Technical Rescuer; Water Rescue

Gaston, NC  ; Northampton Co. , NC / Roanoke River

September October 9,10,11,  & 16,17,18 2020

***Class Size Limited to 20 Students***

Course Overview

The North Carolina Technical Rescuer Water Rescue series is comprised of several modules offered over a two-weekend series that enables the student to obtain the requirements needed to obtain full NFPA certification for water rescue. (in addition to fulfilling the requirements for TR Rescuer).

This a general knowledge course with minimum skill performance. It is considered a general introduction of a variety of surface water and swiftwater/flood problems that does not provide enough practical time in swiftwater environments to be considered proficient for swiftwater rescue team certifications.

It is strongly encouraged Specialized Swiftwater Rescue Task Teams obtain additional training through our Rescue 3 International’s SRT I and SRT Advanced courses, along with, our Inflatable Rescue Boat School and Night Operations courses.

Completion of the N.C. Technical Rescuer General certification  is required for certification.

The NCOSFM TR Water Rescue series is a 48-hour series specifically designed to fulfill the NFPA 1006 MINIMUM Job performance requirements (JPR’s) for those agencies who have the responsibility of providing surface and swiftwater rescue responses.

Upon successful completion of a skills assessment swim test, students will receive training in areas that include:

  • Rescue Operations
  • Equipment needs
  • Site surveys
  • Pre-planning
  • Rescue techniques
  • Rescue Swimming
  • Self Survival Techniques
  • Air & Ground Transportation
  • Boat-Based Searches/Rescues
  • Motorized and Paddle Craft Operations
  • Water Rescue Craft Operations
  • Strong Swimmer Rescues
  • Managing Search Operations


Lecture Location:


Gaston Fire-Rescue-EMS

210 Old Emporia Rd. 
Gaston, NC 27832

River Location

River Falls Park Trailhead.

50 Rockfish Dr, Weldon, NC 27890

TR Water Rescue Class Details:


Our philosphy is to train within the environment you are expected to perform. Although there are no requirements by NCOSFM to mandate the classifications of rapids to train students within, we feel a water rescuer should be able to safely operate and navigate up to class III rapids. Therefore, we offer our classes along water sources that will challenge our students to mimic potential rescue response conditions. 


Our TR Water Rescue classes will complete the class lectures prior to practical lake and river  exercises, therefore, it is offered soley as a series with written testing at the conclusion of class. Students will need to download the NCOSFM lesson plan prior to the class.

Click here to download the NCOSFM TR Water Rescue lesson plan


Students will need to provide their own meals throughout the course. During the lake and river practical sessions lunch will be in the parking lot of the river or lake so a bag lunch will be in order.  Traditionally, we enjoy an entire class supper at a local restaurant  during week #2 following the first river or lake day.


Due to the remote distances between our training sites, students are encouraged to consider carpooling to lake and river sites. Locations for suitable and challenging water flow rates are limited throughout the state. In order to provide a realistic and challenging training experience, it is necessary to travel to rivers or lakes up to 1-2 hours away in some cases.

Students must attend 90% of the class in order to test and receive credit per NCOSFM policy.

Class Delivery & Testing:

Due to the complex logistical demands of this course, this course is delivered as one series, therefore, the written exam is delivered as one test rather than separately. In addition, all practical skill sets are delivered within the course, as well.


Student Equipment Needs:

  • Swiftwater Rescue Gear

    (Type V PFD, Vented helmet, thermal protection i.e. drysuit, wetsuit, river boots, gloves, )

  • Thermal protection (i.e. polypropylene undergarments)

  • Rain Gear

  • Backpack / hydration system

  • Sunscreen; Sunscreen

  • Snorkel & Mask

  • Snacks, water…

This is a physically and mentally challenging course! Candidates with phobias of swimming class I & II or III rapids, extremely cold water, or extensive health problems (heart, trauma, respiratory…) are discouraged from attending this course!

Swim Tests & Practical Skill Sets:

The Technical Rescuer candidate must demonstrate the ability to assume a correct swimming posture and swim for 300 yards and tread water for ten minutes in an aquatic environment (pool) both without and with flotation devices. This demonstrates a two-part exercise that validates a candidate’s ability to swim and maintain their safety in a surface water environment without the aid of any devices, as well as, demonstrate the difference in swimming with a device. For Swiftwater Rescue; Students must also complete a 50 & 100 yard sprint in a pool, as well while wearing a Type III or V PFD and retrieve a simulated victim. This skill set will mimic the endurance needed to perform aggressive rescue swimming in a moving water environment.

Per NC OSFM policy…Each student must successfully complete of all required practical skills in order to sit for the Written exam. No partial credit is awarded.

Skills acquired within the course include:

  • Rescuing and extricating an accident victim from the water.

  • Safely swimming in swiftwater and maneuvering so as to negotiate river hazards and obstacles at various water levels.

  • Handling small inflatable boats by paddle, or on tether.

  • Utilizing climbing and technical rescue gear applicable to swiftwater rescue.

  • Fording shallow and fast-moving water utilizing various techniques.

  • Navigating deep, slow-moving and fast-moving water utilizing basic climbing gear, small boats, and combinations of the two.

Courses: Course # Hours
TR – Water Rescue Operations 6405 6
TR – Water Rescue Techniques 6406 18
TR – Water Rescue Transportation 6407 15
TR – Water Rescue Victim Mgmt 6408 9

Exams & Testing:

The written exam for the course is a 100 question exam. Students successfully completing the required practical skill sets will be permitted to sit for the written exam. No Exceptions.