Incoming Tide Survival


The team are stranded on a sand bank, they have just 30 minutes before the tide comes in. In order to survive they have to build structure that holds the entire team off the ground.

Equipment Required:

  • 3 x 2.4m poles
  • 3 x 1.5m poles
  • 4 x 3m ropes
  • 13 x climbing helmets

Space Required: Medium. Outdoors only.
Group Size: 8 to 16.

Total Time: 45 minutes

  • 5 minutes to brief and set up
  • 30 minutes to achieve outcome
  • 10 minutes to review

Incoming Tide Team Challenge Instructions

  • The team are stranded on a sand bank and the tide is coming in fast
  • The water will only rise to about 30cm deep but it is full of hungry piranhas so the whole team must get out of the water
  • A structure must be built to hold the whole team out of the water


  • Only use the equipment provided
  • No throwing or dropping of logs
  • No-one can be more than 50cm off the ground
  • The facilitator must inspect the structure before anyone can climb onto it
  • Within the task time limits the structure must be dismantled and left tidily for the next team



The key is to plan before they handle the equipment, and then to articulate their thoughts to other team members because they will not have paper.  If the team lay the 3 longer poles next to and on top of each other (as illustrated in diagram B), they can then tie a knot at the top.  Once the 3 logs are lifted into position and the legs opened, the knot will naturally become a lot tighter.  They can then lash the shorter poles into position.  Before they climb onto the structure, please thoroughly check it for stability.

Suggested Learning Outcomes

  • Leadership
  • Problem solving
  • Time management
  • Teamwork

Useful Tips

See if they can come up with another structure – remember to check that the structure is safe before they climb on it.

For adult groups, adapt the story of the challenge and change the difficulty by reviewing the scope of the task and increasing the height levels for the group.


Leave A Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Get 30 of our best Team Building Activities in one PDF eBook!