Swiftwater Rescue – May 2016

by Mike Shillinger, Safety & Training Chair


The club sponsored its Spring Swift Water Rescue (SWR) Course on May 14th & 15th , held this year on the Ocoee River.  It was an incredible training event! 15 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 – whitewater paddlers, flat-water paddlers, very-experienced paddlers, and every one of them graduated a more confident and competent club member. Bruce Foster, Andrew Waters, 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, Entrapment Escape Techniques, 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 students’ training. The latest graduates of the TVCC Swift Water Rescue training course are: Eric Neilson, Kristina Gutsalova, Glenn Keaton, Melissa Hickson, David Riall, Sue Spalding, Carlos Aranda-Mejia, Anne Lautzenheiser, Ruthie MacLeod, Sandra Walker, Pat Carver, Jamey Smith, Dan Croisant, Nicky Croisant, & Carin Burford.


We also need to thank three of club members for coming out and providing safety and logistics support for the entire weekend.  Thanks to SPENCE LYCAN, MEL TAYLOR, and CRYSTAL WATERS for the great support!


Several quotes from our students from this course:


From an old timer:   “Practice these rescue skills.  These are your friends and loved ones.  I have seen first-hand they can save a life”


From an experienced boater: .   “Thanks to the instructor /support staff  for an eye-opening weekend. Appreciate all the time and hard work that went into preparing for the event. I feel that I have just scratched the surface on gaining the skills needed to actually help out in an emergency situation, but it’s a start!”


From a newer boater: “My biggest gain of the weekend is mindset.  I’m prepared to swim and take care of myself instead of float now.  I’m also more aware of the hazards I’ve been lucky to avoid in teaching and coaching new paddlers in the sport.“


The club now has over 200 members Swift Water Rescue trained.


Our safety program continues to be second to none!