All courses are adapted for COVID-19. Read the COVID procedures.
Build a solid foundation of skills and knowledge for paddling and travelling on rivers. Get hands-on practice and professional instruction. Gain the confidence to perform rescues and make smart decisions.
Take this course and achieve international certification that’s valid for 3 years. During that time, you can upgrade to the ‘technician’ level with the 2-day Whitewater Rescue Technician Bridge course.
Get 10 – 15 % off through multi-student specials and pro-deals.
- Get tons of hands-on practice with experienced instructors, a great learning environment, and a well-run course
- Increase your knowledge of the river environment to avoid hazards and work with the water, not against it
- Practice techniques such as swimming, wading, and throwing ropes to move around the river, perform self-rescues, and rescue others
- Learn knots, anchors, and rope systems for use in equipment recovery and transportation
- Carry out effective rescues with limited resources when river running
Take away materials
- Waterproof course manual: Whitewater Rescue Field Guide
- Certification card
- General concepts of whitewater and swiftwater rescue
- Personal and group equipment
- River safety and scene management
- River signals and communications
- River features and hydrology
- Related medical topics: drowning and hypothermia
- Swimming in moving water: self rescue and whitewater maneuvers
- Throw ropes
- Contact rescues
- Introduction to quick release rescue harness and ‘live bait’ rescue
- Rescue of panicked subjects
- Shallow water crossings
- Knots, anchors, and basic tensioning systems
- ‘Strainer’ swim
Rescue problems & scenarios
- Foot entrapment
- Kayak, canoe, and raft pins and wraps
- Managing flips and swims
- Rescue simulations
Course format and overview
Once you register, you’ll get a link to our online learning platform. Budget about 4-6 hours to complete the work. You will:
- Going through video and text lessons
- Do short quizzes
- Read and sign your course waiver forms
By learning the pre-course prep material first, we can spend more course time practicing where it matters: on and around the river.
After registering, you’ll receive a ‘student information package’ with specific meeting times for your course. Typically class starts at 8:30am and goes to 6:30pm.
Attendance is mandatory
Attendance for 100% of class time is mandatory. If you can’t make a session you need permission from the instructor in advance. Students who miss a section of the course without pre-approval may be asked to leave the course.
Assessment and evaluation for certification
Practical assessment is ongoing within a supportive, professional, and fun learning environment.
To achieve the WWR Level II certification you need to:
- Attend all sessions and participate throughout the course
- Demonstrate an understanding of river safety and river rescue skills
Your certification is valid for 3 years from the date of issue.
Recertification in Whitewater Rescue (WWR) Level II
You should consider upgrading from Whitewater Rescue (WWR) Level II by taking the two-day Whitewater Rescue Technician – Bridge (WRT-Bridge) III course. Or you can recertify your Whitewater Rescue (WWR) II by re-taking the course.
Upgrading to Technician Level Certification
If you have current certification you could upgrade with either the 2-day WRT Recertification/Bridge Level III option or the 4-day WRT Levels I, II, & III course.
To successfully upgrade to the technician-level certification in 2 days, it is important that you arrive for your course ready to use your skills and knowledge from your previous training courses and experiences. The 2-day option is great if you have been practicing most of your skills regularly and spending time in and around rivers during the 3 years since your last course.
We recommend taking the complete 4-day WRT course in these situations:
- you would like more supervised practice time
- you haven’t spent very much time around rivers since your last course
- you aren’t able to perform the skills outlined in the WRT-Bridge pre-course assignment
Certification from other training providers
You can take the WRT-Bridge or WRT-Recertification course if your current certification is through a provider other than Boreal River Rescue. Please contact the office for approval.
Equipment and clothing to bring
This is a general list of what to bring for a WRT-Bridge course. Please refer to your ‘student information package’ (emailed to you once you register) for a complete list specific to your course.
For the river:
- Whitewater helmet. You can rent one from us for the whole course for $10 CAD.
- Whitewater PFD (personal flotation device) Needs to be in good condition and fit properly. A quick-release harness is not mandatory for WWR students. You can rent a rescue PFD from us for the whole course for $35 CAD—it comes equipped with a knife, whistle, and quick release harness.
- River shoes – closed toe
River shoes with full toe coverage that are supportive but also lightweight and draining with a grippy sole. This could be a model made specifically for the river or a lightweight running shoe, trail-running shoe, or sneaker. Neoprene shoes can work if they have enough support and traction but neoprene socks or booties are not adequate.
