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NZOIA WWNZ River Rescue Level 1 Scope and Syllabus


River Safety Courses: Courses, Providers, Forms | River Rescue 1 | River Rescue 2


The NZOIA / WWNZ River Rescue Level 1 holder will have been trained in the following skills in Class 2 white-water:

  • River hydrology
  • Communications
  • River running strategies
  • Equipment selection
  • Self rescue
  • Bank based rescue
  • Boat based rescue
  • Swimmer based rescue

This certificate is part of a pathway for recreational and professional paddlers to better enable them to safely paddle with their peers, when leading a group, or when providing an instructional or guided experience. This certificate does not define the ability to lead or instruct.

River Rescue Level 1 is a pre-requisite for participation in the NZOIA Kayak Instructor Level 1 and NZOIA Canoe Instructor Level 1 assessments.


To enable meaningful learning in all aspects of the syllabus it is required that participants have the following kayaking experience:

  • No less than 10 river trips on Class 2 white-water, and sufficient experience to paddle independently without the close supervision of peers or an instructor
  • Reliable roll in Class 2 white-water (kayakers only)


The NZOIA / WWNZ River Rescue 1 certificate holder is recommended to attend a River Rescue Level 1 course every three years.

Progressing to River Rescue Level 2

As the NZOIA / WWNZ River Rescue Level 1 certificate holder gains more experience, they can progress to gaining the Level 2 certificate. The steps they can follow include:

  • Gaining the experience outlined in the NZOIA / WWNZ River Rescue Level 2 pre-requisites
  • Attending a skills training course


Technical Skills

  • 1. Self, boat and bank based rescues
  • 2. Selection and correct use of gear and safety equipment commonly used for river running in New Zealand
  • 3. Knowledge of common river hazards
  • 4. Controlled river running

Rescue Management

  • 5. Working within a team to deal with a rescue scenario
  • 6. Organise and lead a group to deal with a rescue scenario

© NZOIA and White Water NZ June 2014

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