Level 4: Swiftwater Rescue

The Swiftwater Rescue workshop teaches recognition and avoidance of common river hazards, execution of selfrescue techniques, and rescue techniques for paddlers in distress. Emphasis is placed both on personal safety and on simple, commonly used skills. Techniques for dealing with hazards that carry greater risks for both victim and rescuer, such as strainers, rescue vest applications, entrapments, and pins, also are practiced. Scenarios will provide an opportunity for participants to practice their skills both individually and within a team/group context.

This two-day comprehensive workshop includes hands-on practice time and advanced rescue techniques. Information is tied together at the end of the course with a mock rescue scenario. Course objectives will include:

  • Promote proactive prevention of river accidents and injuries
  • Develop and practice key self-rescue skills
  • Identify and avoid river hazards by understanding hydrology, hazards, and river features
  • Focus on fast, low-risk strategies for early management of river accidents
  • Develop and practice methods for recovering swimmers, and loose boats and equipment
  • Develop and practice more advanced rope-based and in-water skills
  • Gain experience using the rescue PFD, and understand it’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Utilize rescue scene management principles needed within a paddling group
Course Length: 
16 Hours (2 Days)
Prerequisites: 
  • Be able to independently participate in all individual skills and activities listed in the course outline while also maintaining an appropriate and safe body position
  • Be able to hold their breath while under water and, while in the water wearing a properly fitted lifejacket, be able to independently turn from a face down to a face up position keeping their head above water
  • Be able to effectively communicate with the instructor and other course participants
  • Be able to manage all personal care independently, or with the assistance of a companion
  • Be able to manage all personal mobility independently, or with the assistance of a companion
  • Comfort in class II whitewater preferred
Primary Classification: 
Certifications Received: 

None

Personal Gear: You must provide these items!

  • Personal Flotation Device
  • Type III or V, should allow freedom of movement
  • Head Protection
  • Should provide adequate protection for the forehead, temples, ears, and the back of the head
  • Cold Protection
  • Wetsuit or Drysuit, Polypro, Splash gear
  • Foot protection
  • Sturdy footwear providing protection from sharp rocks and other debris while providing some thermal protection. NO Sandals – use an old pair of sneakers

While not required, it is suggested that all ACA members acquire the rest of this basic equipment over time:

Basic Rescue Gear:

  • Rope
  • Throw bag containing 70' of 3/8" or larger floating line. Needs to be constructed as a kernmantle braid, A Spectra core has considerable strength advantage
  • Knife. Easily accessible knife which can be opened/prepared with one hand, stainless steel blade, and rubberized hand grip
  • Whistle. A loud plastic whistle which can be heard at long distances over noise of rapids
  • First Aid Kit. A well stocked kit should include at least bandaging and splinting supplies, cold packs, latex gloves, CPR microshield, emergency food (sugar/candy). Should be stored in a water-tight bag

Technical Rescue Gear:

  • Webbing. A 10-15' length of 1"/4,000 lb. test, tubular nylon webbing tied in a loop
  • Carabiners. Two locking AD aluminum carabiners rated in excess of 5,000 lb. tensile strength
  • Prussik Loops
  • Two prussik loops large enough to tie a triple wrapped prussik knot on a 1/2" rope. Prussiks should have a tensile strength of at least 4,000 lb., yet their diameter should be between 5.5 and 7 mm

For the ACA’s speci!c eligibility requirements, go to: http://www.americancanoe.org/?page=EEC

Course Objectives:

  • Promote proactive prevention of river accidents and injuries.
  • Develop and practice key self-rescue skills.
  • Identify and avoid river hazards by understanding hydrology, hazards, and river features.
  • Focus on fast, low-risk strategies for early management of river accidents
  • Develop and practice methods for recovering swimmers, and loose boats and equipment
  • Develop and practice more advanced rope-based and in-water skills
  • Gain experience using the rescue PFD, and understand it’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Utilize rescue scene management principles needed within a paddling group

Students who are active ACA members at the time of their course can request a Skills Assessment from their instructor.

Because of commuting time to and from river sites, participants should plan to pack their lunches each day, to maximize time in class. Bringing plenty of snacks and water, layers and dry clothes is important, as folks get cold each afternoon with the amount of time in the water practicing skills. Please review the ACA Gear List to best prepare for a comfortable experience.

There are no examination requirements at the close of this course, however attendance, participation, acquisition of skills, and ability to work in a group will be monitored throughout the course.

Class will end between 5PM and 6PM on the last day of the course. Please do not plan to leave before then, or make travel plans requiring an earlier departure or you will risk certi!cation.

Offerings

Cullowhee, North Carolina

Sat, 2017-07-15 to Sun, 2017-07-16

Course Details