DofE Expedition Training Framework

For many DofE participants the expedition section may be seen as the most challenging part of the Award. To support the completion of this section DofE provide a comprehensive training framework for leaders and participants to use.

The framework can be used to plan training and final expeditions. Here at Mountain Water Expeditions we always adhere to this useful framework when working with client groups to plan for their needs.

The training framework is easy to follow. At the end of this document you will find downloadable PDF document for the Bronze, Silver and Gold sections of the Award. 

The DofE Expedition Training Framework is made up of the following sections:

  • First aid and emergency procedures
  • An awareness of risk and health and safety issues
  • Navigation and route planning 
  • Campcraft, equipment and hygiene
  • Food and cooking
  • Countryside, Highway and Water Sports Safety Codes
  • Observation recording and presentations
  • Team building 
  • Proficiency in the mode of travel 

Below is some extra information for different modes of travel if walking is not your choose method of travel.


  • Training to the three levels of the National Standard for Cycle Training, or an equivalent level of competence, to gain the basic skills and cycle maintenance experience and training programmes appropriate to the environment which the participant is cycling in. 
  • Understanding the spirit and content of the responsible cycling and code of behaviour guidance and have a thorough knowledge of the Mountain Bike Code. 
  • Maintenance and repair of the bicycle.
  • Loading a bicycle with equipment. 
  • Handling a loaded bicycle.
  • The skills associated with off-road cycling as appropriate.

Horse riding 

The horse-riding expedition training syllabus is set out in the DofE Training Framework for horseback expeditions.

Expeditions on water 

Training should be directed towards the completion of a journey on water and not restricted to the skills of handling the craft. It must be concerned with any potential hazards associated with the water on which the expedition will take place, as well as infections or health concerns related to any possible 

water pollution. Participants must be able to swim a distance of at least 25 metres in light clothing without any buoyancy aid and be competent and confident in the relevant capsize and recovery drill and man overboard drill.

All participants must: 

  • Wear appropriate buoyancy aids or lifejackets. Exceptions may be made, with the approval of the Licensed Organisation, for rowing expeditions on canals and rivers, and for sculling craft where traditionally, by custom and practice, life jackets are not usually worn, except on the instruction of the Cox. 
  • Wear suitable clothing and footwear. 
  • Be able to recognise and treat hypothermia/hyperthermia. 
  • Understand the Water Sports Safety Code. 
  • Be able to administer resuscitation on and in the water, as well as adjacent to it. 
  • All craft must have adequate buoyancy and be sound, suitable and fitted out for the conditions in which they are to be used. A suitable repair kit must be carried, and participants should be trained in its use.


All participants must be adequately trained to the requirements for paddle expeditions as set out in the DofE’s Expedition Guide. All participants must undergo training based on the Training Framework – core paddling skills.


All participants must complete training based on the Training Framework for boat work. Licensed Organisations may direct their participants to undergo training based on the training schemes of the Sea Cadets, Scouts or Girlguiding UK.

Sailing – dinghies and open keelboats 

All participants must be adequately trained to the requirements of the Training Framework for sailing expeditions. Participants should follow their Licensed Organisation’s guidance on any required level of RYA training or equivalent.

Sailing – yachts, multihulls and sail training vessels 

All participants must be adequately trained to the requirements of the Training Framework for sailing expeditions. Participants should follow their Licensed Organisation’s guidance on any required level of RYA training. The DofE recommends that all participants doing sailing expeditions complete RYA Seamanship as a minimum. It is common for participants to complete Day Skipper when doing expeditions in coastal and open sea environments.

DofE Expedition Training Framework

Mountain Water Expeditions is a DofE Approved Activity (AAP) for the Expedition section at all three levels of the award and the DofE residential section at gold level. 

We have over thirty years of experience of working with schools, colleges and other community-based groups providing DofE expeditions of all levels in the UK and overseas.

Mountain Water Expeditions has undergone external inspections from all the relevant authorities and has been successful in gaining an AALA license, DofE AAP licences for expeditions and the residential section and we hold the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality badge.

We are also approved to run leadership training from British Canoeing and Mountain Training and provide first aid training under the umbrella of Rescue and Emergency Care (REC).