River Rescue Workshop


Course Syllabus






Capsized & Swimming a RapidRIVER RESCUE WORKSHOP (PE 4491/PE 5591)

Department of Sport Science & Physical Education, Idaho State University



Course: River Rescue Workshop (PE 4491 / 5491)


Semesters: Summer

Times: Workshop held in the field for several days - check schedule for dates


Where: Rivers in Idaho


Instructor: Justin Dayley


Email:  dayljust@isu.edu 




The course is held over a three day period. The following topics are covered the first day:

Be prepared to get wet on the second and third days. Topics covered during the two days are:


River Dangers: Rafting Frame Caught




The Sports Science and Physical Education Department’s Outdoor Education curriculum at Idaho State is based on a foundation of five nationally recognized standards.  The following standard applies to this course:  


Standard #5  Outdoor Education Experiential Skills and Field Experience Outdoor educators understand the techniques, equipment and safety procedures associated with a variety of outdoor skills; have taken ample opportunity to learn, practice and refine outdoor skills; and have gained practical experience in leading outdoor activities and/or teaching outdoor skills.



Objective 1 (Academic Objective): To gain an understanding of the various hazards associated with rivers and how individuals can be prepared to deal with river emergencies. 

Objective 1 Learning Outcomes - By the end of the course, students will:

1a.  Understand the risks associated with cold water, the procedures to minimize and prevent cold water problems, and treatment of cold related injuries.
2b.  Be able to identify common river hazards including strainers, obstructions, and hydraulics, and know the procedures in avoiding these hazards.
2c.  Have an understanding of the direction and force of river current flow based on river morphology, river gradient, and obstacles such as boulders, ledges, and rock bars.

Objective 2 (Motor Skill Objective):  To develop basic motor skills in river rescue

Objective 2 Learning Outcomes – By the end of the course, students will:


3a. Be able to tie basic knots useful for river rescue.
3b. Understand the principles of, and be able to set up, self-equalizing systems.
3c. Have practiced and know proper throw rope techniques.
3d. Have practiced and understand how best to swim in rapid water and execute river crossings.

3e. Have practiced methods of ferrying ropes across the river
3f. Have practiced techniques for removing broached boats (rafts, kayaks and canoes) from obstructions

Raft: Just Before a Capsize



The first day is largely spent dealing with rescue fundamentals and theory. On the second and third days, however, we will be in the water: paddling boats, swimming, undertaking a series of rescue scenarios. We will, of course, wear life jackets, but you should feel comfortable swimming in swiftly moving water. Expect to encounter different weather conditions: cold and rainy, windy, and hot and sunny.




If you have a diagnosed disability or believe that you have a disability that might require “reasonable accommodation” on the part of the instructor, please call the Director, ADA & Disabilities Resource Center, 282-3599.  As a part of the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is the responsibility of the student to disclose a disability prior to requesting reasonable accommodation.




Aim High: Idaho State University Outdoor Education

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