American Canoe Association Swiftwater Rescue Courses

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



2024 Dates:

Full Course: May 17-19th
Recertification: May 19th


Full 3-Day Course: $425
ASWR Recertification: $199

Call or email for for AWC, NMROA and Local Guide Pricing

Cancellation Policy

Reservation cancellation more than 2 weeks before trip date receives a refund minus 10% of course cost. Less than two weeks before course date forfeits deposit. Less than one week forfeits full cost of course.


Level 4 American Canoe Association Swiftwater Course:

Three-Day Lvl 4 Course Overview: The Swiftwater Rescue workshop teaches recognition and avoidance of common river hazards, execution of self-rescue techniques, and rescue techniques for paddlers in distress. Emphasis is placed both on personal safety and on simple, commonly used skills. Fundamental and more ad- vanced 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.

Recertification: A full day class consisting of skills tests and examinations on all course materials covered in the full three-day Level 4 course.

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

Read full ACA pamphlet here: ACA Level 4 Swiftwater Pamphlet


Enrollment Requirements and Procedures:

Essential Eligibility Criteria (EEC):

ACA courses are open to all individuals who acknowledge the ability to perform the following essential eligibility criteria.

  1. Breathe independently (i.e., not require medical devices to sustain breathing)
  2. Independently maintain sealed airway passages while under water
  3. Independently hold head upright without neck / head support
  4. Manage personal care independently or with assistance of a companion
  5. Manage personal mobility independently or with a reasonable amount of assistance
  6. Follow instructions and effectively communicate independently or with assistance of a companion
  7. Independently turn from face-down to face-up and remain floating face up while wearing a proper- ly fitted life jacket*
  8. Get on / off or in / out of a paddlecraft independently or with a reasonable amount of assistance*
  9. Independently get out and from under a capsized paddlecraft*
  10. Remount or reenter the paddlecraft following deep water capsize independently or with a reasona- ble amount of assistance*
  11. Maintain a safe body position while attempting skills, activities and rescues listed in the appropriate Course Outline, and have the ability to recognize and identify to others when such efforts would be unsafe given your personal situation

Enrollees must be in good physical condition and be able to demonstrate basic swimming ability. To register, first determine space availability through the Program Director, or Far-Flung Adventures office. Then, download, complete and submit application form (below) with the requested tuition. Once your space has been confirmed you will be e-mailed pre-class study materials, to be thoroughly reviewed prior to the beginning of the course. A pre-test on this material will be administered on the classroom day. Full payment or a deposit confirms your space. We accept check, credit card or a valid agency purchase order. Any balances due must be received no later than one week prior to the start of instruction.

A practical skills examination on final day requires the student to demonstrate: swimming rescues, throw bag rescue and mechanical advantage system.

Note: Courses are physically demanding and requires substantial time swimming in river.


Instructors provide: All technical gear, classroom and in-water instruction, digital manual,
certificate and wallet card.

Students must provide: PFD, river helmet, wetsuit or drysuit, river booties or sneakers; 6’ hank of rope,
lunches and drinking water. PFDs, helmets, wet-suits and neoprene booties are available for rent during enrollment and check out process. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Custom Courses


Instructors can provide custom river rescue instruction to your team of 10 or more on your preferred date/location. In addition to Swiftwater Operations and Technician training, we also offer a one-day Swiftwater Rescue Awareness course.

Courses are also available, by special arrangement, to agency personal in: Practical Rope Rescue, Emergency Boat Handling and Flood Operations Management. Please contact Course Coordinator ( to evaluate your agency’s preparedness/NFPA compliance. With sufficient advance notice, instructors may travel to your area and conduct a course on your home stream.



Limited Space, book now!

Join us for an adventure that you will never forget!

Have any questions? Contact us!

(575) 758-2628

Monday - Friday: 8am - 5pm

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