Safety guidelines for tandem skydiving in Australia

Skydive safety guidelines for a fun dive in Australia!

Feeling like taking a leap of faith and trying out skydiving? You’re in luck, because the skydiving experience in Australia is of a completely different league. From jewel-toned coastlines to magnificent cityscapes, from mesmerizing natural rock formations to miles and miles of rolling green pasture, you’ll have plenty to see as you fly down. 

In tandem skydives, you take the dive while attached to a skydiving instructor. These are usually very safe and especially great for beginners. And yet, there are certain tandem skydive safety rules that both you and the instructor must follow. Read on to find out more!

Gear checks for skydiving

Like all adventure sports, skydiving also comes with its fair share of risks. But, you can ensure that you have a secure and memorable time if you go through a thorough tandem skydive safety check. Here are some that are absolutely necessary:

Brief: Participants are given a briefing session prior to the flight. Here, the instructors and staff explain all the procedures before, during and after the flight. They also familiarize guests with the equipment and the rules pertaining to the experience. Participants must pay attention here and clarify their doubts, if any. Instructors should also carefully go over the skydiving commands and other communication methods.

Self check: Fliers must do gear checks on themselves to ensure that all the equipment are in their right places. They are usually encouraged to do a minimum of three checks — before putting on the gear, before boarding the flight and before exiting the plane in the sky.

Buddy check: Checking your equipment by yourself is not enough, as you may miss out on something crucial especially if you’re a beginner. Therefore, buddy checks are very important. Here, you ask an experienced diver to double-check your equipment. If you’re experienced yourself, an additional buddy check never hurts.

Emergency equipment check: You should also pay close attention to the emergency equipment on board the flight and other emergency features of your gear. This can help prevent a mishap in case a crisis arises.

CASA approval: All the equipment used must be approved by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. This ensures a standard in quality and maintenance, and is a key tandem skydive safety measure.

Health checks for skydiving

Before skydiving, guests are required to go through a quick health check up and report any pre-existing health conditions that may affect their dive. Although guests’ own statements are usually enough, do make sure to get a clean bill from your doctor if you have any concerns. Some of these conditions might disqualify you from participation in accordance with tandem skydive safety measures:

Mobility issues

Skydiving requires a lot of body movement and fitness because of air pressure, gravity, weight of the equipment and other factors. The arch position, which is the most important fall position during tandem skydives, is especially hard on the neck and the back. Therefore, those with a bad back or other mobility issues should skip this experience.

Injuries and illnesses

Recent injuries or surgeries may prevent you from skydiving. This is because the fall exerts a considerable amount of pressure on the body, which may be unsuitable for guests who have not healed properly yet. Even if you have a minor cold or clogged sinuses, you must let the safety officers know.

Long-term health issues

If you have chronic health conditions like fluctuating blood pressure and sugar levels, heart problems, epilepsy or breathing difficulties, you may be asked to refrain from skydiving. Guests with disabilities can get in touch with the safety officer at the dropzone to figure out if they can safely participate in the experience.


Pregnant women are not allowed to participate in skydiving as it can cause severe fetal stress as well as increase the chances of miscarriage. This happens due to various stressors and their effect on the body — decreasing oxygen levels, increasing heart rate, etc.


Guests must keep a gap of at least 24 hours between scuba-diving and skydiving. Otherwise, it may cause serious risks due to the effect of altitude and pressure on the body during these activities, leading to decompression sickness.

Australian Parachute Federation

The Australian Parachute Federation or APF is the apex body that looks after the administration, regulation and representation of Australian Sport Parachuting. It promotes skydiving and helps in maintaining strict levels of safety during skydives.

Most skydiving and parachuting civilian operations are controlled by the APF. With the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s approval, it conducts exams and distributes up-to-date publications on civil aviation, holds competitions, oversees and issues licenses, certifications and ratings, and, overall, sets the standards of operations. A Deed of Agreement with CASA enables the APF to help with safety and surveillance duties and set the standards for parachute rigger and packer in Australia.

When you opt for a skydiving experience, you will need to be registered with the APF. The cost of the membership is usually included in your package. You may get your membership prior to your dive or you can get it done with the help of the staff once you get to the dropzone facility.

Rules by APF for safe tandem skydiving

The Australian Parachute Federation has a number of rules to safeguard not only guests who participate in tandem skydiving but also the instructors of this adventure sport. Here are some tandem skydive safety measures that you should know about:

Pilot qualification
Aircraft specifications
Student parachutist specifications
Tandem-Master qualifications
  • The pilot of an aircraft from which the skydive is made must have at least a private pilot license or a commercial pilot license that is valid for that category of aircraft. 
  • They must have a parachutist certificate “D” or higher and in the absence of that, they must have a designated amount of experience as pilot in command.
  • The aircraft must only carry those with ASA endorsed parachutist licenses (apart from the crew), either student or higher level, and is certified to carry passengers in parachuting operations. 
  • It is also important that the aircraft is of such a kind that it doesn’t get damaged in any way due to parachute descent. It should also be able to operate with the door open or removed
  • It must also have provisions for safety harness, seat belt and single point restraint as well as supplemental oxygen.
  • Those making a descent from the aircraft must have an ASA Student Parachutist Licence. 
  • They must be over 16 and if there are participants who have not reached the age of consent of the particular State or Territory in which the dropzone falls, they must have a parent or legal guardian’s written permission. 
  • The parachutist must also understand and comply with the provisions of the parachute manufacturer’s instructions or directives regarding the use of the parachute.
  • Tandem-Masters must have a valid and current Instructor “T” (Tandem-Master) endorsement. 
  • They must not open the main parachute lower than 4000 feet above ground level. 
  • They should ensure that the participant is always either attached to a Tandem-Master or to a CASA approved restraint when inside the flight. 
  • They must brief participants in detail before the jump, in accordance with the Training Operations Manual. 
  • Before getting on the flight, the Tandem-Master must get his equipment checked by someone other than the person who packed the equipment. 
  • They must also not engage in canopy relative work or jump without equipment that has an operational Automatic Activation Device.

Important tips for ensuring tandem skydive safety

  • Wear comfortable and loose clothing while skydiving. Shoes must be covered. Hiking boots and heels are not allowed.
  • Stay hydrated and have a light meal before the dive. Make sure that you also get a good night’s sleep the night before.
  • If you have contact lenses or prescription glasses, you can wear them underneath your safety goggles.
  • Make sure to check your equipment thoroughly. If you have any doubts, do not hesitate to ask your instructor, especially during the briefing.
  • Listen to and communicate with your instructor well. They are there to ensure your safety and need active participation from you to do so.