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I am interested in hearing from those of you in the community who have taken swiftwater rescue. What did you love about the course? What did you dislike? What do you wish you had done/focused more on? What were you hoping to get out of the course that you didn't get? Now that it has been some time...what stuck with you and how was it taught?
Thanks!
 

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I am interested in hearing from those of you in the community who have taken swiftwater rescue. What did you love about the course? What did you dislike? What do you wish you had done/focused more on? What were you hoping to get out of the course that you didn't get? Now that it has been some time...what stuck with you and how was it taught?
Thanks!
I took a swift water rescue two day course last spring in white salmon, wa. The instructors were super professional and the class well done. I’ve worked in the fire service 15 years so I have some of the rope stuff dialed,so that was a half day of review. The class covered a little reading water, a lot of swimming in swift water, doing rescues using reach throw go, some live bait stuff, exiting and assisting exiting strainers, a lot of rope bag work. Although I got a ton out of the class all the skill work was geared toward rescue. I would have liked something more along the lines of a class for beginner multi day trip taker like myself. Things like risk mitigation, more reading water and dangerous features of rapids, trip planning, rafting with kids, unpinning boats, flipping boats, etc.

I know you can’t train for it all and experience counts for a lot, but I would say a class or two is worth it!
 

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My wife and I took a class on the Kern river which we both really enjoyed. Honestly, I didn't really learn all that much as far as rope work and techniques that I wasn't already familiar with but we did get to practice some of those techniques and that is always good. What we were looking for was comfort in the water. I love being on the water but if I'm swimming I probably flipped my boat or Temps are 100 plus. The other thing we were looking for was my wife to be better able to assist in a rescue situation. Overall it was great and we did get out of it exactly what we wanted. I recommend every boater take one.
 

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A swim last summer got me thinking about refreshing my SWR...I took a course awhile ago with Downstream Edge (unfortunately they are not around anymore). It was an ACA level 4 2-day course. The class was divided between a group of kayakers and a group of rafters (I was in the rafter group).
The first day involved some rope work skills, swimming rapids and then combining the two to practice throw-bagging skills.
The morning of the second day involved the rafting group unpinning a 13' raft that the instructor lodged on a rock in the middle of the river...z-drag setup...rescue swimmer with rescue vest being "lowered" to the pinned boat, attaching the haul line to the raft....folks on shore z-dragging the boat off of the rock.
The remainder of the day involved a number of situational exercises related to rescuing swimmers. At this point the instructors would intentionally have a safety kayaker take a swim and see how the group reacted to the situation...

All in all a good course. If I had it to do over again, I would have liked to spend some time with the type 5 rescue vest...
Hoping to find a similar class for 2022 season...
 

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.rescue swimmer with rescue vest being "lowered" to the pinned boat, attaching the haul line to the raft....folks on shore z-dragging the boat off of the rock.
Live bait exercises like this are most valuable, as is the entire class. Most already have an idea of how to handle ropes, but for me anyway, the in the water stuff, makes you more comfortable in the water, is what many lack. Totally worth taking the class. Here in Colorado there are many to choose from.
Online even

https://whitewatercolorado.com › about › river-safety-training

https://southwestrescue.com

https://coloradowhitewater.org › safety


https://swiftwatersafetyinstitute.com

https://rmoc.com › certification-courses › swift-water-rescue
 
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I agree with everything you said above. I took a class from WRI about eight years ago. Nothing stuck out as being necessary, so to that end, can’t think of when we would have had time for anything else.
I would have liked something more along the lines of a class for beginner multi day trip taker like myself. Things like risk mitigation, more reading water and dangerous features of rapids, trip planning, rafting with kids, unpinning boats, flipping boats, etc.

I know you can’t train for it all and experience counts for a lot, but I would say a class or two is worth it!
Also agree with this comment. I think it’s a different class than your typical white water rescue class, but would be very valuable.
 

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I agree with everything you said above. I took a class from WRI about eight years ago. Nothing stuck out as being necessary, so to that end, can’t think of when we would have had time for anything else.

Also agree with this comment. I think it’s a different class than your typical white water rescue class, but would be very valuable.
It’s funny I catch myself trying to prepare and PLAN everything! Doesn’t the adventure begin when the end is unknown?
 

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It’s funny I catch myself trying to prepare and PLAN everything! Doesn’t the adventure begin when the end is unknown?
Indeed, it never hurts to expect the unexpected, but life is a journey, it's not all about the destination, it's about the trip
 

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There are many useful skills you will get out of a Swiftwater course, but I really agree with Rick A in that I think the most important one is understanding and getting used to swimming in whitewater. We all know that when, not if, we "F" up and end up in the water, 90 percent of the time we will have to swim the rapid and probably self rescue. Being somewhat comfortable with how little bouyancy you will have and knowing when to breathe in airated water is hugely important. I've seen some very freaked out people after a swim which really wasn't that bad and has quickly removed the joy of this sport. Take the Course and bring the whole family. You will all get a great deal from it.
 

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Kayaking Unkar rapid on the Grand I had a bad swim. I got side surfed into a violent little eddy near the top, where I dumped and could not hang onto my paddle. It took several circuits around the eddy to figure out that there was a rock near the bottom, and two tries to push off it with my feet to get tumbled back into the current. The last raft in out group was nearby, and the passenger was yelling at me to swim to them. The rower was busy avoiding rocks. I got enough air to yell "rope" and the by the second throw I was very happy to grab it and get towed aboard.
I love you all, rafters! But please have your passengers drill with a throw rope. Practice getting it unclipped and throwing it. We will all do something stupid at some point, right? But a throw rope could pull us out into sweet safety, something to be very thankful for.
 

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We will all do something stupid at some point, right?
Truer words have never been spoken. On a grand trip, I usually have throw rope practice at Lees while waiting for this, that and the other to happen. EVERYONE throws the rope a couple times, if you can find a stick to throw in the current as a "target" that helps. One admonition I give amongst the folks newer to rafting, is one rope at a time. If that fails, THEN throw a second one. Too many instances of 3 or 4 folks throwing a rope simultaneously creating a clusterf*ck of tangled ropes.
 

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It's totally worth it. The company I guide for requires it, and I'm really thankful for the training. As others have said, swimming rapids is probably the most valuable part. Also, some of the exercises where we cross rapids as a group were also valuable.

Overall, I would highly recommend it.
 

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I am interested in hearing from those of you in the community who have taken swiftwater rescue. What did you love about the course? What did you dislike? What do you wish you had done/focused more on? What were you hoping to get out of the course that you didn't get? Now that it has been some time...what stuck with you and how was it taught?
How about your experiences, KC?
 

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I am interested in hearing from those of you in the community who have taken swiftwater rescue. What did you love about the course? What did you dislike? What do you wish you had done/focused more on? What were you hoping to get out of the course that you didn't get? Now that it has been some time...what stuck with you and how was it taught?
Thanks!
OP, you seem to start threads but never really offer a lot of response. What gives?
 

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I took the course in Yakima Wa. when I was a baby boater back in the mid 90's, great course, learning z-drags was fun and the demo set up about "strainers" was a eye opener. If you don't keep practicing z-drags the memory and know how fades. The only time in 30 years I've used my rock blocks was to tie to a cliff for shade when it was 100* degrees out. The dry drowning segment was useful because years later I ate it running Granite on the Colorado, had the swim of my life and because of training and being in shape I knew how to get through it. I am probably due for a refresher course. Everybody should take the course, it opens your eyes to what you might face and kicks you in the ass to take running rivers seriously.
 
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