Swift Water Rescue

The club has a very active and aggressive safety training program for all members at any skill level.  We offer Swift Water Rescue (SWR) Training as part of the club’s overall safety program. Our courses are taught by current and qualified ACA Certified SWR Instructors and we typically have space for 15 students in each class.

2024 Course Dates

Will be announced soon. Dates are typically in mid-May and mid-August. Watch for announcements in the Newsletter, on Facebook, and right here on this page!

Skills You will Learn
  • What to do in an emergency while on the water
  • How to swim in actual whitewater conditions
  • Basic knots
  • First aid techniques
  • The principles of mechanical advantage
  • Proper gear fitting techniques
  • How to look after your paddle buddy while on the river.
The club NEEDS YOU and is WILLING TO INVEST IN YOU! If you attend the Club Sponsored SWR course, the club essentially picks up the bill for your training. In return, we ask you to help out at our club sponsored events (Paddle School, Rescue Rodeo, other SWR training courses, other club training events, demo days, triathlon support, and races).

Course Details

The course typically runs all weekend. It begins on Saturday morning and ends Sunday afternoon. The actual location won’t be announced until several weeks before the course as all of the good training rivers are very water-dependent in the summer. Plan on two full days of training. The typical training schedule will consist of classroom instruction in the morning followed by the practical application of your new skills on the water each afternoon. (The timeline will be water dependent, of course.) These training courses are held, rain or shine.  All classes are taught in a Challenge by Choice environment.

Prerequisites:  Participants should have been paddling for at least one full season and have attended the club’s RESCUE RODEO event before attending this course.  This course is NOT recommended for 1st year beginner or novice paddlers.  Cost: If  your club membership is up to date, there is no upfront reservation fee for this course .  You must contact the Safety Officer before attending.  No walk-ons are permitted.
Depending on the location, camping is usually available near the training site.

Basic SWR Equipment Required for the Clinic:
  1. Helmet designed for whitewater paddling (biking, climbing, and construction helmets are not acceptable)
  2. USCG approved PFD (Personal Flotation Device) Type III or V designed for whitewater paddling.
  3. Closed toe river shoes; sneakers are OK. Sandals and neoprene socks are not acceptable, as the risk of foot/toe injury is too high.
  4. Throw rope, at least 50 ft and preferably 70 ft or longer. The Sterling, Dyeema, and Spectra rope materials are better choices than Polypropylene ropes. Ropes with a diameter of 5/16 to 3/8 inch are better choices than ¼”  ropes.
  5. Two locking carabiners. Standard screw type locking carabiners are preferred over the auto-locking type.
  6. 15-20 feet of 1″ tubular nylon webbing
  7. Two 6-ft pieces of 5-6 MM prussic cord. Parachute cord does not qualify as prussic cord.

Note: A climbing or whitewater store will normally have these items in stock.

Bring Your Boating Gear – Boat, Paddle, PFD, Helmet, Spray Skirt (the essential five). We will be doing a session on boat-based rescues. Keep in mind that this is not a river trip. Bring river and shore clothing appropriate for the weather. Neoprene is a good option to reduce the possibility of bruising caused by contact with rocks during the class. As always, avoid cotton as this is notoriously the worst choice for river wear.

You will need to bring lunch, water, and snacks each day. The teaching sites are not close to stores or eateries and drinking water is not available on location.


If you are interested in attending a TVCC Swift Water Rescue Training Course or would like more information on this or any of our other river safety courses, please contact the TVCC Safety Officer, Safety@tvccpaddler.com or Info@tvccpaddler.com