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Swiftwater River Rescue
Our 37th Year!

River Instruction

River Rescue

This lesson is all kayakers, canoeist, rafters and duckie captains.

Somewhere, at sometime you will wish you knew what to do in a river emergency. Just rescuing gear can turn into a nightmare, never mind rescuing a person. Quick response time and the knowledge to set up a rescue safely are skills you should have as a boater. Make this the year to bring your rescue skills to a higher level. Friends owe it to friends to be capable of river rescue. All rescue equipment is provided. Boating gear may be rented. Kayakers must be of Class II-III ability. Rescue lifejackets are considered personal equipment and are highly recommended. This lesson qualifies as an ACA sanction course. Day 1 Introduction, equipment needed for rescues, how to handle a rescue situation, equipment vs life, throw bag rescues, tow systems, swimmer/boat/paddle, walking in rapids, unconscious swimmer rescue, anchors, Z-Drags, and floating platform rescue Day 2 Bridge abutment rescue, unwrapping a kayak/raft, vertical pins, ankle entrapment, mock rescues, test, and rescue evaluation.
Please see below for our outline and recommended gear.

River rescue
Class 3 ability recommended

We no longer offer reservations for this adventure.

Please contact: Renaissance Adventure Guides at 303-988-2943
You can also contact them by email at:

Refund Policy
Cancellations 5 days or more before your class dates are refundable less a 10% reservation fee. You can reschedule your class (subject to availability) without any penalties if you notify Renaissance Adventure Guides 5 days prior to your class date. With-in 5 days of your class date, your funds are committed and are non-refundable.

Rescue Lesson Outline

Suggested River Rescue Gear

Day 1
How to handle a rescue situation
Equipment needed for rescues
Equipment vs life threat
Rescue organization
Throw Bag Rescues
Tow Systems: swimmer/boat/paddle
Walking in Rapids
Unconscious swimmer rescue
River Extrication Backboards
Zip lines
Floating platform rescue
Day 2
Anchors Z drags
Bridge Abutment Rescue gaining access
Unwrapping a kayak/raft
Vertical pins
Ankle entrapment
Run mock rescues
Rescue evaluation
Note: This lesson will be customized based on river features, water levels and students needs and skills.

Class participants should bring as much of this gear as they can
River Rescue book
Canoe and Kayaking (for ACA students)
Knife (one hand accessible)
Carabiners (4 or more)
Prussik Loop (3 or more)
Webbing (about 8')
Drybag to put rescue items in
Lifejacket/PFD with rescue belt
Tow Teather for Lifejackets with rescue belts
Throw Bag
Pulley (at least 2)
Warm clothing
Energy Food
First Aid Kit (contents based on paddlers training and remoteness of trip)
Duct Tape
Waterproof light
Optional Items
Gibbs Ascender (climbing ascender)
Spare Air (compress air in cylinder for trapped boater)
Saw or wood cutting device
Z-Drag Crib card
Cell Phone
Signal mirror
Pocket Knife
Multi-plyer tool
Bee Kit
Static Rope

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