Canoe ~ Kayak ~ SUP ~ Raft ~ Rescue

Swiftwater Rescue

In 1983, the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission set up the Pennsylvania Water Rescue, now the largest non-profit public water rescue training program in the US. For 45 years, Charlie Walbridge has innovated many swiftwater rescue techniques, at times the head of the American Canoe Association and American Whitewater Safety Chairman. And you? You could learn from the best. Swiftwater is fun, but dangerous. Knowing the basics of rescue is essential for yourself and others. Training puts the necessary knowledge in the noggins of paddling club members, first responders, whitewater employees, and any avid boater. Many opportunities, such as Charlie Walbridge and the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, are contacted rather than have set dates for training. Companies like WhiteCap, however, have a schedule of their training opportunities. Secure yourself with the Swiftwater Rescue essentials and be prepared for the scary days on the water.

Swiftwater Rescue with Steve BarberSteve Barber ACA PA Director 25

If you’re interested in attending one of my Swiftwater Rescue Clinic fantastic! It’s a great way to learn some skills that will always come in handy on the river and off. I’ve been boating since 1994 and have worked in the whitewater industries of Fayette County West Virginia on the New and the Gauley from 1996 – 2005. I later moved to Fayette County Pennsylvania and have worked in the whitewater industry from 2006 – present. During my time in West Virginia working at Wildwater Expeditions Unlimited  I participated in yearly courses taught by Mike Mather, Eric Autenreith and Rob Dobson. After moving to Fayette County Pennsylvania I took yearly swiftwater rescue courses from Charlie Walbridge during my time working with Ohiopyle Trading Post and River Tours. I received my Level 4 Swiftwater Rescue Instructor Certification from Charlie Walbridge in 2006 and have been teaching classes and current in my instructor certifications until present. If you would like to learn more about me you can click here.

Course Outlines

Level 3 One Day Course 7-9 hours.

Level 3 Swiftwater ACA Rescue Classroom Outline

Recommended for Club Boaters or Intermediate Boaters



Level 4 Two Day Course 14-18 hours

Level 4 Swiftwater ACA Rescue Classroom Outline

Recommended for Club Boaters that have passed Level 3, Whitewater Guide Staff, Advanced Boaters



Class Waivers need to be downloaded, filled out and brought to class to be collected.

Adult Waiver

Youth Waiver

Pay for your Swiftwater Rescue Class Online.

There needs to be 5 paid students to have a class.

Choose Level 3 or 4 Swiftwater Rescue Class Payment

Check the Events Calendar for more Swiftwater Rescue Clinics or just awesome events going on.


Swiftwater Rescue Sites

Swifwater Rescue with Mike Mather – This is one of the best instructors I know. I was able to work with Mike for years at Wildwater Expeditions Unlimited and went through many courses with him. He is the best.

Whitewater Rescue – This is ACA rescue chief Sam Foukes site, full of teaching tips.

CFS – Slim Ray’s site sells his books and archives many of his articles.

Wayne Sundmacher’s Swiftwater RESCUE Site – Take a course from Charlie Walbridge’s co-author!

Mike Mather’s Rescue Site – get in touch with one of today’s top instructors.

Rescue III International – The leading training program for first responders.

Rescue Source – Well-known swiftwater rescue gear supplier.

NRS Rescue – Their special river rescue catalogue.

Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission Swiftwater Rescue Courses-Training since 1983 and one of the largest training programs in the country.

WhiteCap Water Rescue Training-Schedule available online.

Northeast PA Kayak School Swiftwater Rescue-Training with Mike Mather.

ACA Swiftwater Rescue Symposium 2013

In 2013 I attended an ACA Swiftwater Rescue Symposium in Dillsboro, NC on the Tuckaseegee River with presenters such as: Les Bechdel, Charlie Walbridge, Slim Ray, Mike Mather, Jim Coffey, Walter Felton, Aaron Peeler, Justin Padgett, Will Leverette, Sam Fowlkes, Robin Pope, Dave Kesserman, Tom Burroughs, Fritz Orr, Virgil Chambers and Pam Dillion.


ACA Swiftwater Rescue Conference – Aerial Video Highlights Reel from Airlift Films on Vimeo.


Watch Swiftwater Rescue Videos I’ve Created

Facebook Stream

ACA - Pennsylvania shared an event. ...

WV Beers for WV Public Lands!

February 21, 2018, 6:00pm - February 21, 2018, 7:00pm

Do you like beer? Do you like our public lands? We have just the event for you! Join us for WV Beers for WV Public Lands, presented by the Morgantown Chapter of West Virginians for Public Lands and West Virginia Rivers Coalition in partnership with Sierra Club. We will have several WV beers on tap from Short Story Brewing and Chestnut Brew Works, all proceeds going to West Virginians for Public Lands; a photo booth provided by As You Are Boudoir, props included; raffles and door prizes provided by Pathfinder, 304 Food Works, and Black Bear Burritos; and excited volunteer leaders ready to educate and inform. We will see you there!

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No PFD’s. I guess if you fell off floating may be your second worry. This is terrifying. ...

Log rafting, 1958. Carpathian mountains, Ukraine. Absolutely terrifying!

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Kayak fishing on the Yough anyone. Awesome video. ...

Trout, bass, kayaks. What more could you ask for. #kayakfishing #rock

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Calling all snorkelheads ... ...

The View Below: Amazing Sights in Our Streams and Rivers

March 4, 2018, 2:00pm - March 4, 2018, 2:30pm

Freshwater Journeys in partnership with Roots & Shoots at BucknellU and Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association, Inc. presents .... The View Below: Amazing Sights in Our Streams and Rivers Sunday, March 4, 2:00-3:30 PM Gallery Theatre at Elaine Langone Center Bucknell University (Lewisburg, PA) We often perceive that there isn’t much to see beneath the surface of our nation’s freshwater rivers and streams, but once we look underwater, an amazing world appears. Fish of incredibly diverse colors, shapes, and behaviors live in freshwater ecosystems. The streams themselves create other worldly, breathtaking streamscapes, giving humans willing to submerge themselves the opportunity to witness incredible ecological feats, such as thousand-mile fish migrations, predator-prey interactions, or the vibrant-colors of mating displays. The underwater world of our rivers and streams is unexpected, largely unnoticed, and amazing! Underwater naturalist Keith Williams shares his adventures of exploring and discovering the underwater world of our Susquehanna River and her tributaries, including the Pennsylvania 2018 River of the Year – the Loyalsock Creek – in this engaging free presentation. About the Presenter: Keith Williams has developed river snorkeling-based science curriculum and has established river snorkeling programs for non-profits and the U.S. Forest Service. Keith has led thousands of people on river snorkeling adventures. His first book on river snorkeling, Snorkelhead, was published in 2016. FREE and open to the public. This project was financed in part by a grant from the Community Conservation Partnerships Program, using Environmental Stewardship Funds, under the administration of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation and administered by the Pennsylvania Organization of Watersheds and Rivers. #PARiveroftheYear #LoyalsockCreek #LoyalsockLove #Susquehanna

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ACA Videos

River Links

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