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Commitment to Safety

In addition to the ice-worthiness of our ships, seasoned captains, expedition teams and crew, Quark Expedition's safety standards, training and equipment protocols are of utmost importance and in many cases set the standard for the industry:

  • We have one of the highest staff to passenger ratios 1:9.5
  • Every ship has two doctors onboard, one of whom is directly hired by Quark for  their international, wilderness and expedition medical experience
  • Our Expedition staff members are certified in CPR & life-saving skills
  • All Expedition staff have passed the IAATO Field Staff Assessment and participate in Quark Expeditions' unique internal training and accreditation scheme
  • Quark Expeditions' comprehensive Incident Management Plan is tested regularly
  • Our lifeboat and life-raft capacity exceeds SOLAS requirements such that there is always at least 25% additional capacity than the number of people onboard
  • Quark Expeditions does not use vessels with open lifeboats
  • Also exceeding SOLAS requirements is Quark Expeditions' policy of providing immersion suits for all passengers

International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators

IAATO is a member organization founded in 1991 to advocate, promote and practice safe and environmentally responsible private-sector travel to the Antarctic.

Since the beginning of the modern Antarctic tourism industry in 1969, the number of tourists in Antarctica has grown from a few hundred to more than 30,000 each year. Recognizing the potential environmental impacts that such growing numbers of tourism could cause, seven private tour operators conducting excursions in Antarctica joined together in 1991 to practice and promote safe and environmentally responsible travel in this remote, wild and delicate region of the world.

Currently, more than 100 Antarctica-bound outfitters are voluntary members of our organization, the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO). Together we have established extensive procedures and guidelines that ensure appropriate, safe and environmentally sound private-sector travel to the Antarctic: regulations and restrictions on numbers of people ashore; staff-to-passenger ratios; site-specific and activity guidelines; wildlife watching; pre- and post-visit activity reporting; passenger, crew and staff briefings; previous Antarctic experience for tour staff; contingency and emergency medical evacuation plans; and more.

IAATO is an industry group that has resolved to set the highest possible tourism operating standards in its effort to protect Antarctica. This effort is unique, and the challenge to maintain environmentally responsible tourism exists to this extent in no other region of the world. Our membership comprises ship operators, land-based operators, ship agents, travel agents, one government office and travel companies that charter ships and airplanes from existing operators.

The Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators

AECO – Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators – is an international association for expedition cruise operators operating in the Arctic and others with interests in this industry.

The association was founded in 2003 and has since become an  important organization representing the concerns and views of arctic expedition cruise operators. AECO is dedicated to managing responsible, environmentally friendly and safe tourism in the Arctic and strive to set the highest possible operating standards.

The association’s geographical range is considered to encompass the Arctic area north of 60 degrees north latitude. The core areas are Svalbard, Jan Mayen, Greenland, Arctic Canada and the national park “Russian Arctic”.