August 2016 Swiftwater Rescue

The club sponsored its Fall Spring Swift Water Rescue (SWR) Course on August 13th and 14th, held this year on the Ocoee River.  It was an incredible training event! 16 of our club members swam the Ocoee River both days of training, becoming more confident in their ability to swim in Whitewater Conditions and tackle hard problems that could occur on any paddling trip.  We had students come from every cross section of the club – white-water paddlers; flat-water paddlers, both very-experienced paddlers and relative newbies.  Every one of them graduated a more confident and competent club member.  Jay Wright, Mike Shillinger, Bruce Foster, LaDawn Wolfe, Chad Christopher, Tyson Capehart, Rachel Roman, and Paul Moyle, our SWR instructors, trained the students on Rescue Philosophy, Basic Rescue Equipment, Rescue Rope Throwing, Ropes & Knots, Mechanical Advantage, Wading, Hand of God Rescues, White Water Swimming, Contact Rescues, Strainer Engagement, and Self Rescue Techniques. Sunday afternoon, the students participated in rescue scenarios and this was clearly the highlight of the student’s training. The latest graduates of the TVCC Swift Water Rescue training course are: Dave Adkins, David Atchison, Emily Martin, Stuart McKee, Adam Snider, Stacee Irwin, James Martin, Allison Reddington, Steve Barbian, Katie Beaty, Rebecca Hendrix, Abby Norman, Brandon Boggess, Robert Haile, Caesar Ong, & Ben Johnson.


We also need to thank our hero, Ben Johnson, for providing his personal “UBER TRAILER” that served as our shuttle vehicle for the weekend.  Ben drove his truck and trailer and shuttled the ENTIRE CLASS in ONE TRIP to the put-in.  This saved valuable training time so we were able to execute more training.  THANK YOU BEN!


Several quotes from our students from this course:


From an old timer:  “The TVCC SWR class was amazing!  I personally feel much more prepared to respond safely and effectively to a rescue situation and more knowledgeable about the tools that I carry on the river. Thank you SWR instructors and thank you TVCC!


From a recent Rescue Rodeo graduate: This was the best whitewater course I hope to never need. I learned more than I anticipated, and realized I still have so much more to learn.  The course and instructors were all fantastic!”


From an experienced boater: “The TVCC swift water rescue course was a jam-packed, non-stop, fun-filled weekend that provided the most valuable river lessons I have ever received. It was, without a doubt, the best “whitewater” instruction I have ever received. Five-stars.”


From another experienced boater: “Hands down, the BEST class I have ever taken! There is so much, we as kayakers don’t really understand about the water we play in and honestly, that ignorance is why this class is so important. It may be the hardest two days you will ever spend on the water, but it is SO worth your time! Thank you TVCC for caring about our safety!!“


The club now has over 230 members Swift Water Rescue trained. Our club’s safety program continues to grow and make our rivers a safer place to be. Want learn from the best?  Take our next SWR class in May 2017!


Mike Shillinger

TVCC Safety Chair