View Poll Results: Rescue certs or not?
rescue 3 3 15.79%
ACA 9 47.37%
other 5 26.32%
just like to watch and take video 2 10.53%
Voters: 19. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-07-2007   #11
Lakewood, Colorado
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 504
Another plug for Mike. I took his class last year and will take it again this year. Well worth the time and money.

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Old 01-08-2007   #12
raftus's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,128

I took a SWR class in Alaska that was Rescue III certified. I had a good background in climbing and from being a rope course instructor. However I still learned a lot of new things that were river specific and that I would probably never practice outside of a class.

How many people have practiced contact rescue swims and tethered rescuer swimmer rescues? Two summers ago I had to perform a contact rescue on a river trip - something that I never wanted to do and hope to never do again. The experience I gained in SWR class was invaluable as I knew how to do this with the highest level of safety possible.

There was also practical things like learning how to set up multi-point self equalizing anchors off of flimsy things like willows - I wouldn't think you could pull 800 lbs with a few little willows as your anchor - but you can.

In short there are a lot of things you learn here that you probably won't learn elsewhere. It is well worth the money.

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Old 01-08-2007   #13
Gnarnia, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 651
As an ACA SWR rescue instructor since '97, I'd highly recommend SWR training for ANY paddler, class V or not. The majority of problems I've seen on rivers over the past decade could have been avoided for the most part with some basic SWR knowledge. While you can't easily teach "river sense", you can teach hard skills and decision making which can both be invaluable when something goes wrong.

I've taken (and taught) all levels of ACA SWR, and they've all been well worth the time, cost and effort. I've also taken Rescue 3 SRT 1, which was a great course. Any or all of these would be excellent.

There are a few great books out there as well. Whitewater Rescue Manual: New Techniques for Canoeists, Kayakers, and Rafters by Charles Walbridge and Wayne A. Sundmache is an excellent resource.

Not only is taking a course a solid idea, having the right rescue gear on hand is a must - biners, pulleys, ropes, knife, first aid kit, etc. You can't effect a rescue if you don't have the gear. This doesn't mean that you have to have a fully loaded boat since much of the gear you're probably already carrying can pull double duty in the event of a rescue.

If there are enough people interested, I'd be willing to teach a one-day ACA SWR course on the South Platte this spring for a very reasonable rate. The more folks on the water that have SWR training, the better. If interested, send me a PM.

Remember, people die on class II water so the best thing any paddler can do is be prepared for the worst, hope for the best and use your head, which is the best piece of equipment any paddler can have...
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Old 01-13-2007   #14
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 18
Originally Posted by mjpowhound
Another plug for Mike. I took his class last year and will take it again this year. Well worth the time and money.
I'm glad to hear others do this. I like to take a SWR class every year or two. Might try to catch up w/ Mike Mather. He's all over the country giving class after class.
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Old 01-13-2007   #15
WhiteLightning's Avatar
Eagle County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 928
I second (or fourth) on Mather. Every time this comes up, I chime in. Highly recommended.
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Old 02-28-2007   #16
Focus on your own damn family, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 241
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Old 02-28-2007   #17
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 831
Yep, I took one of Mike Mather's multiday courses last year and it was excellent. I'm going to take another one every few years or so.

I don't think that calling rescue courses expensive makes much sense. I lose, destroy, or wear out several hundred dollars worth of gear each season. Last year it was more like $2000 and a broken neck that cost $250,000. A good class is a few hundred bucks. Your buddy's lives are priceless. The class is more for your paddle partners than for you.
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Old 03-01-2007   #18
Matt J's Avatar
Leadvillian, Colorado
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 381
I took Rescue 3 about five years ago with Bill Dvorjak and Terry McShane, both very experienced river runners and teachers. I was impressed with the class and as it was my first experience with Swiftwater I learned a lot. I think they continue to teach in Colorado, and I would say you couldn't go wrong with exposing yourself to their class.

Several years later I took another three day course that was conducted as an overnighter by New Zealand's professional association of raft guides. The kiwi's are a lot more aggressive with their rescue techniques and although I didn't fully adopt some of their strategies I was equally as impressed with the professionalism and gravity they apply to rescues.

It seems to me the more you learn the more likely you are to adopt your own strategy. I, like a lot of you, have been on both sides of the "rope" when it comes to potentially life saving rescues and couldn't say enough for not only the practice a class affords, but also for the skills and concepts that are tought. It seems that our community, like avalanche education, is moving away from theoritical debates over types of certs or techniques that confuse and disenfranchise beginners, and moving towards a more healthy approach of encouraging any kind of participation.
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Old 03-01-2007   #19
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 174
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Took a class a few years back with Dick something or other at Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center. Very good class, highly reccommended, they know their stuff and have been around for a long time meeting the old school requirement someone had on this thread.

You'll love the story behind the foot entrapment video they show - classic.

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