- Swiftwater rescue courses are offered in Colorado, Washington State and Oregon. These courses are offered privately to commercial operations, schools, organizations, and open to the general public through advertised courses. These courses are designed for the river professional and recreational boaters. All courses are certified by the Professional Water Rescuers Institute (PWRI) and the American Canoe Association (ACA), and are unique curriculums developed by Elias Leadership and Rescue.

- Minimum Requirements for the 2 day Swiftwater Rescue Course: These courses are for all level of paddlers, from beginners to advanced. You only need to have some experience with at least class II, and some basic swimming ability. Yes, this is a perfect course for beginners, we get asked that often.

- The primary differences in our courses compared to the courses offered by other oganizations in the industry are the realism of the scenarios and the personal knowledge and experience that our instructors bring into the instruction. Our instructors create real life-like scenarios by putting themselves into the water in various scenarios to be rescued by the students. This emphasis on real life-like scenarios is fairly unique to our program. Sammer Elias and his team also bring many years of experience having canoed, kayaked, and rafted many challenging rivers around the globe with partners and in teams.

- About PWRI:  Elias Leadership and Rescue founded the Professional Water Rescuers Institute as a unique and progressive certifing body that specializes in water based rescue. The institute is now being led by a collaborative group of highly experienced top level water rescuers. PWRI provides training courses with the highest and most progressive standards in water rescue, adopting the latest experienced based techniques, and more practical hands on scenarios in their trainings. PWRI was founded based on the curriculum and training developments of Elias Leadership and Rescue.

- Upon successful completion of these courses the participant will receive a Swiftwater Rescue certification letter by the Professional Water Rescuers Institute. An American Canoe Association certificate can be provided as well if you require it.


- " The course was very successful. Sammer was engaging, patient, and thorough in his teaching and also in his question answering. The visual aids were very helpful, and the the coaching throughout the rescue scenarios was likewise clear and applicable. I would happily recommend this course to anyone."
- student from a 2 Day Swiftwater Rescue course.

- " A good range of knowledge, covered a lot of material, didn't go to fast with anything. Made sure that everybody understood the material before moving on. Good scenarios."
- student from a swiftwater rescue course.

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2 day Swiftwater Rescue Course:
2 day, 16 hour course, PWRI certificate of completion.
a completely unique curriculum offered by Elias Leadership and Rescue, certified by the Professional Water Rescuers Institute, and endorsed by the American Canoe Association (ACA). This 2-day Swiftwater Rescue Course is designed to teach both river rescue techniques and safe river-running practices in all river craft. It will be catered to the paddling interests and boat types of the participants. This course teaches recognition and avoidance of common river hazards, execution of self-rescue techniques, and rescue techniques for paddlers in distress. Emphasis is placed both on personal safety and on simple, commonly used skills. Techniques for dealing with hazards that carry greater risks for both victim and rescuer, such as strainers, rescue vest applications, entrapments, and pins, also are practiced. Scenarios will provide an opportunity for participants to practice their skills both individually and within a team/group context. The cost is $225.

Certified Technician Option:
Additional 1 day, PWRI certification card.
Completing a two day course provides participants with a certification letter of completion. This is accepted by rafting companies and professional paddling organizations all around for their staff as meeting and exceeding their requirements for staff participation in a swiftwater rescue course. However some people and agencies like to have a certification of skill and competency of the student that has been tested and proven. The certified technician option is the right choice for those people. This is a third day of practical and written testing that provides students with a technician certification card that last 3 years. This option is available for both the technician level, and advanced technician level. Cost is an additional $75.

2 day Advanced Swiftwater Rescue course:
2 day, 16 hour course, PWRI certificate of completion.
another unique curriculum offered by Elias Leadership and Rescue, certified by the Professional Water Rescuers Institute, and endorsed by the American Canoe Association (ACA). This 2 day advanced course is for people who have taken a regular swiftwater rescue course within the past two years, and are still familiar with the basics. Basics and simple fundamentals will not be covered in this class. This course will cover more advanced techniques, and more on water scenarios will take place. This course is aimed at trip leaders, guides, boaters paddling on more challenging whitewater, and anyone desiring opportunities to develop their rescue skills. Critical judgment and rescue awareness, impacting both personal and group safety, are emphasized throughout the course. Although new skills will be taught, this class focuses on developing judgment and applying skills in rescue scenarios. Scope and content of the course will vary, based upon participant needs, interests and experience. Upon completion you will receive an Advanced Swiftwater Rescue course certification issued by Professional Water Rescuers Institute and endorsed by the American Canoe Association. Cost is $225


- Qualifications: Sammer Elias is certified by the Professional Water Rescuers Institute as an Advanced Swiftwater Rescue Instructor Trainer, by the ACA to the highest level of level 5 Advanced Swiftwater Rescue Instructor, and as an Advanced Swiftwater Rescue Technician by Rescue 3. Additionaly, he carries an Emergency Water Safety certification, a Wilderness First Responder certification, EMT certification, a U.S. Coast Guard Captains liscence and more. Before formally teaching swiftwater rescue, he was mentored by Mike Mather, and credits him to much of his teaching style. Sammer Elias has taught swiftwater rescue for numerous organizations including: Nantahala Outdoor Center, Colorado Mountain College, Outward Bound, and for a variety of paddling clubs in Colorado. He has also delivered professional talks and presentations on risk managment and safety judgment. Most of his experience and knowledge has come from kayaking, canoeing, and rafting difficult rivers all over the globe for over 15 years.

- Public courses are usually scheduled in Colorado, Washington State, Bend, Oregon, and in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge area. The next courses are tentatively scheduled to take place in spring and summer of 2015 in Colorado, Oregon and Washington.

- Private courses can be arranged to take place where your business is and can be customized in length and type, i.e. 1 day Basic River Rescue, 2 day Swiftwater Rescue, or 2-3 day Advanced Swiftwater Rescue.

All courses taught by PWRI and ACA certified Swiftwater Rescue instructors.

Additional Services:
Consultation or analysis for the safety of your organizations water program is available.

Scheduled courses

Swiftwater Rescue Course schedules coming soon

Click on button above to pay online securely. Cancellation: If you cancel outside of 30 days a full refund will be issued. Within 30 days and up to 14 days before, 50% refund.
You may also pay with check, please contact us for more information.


- “ Elias Leadership and Education is a small operation that offers high quality instruction, experience and scenarios. Very personal instruction, and more interested in sharing top quality techniques and instruction than creating a large business with an image of success.” - student review from a 2 day swiftwater rescue course. click here for more testomonials...