I got my swiftwater rescue training from dvorak
expeditions. It was great!!! I highly recommend it.
here's a link to their swiftwater rescue website.
They are in Nathrop, Colorado and the class is done on
There are a LOT of different swiftwater courses. Many
are not sanctioned by any governing body and thus vary
in their quality. This one is very high quality and
sanctioned by Rescue 3 which is a nationally
recognized organization for swiftwater courses. ACA courses are great too, or so i've heard.
from the website:
"Rescue 3, the global leader in white water and
swiftwater rescue training, rescue and instruction,
has created nationally certified courses, setting
standards for water and river safety. The Rescue 3
program was developed by active professionals - search
and rescue, paramedics, scuba instructors, lifeguards,
white water rafting guides and outfitters, police and
fire fighters, with among them over 100 years of
cumulative white water experience. The program meets
the requirements of the NFPA 1670 Standard."
I am a rafter (and a raft guide sometimes) as well as a kayaker, so it was good for me to have both kayaking and rafting rescue echniques included. I feel that many of the skills we learned were applicable to both kayaks and rafts. And we did learn techniques on freeing a pinned kayak and a foot entrapped victim, as well as practicing swimming over strainers (hard!!!), rescuing someone stuck on a strainer, rescuing someone whose boat is caught in a lowhead dam, catching eddies while swimming, and swimming out to rescue someone while attached by rope to shore. We also covered vertical pins, tossing throw ropes, flipping rafts, recognizing hypothermia, and more. Yes, we learned pig rigs too. It was 30 hours of class, and I felt like I learned a LOT.
By the way, I'm not a creeker either, I assume creekers may have even trickier rescue situations that I may on my class 3 rivers, so it is possible additional skills are required. But I do think that my class prepared me to handle just about any situation I may encounter.
I aso want to put a plug in for getting Wilderness First Responder certification. I got mine from First Lead (www.firstlead.com
), and another great organization is Wilderness Medicine Institute, which is part of NOLS. http://wmi.nols.edu/
is their website. It's a 70-90 hour course and isn't just for trips far in the backcountry. You learn to improvise with the materials on hand (for example making a backboard out of paddles and a throwbag), as well as more traditional medical techniques. I (luckily) haven't had to use it yet for anything other than splinting a broken toe. but I felt like the course was well worth the time and money.
Check it out!!