2013 Swift Water Rescue Training

On the weekend of April 6th and 7th , thanks in no small part to Cat Loke, a large group of hearty souls set out to learn a bit about swift water rescue. We were all led by Dan, Taneka and Sam who had wonderful assistants Val, Ann, Julie, Gregory, Scott and Jake. We were not unlike mailmen; rain, hail or sleet did not keep us from practicing rescue on land and in the swift waters of the Sandy river that roll by Dodge Park. In addition to organizing the entire event, Cat kept us nourished with great foods, snacks and a constant flow of warm drinks.

On day one we separated into three groups and were introduced to basic knots, principles of self rescue and a big umbrella of safety; keep yourself safe first. Once you are secure in your safety, confirm the safety of your team. Then, and only then, are you ready to rescue someone else. Knots included the Prusik, figure 8, bowlin, butterfly. We practiced these while shivering under our tarp tents and sipping hot coffee. The different type of ropes, lines and pulleys were introduced as well as the purpose for each. We were taught how to choose strong anchors for our pulley systems that would serve as the leverage needed to rescue persons and craft from swift water. We then practiced applying what we were learning by anchoring to trees. And also practiced our skills with throw bags on land by trying to hit moving targets (Sam and his crew) After a great lunch arranged by Cat, we hit the water practicing self rescue, and rescues with throw bags.

Day two was started with more great coffee and a recap of the previous day. We then went over various rigging systems and their uses. We practiced the rigs with the knots and pulleys we had been working on the day before.

Another great lunch!

Then we reunited in our three groups and had a three different stations in the river. A couple of tension diagonals were set up by two of the groups. The importance of using the natural force of the current in these rescues was emphasized. We had the opportunity to use our knots as well as our 3 and 5 point rigging systems.

Sam was down stream with a kayaker who had gotten his kayak perched high up on a rock while clinging to the rock awaiting rescue. It was great to see all of the different participants work together and, finally, rescue the kayaker and his boat.

Well done and much thanks to all! Safety first! I’m safe, you’re safe, we are all safe!