Geocaching is a fun treasure hunt game for those who love the thrill of travel, exploration and discovery. If you are new to geocaching it can be exciting at first. But it takes just a little while for newbies to start wondering whether or not geocaching is safe. Here in this article, I will be explaining to you just that.
When searching for a geocache, natural conditions like adverse weather, flash flood, scorching heat of the sun, adverse terrain can cause serious harm, even death. Other than that, in urban areas road traffic accidents, burglary, robbery can also occur. However, these issues can be mitigated if you are well aware of your surroundings and follow proper guidelines.
There’s a lot more to know about possible risks and safety measures of geocaching. If you are still concerned about the level of safety of geocaching please read this article till the end. I will also provide you some tips on how to avoid most of these safety hazards. So, if you are thinking about getting into geocaching or already doing it this article is a must read.
Is Geocaching Safe?
Geocaching is like a treasure hunt. But in this case, you are equipped with modern technologies like a global positioning system (GPS), internet, specific coordinates, etc. There are dedicated websites for geocaching where you find coordinates for geocaches. You don’t get to take what you find. You put it back in its place after inscribing it in the specified notebook or page.
Just like the old days of treasure hunting, geocaching is not 100 percent safe. Of course, unlike old times, you can call for emergencies or use first aid kits in minor accidents. Even then, you cannot deem it completely safe and sound. The emergency service can be miles away or you might have an injury that is fatal and untreatable.
There are three types of safety issues to be specific. Self-injury, violation of the law, and putting others in harm’s way. Remote places like forests, canyons, deserts, etc. are the most likely places to get injured. You can fall off of a cliff, stung by venomous snakes in the deserts, or be attacked by ferocious animals.
If you are too succumbed to finding the cache, you may drive irresponsibly violating traffic laws. Thus, putting others in harm’s way and possible life and death situations. Also, specific areas have laws against loitering and jaywalking. You might be confronted by local law enforcement personnel which might be inconvenient.
So, it can be said that geocaching has safety concerns just like other outdoor activities. With proper responsibilities and care, anyone can enjoy safe and sound geocaching.
Possible Safety Issues
If you want to geocache safely, you have to know some possible safety concerns in order to overcome them. Following are the most common safety issues of geocaching:
Doing something stupid and injuring yourself is probably the most important safety issue you need to be aware of.
Trying to climb something without proper gear or precaution, carelessly strolling through steep, rocky, muddy or mountainous terrain, heading into wild territory – all of this can be deadly.
- Violation of Laws
Some areas might have specific laws addressing geocaching. Being unaware of those can get you into legal trouble.
Also, you might unwittingly break some traditional laws like running red lights, excessive speeding, intruding into personal properties, etc. Harmless fun and games can turn into serious legal trouble in a blink of an eye.
- Harming Others
If you are driving while on your phone checking the coordinates, you can easily run someone over. Running red lights can cause head-on collisions.
Sometimes, altercations have known to have taken place over the possession of a particular geocache. These regrettable and unfortunate situations are not desired by anyone.
- Raising Suspicion
People don’t take kindly to strangers. Even if it’s a harmless game of treasure hunt, not everyone knows it.
People might find it alarming that a bunch of strangers lurking around their backyard, looking for something. Especially elderlies might get freaked out and call the police. Also, parents concerned for their children might get frightened.
- Indifference Towards Alarming Situations
This is the exact opposite of the previous one. People might mistake possible foul play with geocaching.
Thieves or home intruders might get away due to this misunderstanding. Theft, robbery can easily take place due to the indifference towards suspicious activities.
- Unintentional Vandalism
This is the most common of them all. Often people start digging private properties for either hiding geocaches or finding one.
This is a clear act of vandalism and might get you in trouble. Even in government properties, arbitrary digging can cut gas lines, water pipes, and other essential utilities.
How to Geocache Safely?
We have to face some obstacles in everything we do. Backing off is not the solution. Rather we will have to find ways to overcome them. So, here are some tips on geocaching safely:
Stay with Friends
As I said before, people don’t take kindly to strangers. But if you are with your entourage, it may be a bit easy to convince people what you are doing.
In remote areas, staying in groups will save you from muggers, snatchers, etc. Also, wild animals tend to attack individual people rather than a group of peoples.
Inform Local Authorities
If you are looking for a cache in a particular neighborhood, informing the local police beforehand might be a good idea.
Obtaining written permission can also save you from a lot of troubles. You can show it to anyone suspicious of your activities to ease things up. If someone calls the cops without you knowing, it will act as a ‘get out of jail free’ card.
Be Responsible for Your Surroundings
Stay diligent with things around you. Be careful not to damage any utility line while digging. Also, when placing a geocache, do not put it in a place that might damage important structures at the time of retrieving.
Don’t go around breaking tree branches or stomping gardens when looking for a cache. Take care of things around you.
Do not put on a grim attitude. Talk to people around you. If people are suspicious of you, help them wear that off. Ask them for directions, let them know about this modern-day treasure hunt.
Don’t be afraid to talk to local police either. If they ask you, be frank. Tell them what you are doing. Talk your way out of trouble.
Call in Anything Suspicious
When passing idle time, don’t assume everyone acting weird is looking for a cache. Thieves might take the opportunity to pose as a geocacher and empty houses in the neighborhood.
Keep your eyes and ears peeled. As you are a geocacher yourself, it’s easier for you to know a thief from a geocacher. Don’t hesitate to call the police.
Respect Local Laws
Make sure you are aware of local laws. Laws are different in every state, country and place. Some places are just more kind to people snooping around then others.
So, make sure you do some proper research on the place you are going for geocaching before actually doing it. Trespassing into restricted areas and getting jailed is the last thing you’d want to do in your geocaching adventure.
So, is geocaching safe? As you can see geocaching can be fun, exciting and safe if you know what you are doing. But it can be dangerous as well. And just keeping the dangers in mind is the first step of ensuring your safety while you’re out treasure hunting.
In this article, I have addressed safety issues of geocaching and stated some possible situations that you would want to avoid. Furthermore, I’ve also mentioned some ways to stay safe while geocaching. If you have read this far, you should probably know by now the fundamental safety issues of geocaching and how to overcome them. Happy geocaching!