordable; it makes best use of available technology to minimize administrative costs.

Operators come to the IRF for accreditation because the process benefits everyone who is engaged in or involved with their organisation. The ROA process provides them with a framework to manage their resources, offer best practices, and strive for continuous improvement. This supports an operator’s sustainability, encourages its growth, and helps it achieve measurable results.

The ROA process helps operators ensure they have systems in place to:

  1. Prevent and respond to incidents.
  2. Deliver quality services to their participants.
  3. Run a socially and environmentally responsible operation.

Once accredited, operators enjoy the following benefits: 

  • Evidence that their operation has implemented internationally accepted industry standards
  • Enhancement of their operation’s safety and quality through regular internal and external review
  • Illustration of their commitment to preserving and protecting river environments
  • Belonging to a network of IRF accredited operators that assists consumer choices
  • Greater exposure via the IRF website and other IRF media outlets
  • Reputation boost through the use of the ROA logo in marketing and promotional materials
  • Access to resources on operator related subjects such as insurance, templates and processes, training, guide employment, etc

 

If you’d like to find out more or be a part of the ROA review process, we are particularly interested to hear from operators in Asia and Africa.

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