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ACA Level 4 Swiftwater Rescue Course and Training

River
Rio Grande
Duration
Multi Day
difficulty
Instructor Assisted
Minimum Age
16
Meals
no
Price
$250

About the trip

Our Swiftwater Rescue workshop teaches recognition and avoidance of common river hazards, execution of self-rescue techniques, and rescue techniques for paddlers in distress.

  • Led by world class ACA trainer Tommy Gram
  • Immersive instruction focussed on technical and thinking skills
  • Nationally recognized ACA certification
  • Perfect venue for river features on the Rio Grande

This trip meets at our private, Rio Grande Headquarters which is conveniently located 1 hour north of Santa Fe and 30 min. south of Taos. Our fully stocked Headquarters and Outfitters Shop is in the heart of the Rio Grande Gorge right across the street from the river, less than 1 mile from the finishing point of the most popular trips and offers safe, secure parking in our private parking lot.

For directions to our Rio Grande Headquarters click here!

What time of year are you courses offered?
Dates for all of our ACA certification courses in December and January and vary year to year. We usually offer courses in the Spring and Fall. Our custom courses are available at different times throughout the season, please contact our helpful reservation staff for more information and to reserve your space.

What kind of certification will I receive?
Our ACA courses have the opportunity to receive up to a level 4 certification in each skill. Certifications are determined by class participation, understanding of the material and skills.

Who will my instructors be?
All of our instructors are industry leaders with a high level of skill and experience. Their patient, knowledgeable approach to each skill will set you up for not only a fruitful but fun experience.

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  • 5 star rating

    Had a Splash! Had a fun filled experience thanks to Austin. He was very knowledgeable and made the trip interesting. Most of all he put up with 5 crazy women on a girls trip.
    Cant wait to take it up a notch and try a more challenging course next time.

    wildjeepgirl
  • I highly recommend New Mexico River Adventures! We did a half day race course on a Monday afternoon in August. Although the water was low it was a great experience and wish we had done a full day. Our guide, Erin, was wonderful! She had a great sense of humor, taught us a lot and made the whole experience even better! We now have a new love, appreciation, and respect for the Rio Grande. Thanks to NM River Adventures we have found a hobby our whole family loves and will continue to pursue.

    Monica McCaslin
  • 5 star rating

    Just want to say thanks to the entire team at NMRA for an amazing half day adventure on the river on 9/7. John Michael, our guide, was knowledgeable and friendly and the front desk staff were accommodating and helpful. (Special shout out to the gal who emailed me my photos after I lost the thumb drive). From the moment we walked in the door, I knew we had picked the right place! Highly recommend if you're looking for something exciting to do.

    Rebecca N.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Emphasis is placed both on personal safety and on simple, commonly used skills. Fundamental and more advanced techniques for dealing with hazards that carry greater risks for both victim and rescuer, such as strainers, rescue vest applications, entrapments, and pins, also are practiced. Scenarios will provide an opportunity for participants to practice their skills both individually and within a team/group context.

Course Objectives

  • Promote proactive prevention of river accidents and injuries.
  • Develop and practice key self-rescue skills.
  • Identify and avoid river hazards by understanding hydrology, hazards, and river features.
  • Focus on fast, low-risk strategies for early management of river accidents
  • Develop and practice methods for recovering swimmers, and loose boats and equipment
  • Develop and practice more advanced rope-based and in-water skills
  • Gain experience using the rescue PFD, and understand its strengths and weaknesses
  • Utilize rescue scene management principles needed within a paddling group

Here is a brief overview of the three day course and what to expect

Day 1:

  • Introductions
  • Talk through Standard Operating Procedure for river rescue
  • SWR Incident Management and roles
  • Overview of SWR Equipment (specific to what team uses)
  • Knots Overview
  • River Session @ Souse Hole covering gaining access methods (Wading, Swimming…)

Day 2:

  • Accident Avoidance
  • Hazards & Hydrology
  • Scene Assessment & Management
  • Brief Overview of equipment for recreationalists (What everyone should have on the river)
  • Knots for recreational users & Knot Test for SAR (In two groups)
  • Throw Bag Use (Dry Land Intro)
  • River session @ Souse Hole Covering “Quick Rescues” Two Stations – Boat Based rescue & Throw Bagging
  • Two Scenarios @ end of day for groups to rotate through

Day 3:

  • Introductions
  • Pins & Entrapments
  • Methods for unpinning Boats (Anchoring to boats, Direct Pull, Vector Pull & Mechanical Advantage)
  • Foot Entrapment – Methods for stabilization & extraction
  • River session @ Souse Hole covering Advanced skills – Tethered Swimmer & V-Lowers
  • Rotate Through Scenarios two different advanced scenarios

Boating Gear

Boat* (Kayak, Inflatable Kayak, SUP) Paddle, Helmet, PFD, shoes, skirt, warm clothing

*We will use boats mostly for scenarios and drills. Our course will take place in a stationary setting. No need to bring bigger crafts.

Rescue Gear

Throw Bag, Whistle, Knife
*You will need a Type V Rescue PFD to participate in some higher level skills throughout the course. We have a few extras that we can allow people to share.

Pre Course Work

Check out these Video Knot Tutorials – Having practiced these before the course can greatly increase our time on the water and doing other skills.

Gallery

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