Course Description

The Swift Water Safety awareness program is designed and presented with the emphasis on river  assessment and remaining safe while working around, on or in bodies of water. The primary objective of the course is to give people practical distinctions for safe versus non-safe, water sites. Swift Water Safety - River Talk, Safety Talk, Rocky Mountain Adventure Medicine

The skills that are taught within the program are directed at decision making based on the “Hazards to Observe” (H2O) system developed by RMAM and designed specifically for employees assigned tasks around a moving water work site. On the practical side we look at swimming; the use of throw bags; partner rescue and river crossing techniques. Several sites are viewed and assessed with the H2O evaluator as well as many opportunities for learning defensive and offensive swimming and wading techniques.

Participants receive a course workbook, the H2O evaluator and safety gear for use in the water. Participants are expected to provide a suitable wet or dry suit, PFD and white water helmet as well as out of the water clothing suitable for the out-day portion of the program.

The program meets the recommendations of the NFPA at the “awareness” level as well as meeting the guidelines for “safe working procedures” as published by Alberta Workplace Health and Safety.  We recommend that participants repeat the course within 3 years.

Course Topics

  • Safety philosophy and attitude
    • goals of the safe water environment
    • hazard vulnerability assessment (H2O Evaluator)
    • general rules and philosophy
    • safety behavior and prevention of accidents
  • The Water Environment
    • characteristics of current and flow
    • the formation of rapids
    • wave formation
    • classifying rapids and river volumes
    • water hazards
  • PPE
    • personal gear
    • safety equipment
    • correct fitting and function
  • Self Rescue
    • swimming
    • defensive positioning
    • offensive positioning


  • River Crossing Techniques
    • tripod and lean (solo)
    • line astern
    • circle
    • wedge
  • Rescue Organization
    • roles and responsibilities
    • the plan
    • communication
    • resources
  • The Throw Bag
    • storage and care
    • general principles of deploying
    • throwing & retrieving
    • contacting catching & landing the swimmer
  • Contact Rescues
    • rescuer concerns
    • victim behaviour
  • First Aid (specific to cold water environment)
    • drowning and near drowning
    • cold water immersion
    • hypothermia

Course Details

14 Hours
Private Course Bookings

If you need to cancel your registration for an upcoming program, then the following terms will apply.

  1. If you cancel your registration 14 days or more prior to a program, all course fees will be returned to you except for a $25 administrative fee.
  2. If you cancel your registration less than 14 days prior to an upcoming program, then a refund will NOT be issued. Fees can be applied to another program that is being offered within 12 months of the original course date.*PLEASE NOTE THAT COURSE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS MUST STILL BE MET
  3. No transfers are offered on or after 7 days prior to the course start date. A $25 administrative fee will be charged on all program transfers.
  4. In the event that Rocky Mountain Adventure Medicine cancels an upcoming program, you will receive a full refund of your course fees.
  5. PLEASE NOTE: When you register for a program that is offered in conjunction with Yamnuska Mountain Adventures, the University of Calgary or Camp Chief Hector, their transfer and cancellation policies are in effect since they handle course registrations. Their cancellation and transfer policies override the Rocky Mountain Adventure Medicine policy.

Public Courses

This course is only available for private bookings.

Private Courses

If you are interested in booking a private course for your organisation please contact us directly using the form below:

How Can We Help You?


The volunteers of Cochrane Search and Rescue want to thank you for taking the time to help us become familiar with safety while searching near river banks. This is very important to our work, particularly to ensuring that our volunteers are safe while carrying out search or even a training sessions. Our volunteer members are eager to improve their skill sets, and you provided us with clear, easy to remember information. Your contribution to our education activities and support for this important community initiative is greatly appreciated.
Anthony Romano President, Cochrane Search and Rescue