Aquatic Rescue

Aims of the Course

To provide you with the necessary skill, knowledge and insight needed to function as an aquatic rescuer. This will include Swift Water Rescue and Surface Water Rescue , after completion of this module students will be equipped with the necessary skills to conduct a rescue scenario in water.

Course Duration

Rescue should not be attempted by individuals who have not been formally trained. Local Rescue Authorities, Fire Departments, Departments of Defence, Emergency Medical Services, etc. may be able to provide information on Aquatic Rescue training, practice, equipment and organisations that are actively looking for members to employ within their organisation. The Aquatic Rescue course will take between 5 to 6 weeks to complete, this will include theory classes as well practicals which will be carried out within and outside the college premises.

Course Description

Swift water rescue is a subset of technical rescue dealing in white water river conditions. Due to the added pressure of moving water, swift water rescue involves the use of specially trained personnel, ropes and mechanical advantage systems that are often much more robust than those used in standard rope rescue. The main goal is to use or deflect the water’s power to assist in the rescue of the endangered people, as in most situations there is no easy way to overcome the power of the water.

In order to provide for the safety of both the rescuer and victim, a low to high risk algorithm has evolved for the implementation of various rescue methods in Swift Water Rescue. As the algorithm progresses, the danger and threat to rescuer and victim increases. The algorithm is, "Talk", "Reach", "Wade", "Throw", "Helo", "Row", "Go", and "Tow" (this has been changed due to the increase safety of helicopter operations and the increased deaths of rescuers in boats). While it is safest to talk a victim into performing a self-rescue, there exists a substantial increase in danger once a rescuer enters the water.

Surface Water Rescue is defined as the rescue of a patient who is afloat on the surface of a body of water. Although multiple agencies respond to such rescues, including police, fire department, and Emergency medical services, their functions, responsibilities, and level of training for such a technical rescue are quite different. As such, a best-practice will identify and adopt industry standards that include specific training and equipment. This supports the opinion that any individual entering the water for the purpose of rescue should be trained to the level of a Rescue Technician.

As with any rescue discipline, the knowledge and skill required to perform a rescue is not neatly packaged. For example, while performing a surface water rescue, a rescue team may utilize many skills that include search techniques, rope-work and rigging, emergency patient care, and a functional knowledge of confined space, swift-water, and dive recovery. Therefore, an effective rescue team will be trained with multiple technical disciplines.