3 Day Swiftwater Rescue Course

Course: 3-day “River Rescue Technician” certified by Wilderness Rescue International
Dates: May 26-28, 2023 Hours: Friday 9:00 pm to 5:00 pm, Saturday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Sunday 8:00 am to 3:00 pm
Location: Minam, Oregon
Cost: 3-days $345/person 
Contact: Grant Richie
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Phone: 541-437-1111
Lodging: Camping available at the Minam State Park, lodging available in Wallowa 13 miles away from Minam

This jam packed course is aimed at Professional Rescuers, Firefighters, BLM Rangers, Search and Rescue Personnel, Whitewater Guides,Trip leaders, boaters paddling on more challenging whitewater, and anyone desiring opportunities to develop their rescue skills. Themes of this dynamic course revolve around recognition of hazards, critical judgment, and rescue awareness. Emphasis is placed heavily on self-rescue techniques and approaching rescue scenarios simply and safely. Participants will apply new and refined skills in mock-rescue scenarios using a minimal amount of gear. These scenarios create an opportunity for participants to practice skills individually and with a team context. Scope and content of the course will vary, based upon participant needs, interests and experience. Topics covered include extricating pins, using rescue vests, managing strainers, dealing with entrapment, and proficient swimming skills. This course is delivered by certified instructors and participants will receive a certificate of completion for “River Rescue Technician.



  • River Rescue Principles, Risk Management & Prevention, Hydrology & Hazards, Practical Hands on Scenarios
  • Swimming: Swiftwater Entries, Aggressive & Defensive techniques, Strainer Encounters
  • Throwbags: Underhand, Overhand, Coil Tosses, Belay Techniques
  • Shallow Water Crossings and Wading Techniques
  • Contact Rescues: Tethered Rescue Swims (Live Bait), Spinal Precautions, Managing Entrapment: Two-shore vs. One Shore. Heads-up vs. Heads-down.
  • Anchors: Load Sharing vs. Load Distributing, knot tying. Mechanical Advantage: 3:1, 5:1, 9:1, Pig Rigs, Vectors, etc.

Standard: NFPA 1670 & 1006 Technician Level


  • 18 years of age
  • Adequate health insurance
  • Basic swimming ability and in good physical condition

Required Equipment needed:

  • Food: Lunches, snacks, water, thermos with hot drink
  • Notebook: pen and small notebook for taking valuable notes
  • USCG Type III or V approved lifejacket/ PFD
  • Personal Protective Equipment:
    • Helmet
    • Type III or Type V River PFD. Type V Rescue PFD with releasable harness preferred.
    • Closed toed shoes (no sandals. Keens OK if they have non-bungee cord laces.)
    • Drysuit with adequate synthetic insulation underneath.
    • Gloves (ex: NRS Mavericks) and Skull Caps (ex: NRS Mystery Storm Hood)
    • Optional: Personal rescue gear to practice with such as throw bag, rescue pullies, etc.

Pre-Course Homework = Knot Tying Practice

Please show up with approximately 50 reps of tying each of the following knots. I encourage people to verbalize out loud the knots they tie as they tie them. It helps sink the information deeper into long term memory. Anchor building and mechanical advantage training will be significantly more successful if participants show up with these knots well practiced. We’ll spend an hour reviewing them on Day One but this should be review and coaching….not introduction. Online Resource =

Please be sure the knots are, “Dressed and have adequate tail of 6”.

    1. Figure 8
    2. Figure 8 Follow-Through
    3. Figure 8 on a Bend
    4. Figure 8 on a Bight
    5. Double Figure 8 on a Bight
    6. Directional Figure 8 AKA: In Line Figure 8 
    7. Bowline
    8. Double Bowline
    9. Clove Hitch
    10. Prusik Hitch
    11. Overhand
    12. Overhand on Bend aka: Water Knot or Ring Bend
    13. Overhand on a Bight

Deposit and Cancellation:

Deposits and final payments are non-refundable.  You are welcome to find a replacement for your spot. Deposits are required when booking and final payments will be collected 60 days prior to the start of the class.