Swift Water Rescue Courses


This 8-hour seminar introduces personnel to the problems associated with water rescue as well as the procedures to follow in flash flood, large-scale disaster, and seasonal flooding situations.  The course is designed to develop knowledge in the areas of:

  • Scene Assessment
  • Incident Sizeup (both existing and potential conditions)
  • Resource Ordering
  • Activation Procedures for Rescue Response
  • Site Control and Scene Management
  • Hazard Recognition and Mitigation Procedures
  • Bank-based throw rope rescue techniques

In order to accomplish the responsibilities of the awareness level responder, the course also provides students with a conceptual understanding of the principles, applications, and hazards associated with advanced water rescue techniques.


Swift Water Rescue Operations is a course designed to provide students with both a theoretical and practical knowledge of the basics of Swift Water Rescue.  The class includes one day of classroom instruction and one day of practical field exercise.  Students are trained in self rescue, hazard recognition, equipment use, and basic shore- and boat-based rescue techniques, as well as a wide variety of other skills.  After completing this course, personnel will also be able to be in the support role for technician level rescuers in higher risk technical water rescues.

Technician Level I

The Swift Water Rescue Technician Level I is our most popular course.  This course provides rescuers with the fundamentals of survival in moving water and is recommended for anyone who may be called upon to perform in-water rescues.  Students gain knowledge in hydrology and river classifications, size-up, site control, and scene management.  Practical skills include self-rescue, swiftwater swimming and the fundamentals of shore, boat, and in-water rescues.  Additionally, students are introduced to the basics of boat handling and the fundamentals of rope rescue, including mechanical advantage and anchor systems.

Technician Level II

This course incorporates techniques learned in Swift Water Technician Level I and Technical Rope Rescue courses, taking the students beyond the importance of self-rescue to focus on victim rescue.  Students are exposed to more complex water rescue situations, including mock river rescue scenarios.  The three day course includes 4-6 hours of classroom instruction, followed by two and one-half days of hands-on skill development.  Students are introduced to the role and operation of numerous skills in river and flood rescue, including:

  • Rope Systems
  • Management of Litter & Patient Raising Systems
  • Highline Systems
  • Advanced River Search Concepts
  • Performing rescues at night or in low visibility
  • Basic Flood Disaster Management

Completion of the Swift Water Technician Level II course along with the Swift Water Technician Level I and Technical Rope Rescue: Technician Level courses satisfies the requirement outlined in NFPA 1670 Surface/Swift Water Technician Level.  This qualifies graduates to operate on a Swift Water/Flood search and rescue team according to NFPA.

Rescue Boat Operator

This course is designed to introduce students to boat operation on swift water.  During the course, students gain experience reading moving water and operating boats in current.  Using both a motor and paddles, students will practice such skills as use and avoidance of hydraulics, ferrying across current, and obstacle navigation.  Students will practice in class I and II whitewater, then progress to operating both up and down stream in class III and above whitewater.  Other exercises include night operation scenarios and multiple boat operations.  Classes can be designed to fit the exposure range as specified by the HHJ.  Special problems such as low-head dams, exceptional hydraulics, debris piles, etc, can be addressed specifically for protocol development.


This track is for students who want to teach swift water rescue training.  Instructors at this level can teach courses up to the awareness and operations level.

Upon graduation from this course, you will enjoy membership in an elite group of individuals known worldwide for their technical expertise and instructional abilities.

As a water rescue instructor, you will become part of a network with an ongoing commitment of keeping in touch with the current trends and techniques important to contemporary professionals in the field.