Whitewater NZ/NZOIA River Safety for Kayakers

Revised for Whitewater NZ and NZOIA by Matt Barker and interested parties in January 2007.

Revised January 2007

Courses, Providers, Forms | River Safety | River Rescue

This course is underpinned by a set of principles that help to promote safe white water kayaking. This course is a pre-requisite for River Rescue for Kayakers.

1. Principle of Mutual Support
It is vitally important that all group members see themselves as part of a mutually supportive team.
2. Principle of Line of Sight
There are two parts to this principle, the first is ensuring you can see safe clear water from where you are, to all the way to where you want to get. The second part is line of sight between group members.
3. Principle of Calculated Risk
Always weigh up the risks involved and the likely benefits in all situations, there will always be a next time.
4. Principle of Clear Communication
It is of vital importance that all team members understand all signals and that mistakes are not made in translation.
5. Principle of Visibility
Personal visibility is vitally important and so is the visibility of your equipment if you want team members to know where you are, or be rescued, or to get your gear back.
6. Principle of Prevention
Make the best use of manpower and equipment to try to prevent situations from starting or developing and ensure "clean rope" as much as possible.

Course Content


  • Equipment
    • Personal and group equipment available in New Zealand
    • Factors involved in their choice and use
  • Hydrology and the aquatic environment
  • Being your own rescue team
    • What is and what is not possible for your team
    • On river communication
    • River running strategy

Practical 1

  • Self rescue, safe swimming and danger of entrapment
  • Boat based rescues
  • Introduction to bank based rescues
  • Likely scenarios of swimmer and the 'yard sale'.

Practical 2

  • River trip
    • Application of the principles and techniques to promote safe boating, leadership and personal skill.