- Wetsuit or drysuit
A wetsuit or drysuit is necessary for courses before mid-June or past mid-September in eastern or central North America and always necessary on glacier-fed rivers. You can rent a full length wetsuit (4mm with fleece lining and full arms and legs) from us for the whole course for $55 CAD.
- Base layers, insulation, and socks
Make sure to have several layers of socks, pants, and tops made of wool, fleece, polyester, or another synthetic material to wear in addition to your wetsuit or drysuit (or to be worn on their own on sunny days and in warm water).
- Surf shorts
- Rash guard
- Snacks, lunch, and water bottle or thermos
Keeping yourself fuelled with calories is one of the keys to staying warm and happy. We usually don’t stop for a long lunch break but instead, take several shorter eating breaks throughout the day so it is good to bring lots of food and things that don’t require much preparation on the side of the river. Also make sure to have some high calorie snacks that you can keep in your PFD pocket.
- Sunscreen, lip protection, bug repellent
- Neoprene gloves (optional)
- Neoprene head warmer (optional)
- Camera (optional)
- Sunglasses or prescription glasses with strap (optional)
For on land:
- Comfortable clothing
- Comfortable shoes
- Tuque (warm hat), gloves, or mitts for early and late season courses
- Sun hat, visor, or baseball cap
- Gear bag or container to store your equipment for transport
- Day pack or drybag to store your belongings during class
- Pens and notepad
Consider the following items but refer to the ‘student information package’ for your course to see the accommodation options available and a more specific list:
- Meals and cooking equipment
- Camping equipment or bedding
- Personal hygiene products and medications
- Indoor clothing and shoes
Join a scheduled course at one of our amazing training rivers or have our instructor travel to a river near you for group training.
Be sure to read our cancellation policy.
Upcoming WWR courses
Boreal River Rescue provides a great program. Having just recertified my whitewater rescue technician, the course met and surpassed expectations.... read moreBoreal River Rescue provides a great program. Having just recertified my whitewater rescue technician, the course met and surpassed expectations. It provided a great refresher on skills & also provided new information to help me grow. I find some recertification courses don't go beyond the minimum required for the recertification. I have found that Boreal River Rescue provides a refresher on skills but also builds on knowledge helping participants to continue to grow. The instructors are great and provide a fun and entertaining environment. I highly recommend taking whitewater rescue courses with Boreal River Rescue! read lessMike Thaler 29 May 2019
Solid. I have now taken a WFR and a River rescue course with Boreal and they are excellent. Professional, amazing... read moreSolid. I have now taken a WFR and a River rescue course with Boreal and they are excellent. Professional, amazing skills and excellent teaching. I highly recommend them. read lessColin Bunge 05 Jun 2019
Une super expérience d’apprentissage autant utile qu’intéressant! Raph et Francis savent de quoi ils parlent et partagent leur connaissances dans... read moreUne super expérience d’apprentissage autant utile qu’intéressant! Raph et Francis savent de quoi ils parlent et partagent leur connaissances dans une ambiance très décontractée sans manquer de rigueur!Félix Leblanc 20 Jul 2020
Formation vraiment trippante!!!
On se voit dans un peu moins de 3 ans😉 read less
The Whitewater Rescue 4 day Course will blow your mind, you learn SO much!! Julian was my instructor, he is... read moreThe Whitewater Rescue 4 day Course will blow your mind, you learn SO much!! Julian was my instructor, he is SO GOOD at what he does.Klade Kerr 17 Jul 2020
You won’t regret taking the course. Everybody at Boreal is so accommodating and understanding. My course was a socially-distanced one, after the Covid restrictions lifted. Everything still worked out very well with the covid protocols in place.
