Beginner Swiftwater Rescue Level 1

Chris Menges instructing rope throws

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The Downstream Edge Beginner safety course is designed for class 2-3 paddlers looking to develop a foundation of river safety from the beginning. You will learn about proper river running strategies to help your group avoid swims and rescue situations. Defensive and aggressive whitewater swimming will be taught and practiced as well as self rescue techniques. Your group will get hands on river scouting and water reading training from our expert instructors, as well as practice setting safety and rescuing swimmers from a boat and from shore. This class is a must for aspiring whitewater paddlers.

What to expect
This class is only one day. The class usually goes from around 9 am to 5 pm. Each class may start at different times, so be sure to check the schedule before arriving. Dryland instruction is very limited in DSE classes. We prefer hands on teaching and our classes are generally in the river most of the day. This course will teach you defensive and aggressive swimming and self rescue techniques such as swimming across currents, crossing strong eddy lines, swimming onto rocks, and swimming on the end of a rescue rope. You will also learn how to use a throw rope, when and where to set safety, and how to use the river and shoreline to your advantage when setting safety. DSE courses always stress avoidance of situations, which is why we teach our beginner groups about proper river running strategies and communication. You will learn techniques practiced by the pros for communicating and leading a group safely down a river without incident. The level 1 course will work on rescuing swimmers and their gear while keeping the group safe and working together. We will also touch on some basic pinned boat rescue techniques, which will be taught in more detail in the Level 2 course.

What to bring

All Kayaking gear
Warm gear – dress to spend a lot of time in a cold river (Drytop and Pants, Drysuit, or Wetsuit recommended)

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