Whitewater Rafting Safety Classes
NWRA River Rescue Class May 17-18
A weekend-long swiftwater rescue class was presented May 17-18 by Michael of Riverstone Adventures out of Bend Oregon. Seven boaters were enrolled. Jake assisted in the instruction. Day one took place at Whistler's Bend, where we were introduced to the immense forces at play even in a moderate flow in the little riffle by the boat ramp. Day two was at Baker Park, where the strong current exponentially increased the water's power. The course was well-organized, quick-paced and packed with as much information as could be effectively conveyed over the course of two full days. We learned knots and rigging, tossed throw bags and swam. Jake's input was invaluable, as he meticulously and efficiently ensured that all essential elements of each rescue technique were included and understood. Phil, our latest club asset, climber, first responder airlift RN, etc, etc, also made a significant contribution with his extensive knowledge of ropes and rigging. New to rafting, the first piece of gear he bought was a drysuit. The colder you get, the more rapidly your energy level and presence of mind diminish, the two things you need most in an emergency situation.
Stef has long evangelized about the swiftwater rescue class, and rightfully so: essential for responsible boaters to know. During the May 30- June 1 N. Umpqua campout, Newt, from some other club acronym in the whitewater organization alphabet soup, announced a boating safety class being offered somewhere in the region, but not nearby for many of us "southerners". It would be good to see NWRA host a (nother) safety course in our neighborhood in the not-too-distant future. You talk to some firefighters and they're always itching for action. For most of us though, better to "rig to flip, dress to swim" and let discretion be the greater part of valor.