Class II Carnage:  Why Novices Need Rescue Skills

By Paul Moyle.


Are you one of the “mild ones” of TVCC?  Do you prefer the relaxing ebb and flow of the Hiwassee and Nantahala Rivers to the exhilarating surge of the Ocoee?  If you answered yes to either of these questions, TVCC’s Team Safety wants to see YOU at Rescue Rodeo on July 29, 2017.


When most paddlers think of river rescue, they envision gnarly rapids and complex mechanical advantage rope systems.   But, the truth is, of all the swiftwater rescue training I have received over the years (including swiftwater rescue instructor certification), I find myself using the “basic,” rescue techniques most often:  bulldozing a swamped boat, towing a swimmer, and recovering paddles.  What these techniques all have in common is that I first learned of them at TVCC’s Rescue Rodeo when all I dared to paddle was the Hiwassee River.   Moreover, I most often put these rescue skills to use on Class II runs.



In just the last year, I have helped a couple of tubers get out of a strainer on the Hiwassee; I rescued a kid whose duckie was caught in the undercut rock on the Nantahala; and, most recently, I unpinned a recreational kayak complete with an attached throw rope which was creating a downstream entanglement hazard on the Hiwassee.  None of these runs would be considered, “gnarly,” but they each posed genuine hazards to life and limb.  Had I not possessed a basic knowledge of safe and effective rescue techniques, things could have gone very bad, very fast.  All on Class I and II rivers; all safely resolved using skills I first learned at TVCC’s Rescue Rodeo.

If you are a novice paddler, I encourage you to join us at Rescue Rodeo on July 29, 2017.  If you are a member of the American Canoe Association (ACA), you can attend Rescue Rodeo free of charge.  If you are not a member of the ACA, all you will have to pay to attend Rescue Rodeo is $5.00 for insurance.  We will even give you a FREE throw rope at “Graduation.”  Why do we do this?  Because we realize that you, the “mild ones,” may find yourself in the best position to save a life.