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Geocachers' Code of Conduct

Background Information

The 'Geocachers' Code' is a voluntary code describing how geocachers in general should behave. It's designed to introduce new players to the ethos of the geocaching community and to guide experienced players in questionable situations. The code is independent of the GAGB and the geocache listing sites.

The Geocachers' Code.

Safe - Legal - Ethical

When placing or seeking geocaches, I will:

  • Like any outdoor activity, geocaching involves some inherent risk and many geocachers enjoy manageable risks. Minimize inordinate risks.
  • When creating a geocache, describe any hidden dangers and, if possible, arrange the hunt to minimize these dangers.
  • When seeking a geocache, know your limitations and be aware of your surroundings. Don't attempt anything beyond your abilities.
  • A geocache you own, or one you're trading out of, could be found by children or even a prisoner work crew – consider the location of the geocache and those likely to find it when deciding what to leave as a trade item.

  • Don't break the law or rules of an area, or encourage others to do so, when placing or seeking a geocache.
  • Don't leave illegal items in a geocache.

  • Seek permission on all private property that's not generally open to public access.
  • Check if public land has a geocaching policy and respect existing policies.
  • Promptly remove your geocache if the land manager or steward asks.
  • Do not damage or interfere with buildings, structures, or signage.

  • Don't place a geocache near schools or government buildings unless the administration and staff placement.
  • Use caution where children play. Parents are understandably concerned when strangers are near their children.
  • Don't place a geocache near critical infrastructure that might be considered a terrorist target, or create a geocache that could be mistaken for a terrorist device (e.g. a pipe bomb).

  • Follow Leave No Trace ethics whenever possible.
  • Practice ‘Lift, Look, Replace’ – put all stones or logs back where you found them. Leave the area as you found it or better (e.g. pick up litter)
  • Obtain the best possible coordinates for your geocache to reduce unwarranted wear on the area. Recheck and correct your coordinates if finders report significant errors.
  • Do not abandon a geocache.
  • If you stop maintaining a geocache, remove the container, archive its listing and explain the disposition of the geocache in your archive note, or put it up for adoption or rescue.
  • If you de-list a geocache on one host, but keep it on another, make sure you mention this in the archive note to prevent rescues of active geocaches.

  • Treat other geocachers civilly – in the field, in the forums, or wherever your paths may cross.
  • Don't spoil the hunt for others – allow them to experience the geocache as its owner intended.
  • Avoid leaving tracks to the geocache. Do not disrupt the cache area or mark the hiding spot.
  • Minimize giving unsolicited clues that reveal the geocache (i.e. ‘spoilers’)
  • Don't provide any hints if the geocache description asks you not to. In all other cases, be cryptic or encrypt any hints or spoilers you enter in online logs.
  • Edit the log if the geocache owner requests you to remove spoilers.
  • Promptly alert the owner of any issues with their geocache. Make minor repairs if you can, it will save the owner a trip.
  • Geocache owners appreciate feedback – write an online log, send an email, or otherwise let the owner know about your experience with their geocache.
  • If you exchange trade items, trade kindly: Consider what future finders would like and leave something equal to or better than what you take.
  • Move travelling items toward their goal if possible. Contact the owner if you hold a travelling item for more than a couple of weeks or so.
  • Only place caches you can maintain and respond promptly to problem reports.
  • Obtain permission from the originator before copying unique themes and techniques, adding to an existing series of caches, or placing a geocache close to another.

  • The owner entrusts you to not damage or jeopardize the geocache. Try to ensure the geocache is ready for the next finder and is as good or better than you found it.
  • Make sure the container is properly closed to prevent the contents from getting wet or destroyed.
  • Be inconspicuous in retrieving, signing in, and replacing a geocache to avoid vandalism.
  • Put the geocache back where you found it and hide it well. Don't move a geocache to match your reading – if you suspect the geocache is not in the intended spot, hide it the best you can and alert the owner as soon as possible.
  • Don't collect travelling items meant to stay in the game. This is tantamount to stealing.
  • Don't tamper with or involve a game piece in “alternate” games without the owner's permission.
The Geocachers' Code was developed in a public forum by over 35 geocachers, with CoyoteRed and Kai Team serving as editors.

The Countryside Code

The Countryside Code applies to all parts of the countryside in England and Wales, aiming to help you respect, protect and enjoy the countryside and enabling you to get the most out of your visit.

It provides you with helpful advice about:

Learn more from these leaflets - Countryside Code, The Trail Users Code and also a useful Dog Walking Code.