Below are many frequently asked questions. If these don’t answer your question, feel free to contact us.
Why choose WRI over other training providers?
- Experience-WRI has experience. We have worked with over 200 agencies, ranging from the National Park Service to Commercial Raft Guides. Our instructors have decades of experience working and playing on rivers. They have this real-world knowledge to draw upon to give participants realistic and practical tools for river rescue.
- Scenario Based Training- At WRI we believe that the best way to learn is by doing. All of our courses are taught through scenarios. This gives the participants actual hands-on experience with river rescue. Participants walk away from the class with an in-depth knowledge of their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as useful techniques to aid in future rescues.
- Customized Training-We know that the safety issues of a fishery biologist vary from those of a search and rescue professional, and that is why we tailor WRI trainings to your agency’s needs. Be it low head dam access or entrapment situations, WRI can meet the demanding needs of your organization.
Which Swiftwater course is right for me?
We recognize every person and every agency has a different need, that is why we offer a variety of course and can even customize the course to fit those needs. Our swiftwater rescue courses include:
- Awareness: This is a one day (8 hour) course that was developed for rescuers who will be assisting on-shore. Training focuses on self-rescue and hazard identification.
- Operations: This is a two day (16 hour) course that was developed for rescuers who will be assisting with in water rescues. Training focuses on self-rescue, hazard identification, and basic rescue techniques
- Technician: This is a three day (24 hour) course that was developed for in water rescuers. Training focuses on self-rescue, hazard identification, and rescue techniques.
- Advanced Technician: This is a three day (24 hour) course that was developed for the experienced Technician. Training focuses on advanced rescue and swimming techniques.
How can I host a course?
Hosting a course is easy. We require a minimum of six participants*. You have the option to keep the training “in house” or open it to the public. If you choose to open it up, we will provide you with marketing materials and will even handle the registration process. If you have more than 10 participants, one member of your team will attend for free. If you have more than 15, two members will attend for free. Feel free to contact us or visit our hosting page.
*depends on location, call for details.
What gear will I need for Swiftwater Rescue?
All of our swiftwater rescue courses spend the majority of the time in the water. Depending on the time of year, that water and the air temperature can combine to make a thrilling experience. For any swiftwater rescue course, you will need:
- PFD (Personal Flotation Device)
- Thermal Layers (capilene, polypro, wool, etc.)
- Appropriate Footwear (thicker soled booties or old tennis shoes work well)
Don’t own this gear? WRI has rental gear for the course.
What is included with my tuition for Swiftwater Rescue?
All participants that pass the course will receive a certification I.D. card, WRI’s Swiftwater Rescue Manual, a patch, and a sticker.
What does NFPA compliant mean?
The National Fire Protection Agency sets standards for technical rescue in NFPA 1670. Many professional agencies choose to adopt these standards. Our Swiftwater Rescue courses are taught to or exceed these standards.
I am a river runner and not a rescuer, is this training right for me?
Yes, absolutely. You may not be interested in the certification, but the hands on experience you will get by participating in WRI’s river runner technician course will be invaluable. While all of our instructors have experience as professional rescuers, they are all river runners first. Not only do they work on the river, they play on the river. WRI can provide you with the tools necessary to keep your next river trip safe. Visit our Swiftwater Rescue: Technician for River Runners page.
Which Boat course is right for me?
Deciding which boat course to take depends on the river you are working on or the organization you might be working for. WRI can offer you the training necessary to captain nearly any type of water craft. From kayaks to jet boats, WRI instructors have the experience and knowledge to make your learning process easy, fun and practical. The courses we offer:
- Paddle/Oar Boat Operations– This is a two day (16 hour) course designed for anyone looking to learn the basics of guiding a raft through class III-IV whitewater.
- Professional Guide School– This is a seven day course designed to cover all the elements of whitewater guiding. Certifications and training include: Swiftwater Rescue: Technician, Wilderness First Aid, CPR, and Paddle/Oar Boat operations
- Motorized Boat Operations-This is a two day (16 hour) course designed for anyone looking to learn the basics of handling a motorized boat in moving water.
Does WRI supply the boats for the course?
WRI has boats for every type of course–kayaks, rafts, and motorized boats. We are happy to bring ours to the course or to work on your boats.
What is WRI’s cancellation policy?
Payment must be received to hold your spot in the course. If your plans change and you cannot make it to the course, alert us 21 days in advance and you will receive a full refund. If it is within those 21 days, your tuition can be used for another WRI course.
Does WRI offer an instructor certification process?
At this time, we do not offer an instructor certification process. We believe that the quality of our courses is directly linked to the experience of our instructors. While participating in a course is a great way to gain experience, we believe that it takes years to develop the comfort level necessary to instruct a safe and practical course. Please feel free to contact us is you have any questions.
“I have been in the whitewater industry for 8 years and own a kayaking and rafting company in Missoula Montana. Safety is my number one concern whether it’s kayaking with my buddies on a Class V run or guiding clients on Class I. Zoo Town Surfers did a class with the WRI and it not only brought us together as a team but gave my guides the skills that are required and expected in our industry. These guys have been leading the industry in river safety and will continue for years to come! ”