Basic River Rescue

This course has closed for 2019

COST: $65 per person

LATE REGISTRATION: +$20; students admitted at instructor discretion

This class provides an opportunity for you to learn how to help yourself and your paddling friends whenever you run into trouble on a whitewater river.  Examples of what is covered during the weekend include:

  • How to throw and catch a throw rope
  • Simple mechanical advantage systems
  • Swimming with and without your boat/paddle
  • Wading in current
  • Boat-based rescues: boat-over-boat, T-rescues, bow rescues, deep water re-entry

This course will be taught by Swiftwater Rescue trained instructors. Students will need to have some basic comfort with their paddling skills ON WHITEWATER before embarking on the training.  A roll is not necessary in order to take this class.

Membership in TSRA is required to register for Basic River Rescue. An annual family membership is only $25. Your membership dues help fund river and watershed conservation and river access in the state of Tennessee.

General Information: TSRA’s Basic River Rescue Clinic is held at Flip-Flop Burgers on the Hiwassee River, in Reliance, Tennessee. Plan to arrive Friday at your convenience. School begins Friday night when you meet with your instructors to prepare for Saturday morning. On Saturday and Sunday we will spend the morning doing land instruction and we will be on the river after lunch. Breakfast will be provided Saturday morning. All other meals are your responsibility.

1. Professional quality training in basic river rescue techniques over two days
2. Two nights at the Flip-Flop Burgers Campground. Bring your own tent and camping gear.
3. Breakfast Saturday morning.

Deadline for registration has closed. No refunds will be issued for cancellations after this date. LATE REGISTRANTS will be admitted only if instructors are available to maintain a good instructor-to-student ratio. LATE REGISTRANTS will be charged an additional $20 and will be responsible for their own meals.

Send questions to Tiffany Henderson.


You must furnish and keep up with your own equipment for the class.  PLEASE MAKE SURE TO READ THE ENTIRE SECTION BELOW BEFORE REGISTERING FOR THIS CLASS. 



The following is a minimum suggested list of equipment necessary for the school:
Whitewater boats (no recreational boats) are required for this course. If you have any questions as to whether or not your boat is acceptable, please email Tiffany Henderson at
Whitewater Kayaks:

  • Kayak
  • Flotation air bags for your boat
  • Paddle
  • Spray skirt  (be sure it fits the cockpit and your waist)
  • Helmet  (appropriate for whitewater and fits your head)
  • PFD Type III  

Whitewater Canoes:

  • Solo or tandem boat
  • Paddle(s) 
  • Flotation air bags
  • Helmet (appropriate for whitewater and fits your head)
  • PFD Type III

Flotation is necessary outfitting for any whitewater boat; we will be taking swims on purpose and flotation helps prevent the boat from taking on too much water.

• Exposure Protection :  polypropylene, wool, paddling jacket, wetsuit or drysuit.  NO COTTON!  The Hiwassee water is COLD- you will need extra layers.
• River booties or other foot protection (no open toed shoes, no exceptions).  You will be walking on rocks!
• Dry bag for keeping lunch, extra clothing, camera and valuables dry
• Sunglasses or glasses should have retainers that float, otherwise they will sink
• Nose clips (optional)
• Sunblock (oil free)
• Water bottle (hydration is very important on the river)
*Leave valuable jewelry/rings at home!

Please note:
TSRA Schools are organized and run by volunteers. Our volunteers need enough time to reserve staff and equipment, plan meals and do many other things. Please thank the volunteers who donate their time to make this class come to life!