I highly recommend this course to anyone read less
Last weekend, a group of us took the 2-day Whitewater Rescue Course at Gatineau River, and we absolutely loved it!... read moreLast weekend, a group of us took the 2-day Whitewater Rescue Course at Gatineau River, and we absolutely loved it! Danny and Rob both did a phenomenal job instructing the course. They made all of the information clear, patiently answered all of our questions, and gave us tons of hands-on practice in the river. Aside from all of that, it was also tons of fun! Thank you Danny and Rob for an amazing weekend! read lessSean Musclow 14 Sep 2018
Ten years in and Boreal River is the industry leader. Whether you are looking for first aid training, whitewater rescue... read moreTen years in and Boreal River is the industry leader. Whether you are looking for first aid training, whitewater rescue certification, or high quality adventure guiding, Boreal River is the top echelon in Canada. Through his passion for rivers, people, and education, Danny has assembled an incredible team who share his passions and diversify the experience for clients. This is the due to a lifelong focus on the highest professional standard and, over time, attracting like-minded people. The result is a company driven by passionate and professional staff who are committed to providing the highest quality experience possible for their clients. Congrats to Danny and the entire Boreal River team; you truly have built something very special together over the last 10 years!Bill Mitchell 12 Jun 2019
-Bill Mitchell, Vanier College Outdoor Education read less
Real good instruction, they respected people's limitations/comfort zone, offered other ways and individual short instruction for who are not so... read moreReal good instruction, they respected people's limitations/comfort zone, offered other ways and individual short instruction for who are not so good on parts of the course read lessCurtis Mark-Stewart 19 Sep 2015
these guys know their stuff, and maintain lots of energy throughout their courses. definitely recommend to anyone looking to build... read morethese guys know their stuff, and maintain lots of energy throughout their courses. definitely recommend to anyone looking to build their confidence in and around whitewater read lessShaughn McArthur 02 Jul 2020
Excellent WRT course! 4 days were packed with hands on training. Julian is an outstanding and knowledge instructor that knows... read moreExcellent WRT course! 4 days were packed with hands on training. Julian is an outstanding and knowledge instructor that knows how to teach his students. Will definitely sign up for other courses from Boreal and highly recommend them. read lessSheba Dowlatshahi 10 Aug 2020
This is the second whitewater rescue course I've taken with Boreal -first in Ottawa and now in Squamish - and... read moreThis is the second whitewater rescue course I've taken with Boreal -first in Ottawa and now in Squamish - and every time it's excellent. Their instructors are so knowledgeable and have put a lot of thought into what and how they teach. Great course for building confidence and experience in whitewater - I'll definitely take it again. read lessStephanie Hewson 09 Jul 2020
I took the 2-day Whitewater Rescue course and was thoroughly impressed with the quality of instruction and training. The time... read moreI took the 2-day Whitewater Rescue course and was thoroughly impressed with the quality of instruction and training. The time spent on the rapids was amazing with such realistic simulation and hands-on practice! Would definitely take another course with Boreal River and recommend their courses for others! read lessRobyn Stevens 17 Jul 2018
Just completed the WRT re-certification course and I found it very stimulating as the course built nicely on previous skills... read moreJust completed the WRT re-certification course and I found it very stimulating as the course built nicely on previous skills learned and practiced and found a way to add new exercises and twists to learning the material. The locations were exciting to practice at, the pace was fast, and the hands-on aspect of training presented a balance of adrenaline and pushing physical limits, altogether satisfying! Highly recommend for those seeking technical knowledge of rescue techniques for their adventures in the wilderness. read lessDavid Lazar 02 Jul 2020
I have now completed swift water rescue and ice rescue training with Boreal River. Both courses were completely hands... read moreI have now completed swift water rescue and ice rescue training with Boreal River. Both courses were completely hands on and gives you a true appreciation for water and the hazards it may pose. Jimmy P. was my instructor for both courses and was very knowledgeable about rescue techniques. These courses equip you with the skills and confidence to explore the outdoors. I highly recommend Boreal River. read lessTrenton Spence 25 Mar 2021
I did my whitewater rescue technician and wilderness first responder certs with Boreal and thoroughly enjoyed both. Danny was especially... read moreI did my whitewater rescue technician and wilderness first responder certs with Boreal and thoroughly enjoyed both. Danny was especially good explaining concepts so that even a relative novice such as myself could understand. The courses were in-depth, challenging without being overwhelming, and found creative ways to remain COVID safe without sacrificing learning. I would absolutely recert with them. read lessRobyn F 04 Jun 2021
Recerted both my WRT and WFR with Boreal this fall and both courses were both challenging and enjoyable. In... read moreRecerted both my WRT and WFR with Boreal this fall and both courses were both challenging and enjoyable. In the case of the WFR there has been considerable change in how spine injuries are categorized and treated and we received a lot of practical experience in applying new standards. As usual, Boreal's excellent training was backed up by efficient course administration. read lessPeter Kasurak 05 Nov 2019
