River Rescue Training
‘You may not know it, but New Zealand has one of the most highly regulated white-water rafting industries in the world. This level of regulation seeks to ensure that people going rafting are guided by suitably qualified and trained guides. Sitting in behind the actual on water trip are Safe Operational Plans and Safety Management Systems. These plans cover areas such as Risk Management, hazard identification, communications, emergency procedures and much more.
Sometimes however, no matter how much preparation is put into a trip, things can go very wrong. Rivers that are predominately rafted on in New Zealand are generally steep and rocky. This type of operating environment presents sets of challenges not found on bigger volume rivers often rafted on in other countries.
Commercial white-water rafting in New Zealand has now been a part of the adventure tourism scene for 45 years. Over that time a vast amount of experience has been gained, not only around how to guide a raft, but also, what tools, strategies and techniques can be used when things do go very wrong.
This is sharing of information and experience is where the annual River Rescue Workshop organised by the New Zealand Rivers Association is so important. Each year two River Rescue Workshops are held, one in the North Island and one in the South. For aspirant guides attempting to get their initial guiding qualification, the workshop is 5 days. For already qualified guides, the workshop is 3 days. For senior Guides it is a requirement to attend a Rescue Workshop at least once every 3 years. These workshops are in addition to regular training that each company may undertake on their own river.
Our guides attend the River Rescue Workshop on a regular basis. To read more about what the workshop involves, and to see some photos from the latest workshop read our blog post here.