Safety Cultures in Water-Based Outdoor Activities in Denmark


  • Soren Andkjaer University of Southern Denmark
  • Jan Arvidsen University of Southern Denmark



outdoor education, outdoor recreation, friluftsliv, water-based activities, incidents, accidents, risk, safety culture


In this paper, we report on the study Safe in Nature (Tryg i naturen) in which the aim was to analyze and discuss risk and safety related to outdoor recreation in the coastal regions of Denmark. A cultural perspective is applied to risk management and the safety cultures related to three selected water-based outdoor activities: small boat fishing, sea kayaking, and kite surfing. The theoretical framework used was cultural analysis and the methodological approach was mixed methods using case studies with survey and qualitative interviews. The study indicates that safety is a complex matter and that safety culture can be understood as the sum and interaction among six categories. The safety culture is closely related to the activity and differs widely among activities. We suggest a broad perspective be taken on risk management wherein risk and safety can be managed at different levels. Small boat fishing is a critical example with obvious critical points according to risk management. We also present suggestions for improving safety in small boat fishing.






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