I completed my swiftwater/whitewater course with Boreal. Initially I did the course in Quebec and I recently re-certified with... read moreI completed my swiftwater/whitewater course with Boreal. Initially I did the course in Quebec and I recently re-certified with them out west on the Squamish River. Both experiences were really good. The instructors really know there stuff. They don't make you, but definitely encourage you to try stuff out of your comfort zone in a safe environment. It's a really fun course. read lessjamus meyer 04 Jun 2021
Awesome class!! We had Julian has an instructor and he made our time at Boreal a a great learning opportunity.... read moreAwesome class!! We had Julian has an instructor and he made our time at Boreal a a great learning opportunity. We've been taught a lot (long days, be advised!) and we practiced, practiced and practiced. I always felt that the crew was safe and listened to. Our questions were addressed and the information was passed on simply and effectively. I'll be back for sure! read lessLes Flavoureux 01 Jul 2020
I was fortunate to join a wilderness first responder first aid course last winter and was so impressed with the... read moreI was fortunate to join a wilderness first responder first aid course last winter and was so impressed with the attention to detail and intensive training that I vowed to take Boreal's Whitewater Rescue Technician course this year. Mission accomplished in September ( a great time to take this course as the water is still warm), it was an intensive re-cert course at Boreal's base camp on the Upper Gatineau River. I walked, or should I say swam away from the course with the knowledge and motivation to keep practicing these skills until my next re-cert. read lessPaul Mason 13 Sep 2018
Great instructors-Ben & Ian are fantastic educators. It was a steep learning curve (for me) and they were patient with... read moreGreat instructors-Ben & Ian are fantastic educators. It was a steep learning curve (for me) and they were patient with everyone’s questions, clear with the answers. They made us work really hard every day and I loved every minute of it! read lessFelicia Feather 05 Jul 2018
Took my WRT recert this past weekend on the Magnetewan river and it lived up to everything Boreal is known... read moreTook my WRT recert this past weekend on the Magnetewan river and it lived up to everything Boreal is known for: amazing hands-on instruction, realistic simulations with in-depth debriefs, and instructors with a wealth of experience and a genuine joy for the subject they're teaching.Grant Bowles Conover 30 May 2019
Wouldn't take a WRT anywhere else,
Thanks again Danny, Rianna, Addie, and Tai! read less
Just finished the whitewater rescue technician course. This is the third course I have done with Boreal River Rescue and... read moreJust finished the whitewater rescue technician course. This is the third course I have done with Boreal River Rescue and I have only good things to say about them. Danny and his crew did a fantastic job of demonstrating all the skills and giving us lots of time for supervised practice. The scenarios they set up for us were great for showing us how to bring it all together to perform successful rescue ops. I look forward to doing more courses with Boreal in the future. read lessBill Gadzos 21 May 2021
Super experienced, knowledgeable instructor and the course offers tons of hands-on experience. The time spent in the water and in... read moreSuper experienced, knowledgeable instructor and the course offers tons of hands-on experience. The time spent in the water and in action is a huge confidence booster for anyone working in whitewater. read lessCameron MacPhail 25 Jun 2020
Finished 4 day WRT course at Gatineau River with Julian and loved it ! Super knowledgeable and always able to... read moreFinished 4 day WRT course at Gatineau River with Julian and loved it ! Super knowledgeable and always able to share more and more ! Tons of fun on a super friendly and safe environment ! Travel across the Atlantic to do this course and couldn't be more happy with the choice ! Definitely exceed the expectations! Can't wait to join Boreal again in the future ! read lessHernâni Lima 18 Jun 2018
Took the two day Whitewater Rescue Certification course and had a phenomenal experience. Instructors were very professional and approachable. The... read moreTook the two day Whitewater Rescue Certification course and had a phenomenal experience. Instructors were very professional and approachable. The course was fun and I feel much more confident in whitewater as well as performing rescues in emergency situations. Thanks! read lessOlivia Perryman 13 Sep 2017
Course is well structured and is easy to follow every step of the way. It just flows perfectly. Good instructor,... read moreCourse is well structured and is easy to follow every step of the way. It just flows perfectly. Good instructor, good vibe. Definitely will be back for tech level. Thanks Danny. read lessMarco Petrie 14 Jul 2015
These guys are tops - they know their material, and keep up a great level of energy (even when freezing... read moreThese guys are tops - they know their material, and keep up a great level of energy (even when freezing cold and raining). My 14 year old son was as interested and engaged as the dads in the crew, as were newer and more seasoned paddlers, and everyone in-between. Will be back for more certs. Thanks Danny & co! read lessShaughn McArthur 06 Jul 2020
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