Whitewater Safety

Colorado Whitewater takes river safety seriously. We offer a variety of courses for our members that help them and their paddling partners safer on the river.

While all outdoor recreation has inherent risks, many whitewater accidents are preventable. Here are some simple things YOU can do to stay safe.
  1. Wear your Life Jacket regardless of boat type or difficulty of water. A third of all whitewater accidents could have been prevented if the victim was wearing a life vest; many deaths occur in very easy rapids!
  2. Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs. Alcohol dulls reflexes and survival responses and is often linked to fatalities. Celebrate at your campsite or home.
  3. Know the river to prevent unpleasant surprises. Find out what lies downstream. Check the AW site, guidebooks, Google earth, and get advice from paddlers who have been there!
  4. Avoid extremes of weather and water: Very high flows and cold temperatures pose special challenges to paddlers. If you don't have the specialized gear and skills needed, wait until conditions improve.
  5. Avoid dams: Small low-head dams are responsible for over 8% of river fatalities. Most are much worse than they look! Know the location of dams before launching on a river, and avoid getting too close to the upstream or downstream sides of them.

Safety Instructional Classes

Somewhere, at sometime, you will wish you knew what to do in a river emergency. Just rescuing gear can turn into a nightmare, never mind rescuing a person. Quick response time and the knowledge to set up a rescue safely are skills you should have as a boater. Make this the year to bring your rescue skills to a higher level. Friends owe it to friends to be capable of river rescue.  Kayakers must be of Class II-III ability. Rescue lifejackets are considered personal equipment and are highly recommended.

Sept 9-10 (CO River Weekend) Swiftwater Rescue Skills with Whitewater Attainment Instructor Tommy Gram

June 6 Boat-Based Rescue: with Whitewater Workshop Instructor Nick White

May 9th Boat Based Rescue clinic at Golden Whitewater Park with Whitewater Workshop

More dates may be announced in the future, please check back.

Course questions should be directed to the Instructor Nik White

General questions about Safety at CW should be directed to CW's Safety Director Chris Zeller.

CPR/First Aid

All Instructors, cruise leaders and sweeps are required to be Red Cross First Aid/CPR certified.  As such, CW will again be providing free Red Cross First Aid/CPR certification classes for these volunteers! Please email Chris Zeller for Code.

Register for the April 22nd, 2023 CPR/First Aid course

Training meets OSHA Guidelines for First Aid Programs and combines lecture, interactive video demonstrations featuring emergency scenarios that are likely to occur in a variety of environments and hands-on training to teach participants lifesaving skills.  

First Aid: Participants learn to recognize and care for a variety of first aid emergencies, such as burns, cuts and scrapes, sudden illnesses, head, neck and back injuries, and heat and cold emergencies.

CPR Adult: Participants learn how to perform CPR and care for breathing and cardiac emergencies in adults.

CPR Child and Infant: Participants learn how to prevent, recognize and respond to cardiac and breathing emergencies in infants and children under 12.

AED: Participants learn how to use automatic external defibrillators.

We reserve the right to combine classes if participation is low, and will contact any registrants if we plan to consolidate.

Note: Registration for these events is non-refundable.

CW's Focus on River Safety
It is the responsibility of every club member to maintain this high standard of Whitewater Safety.

CW firmly supports the AW Safety Code and strongly encourages all paddlers to adopt it.

Additional Safety Resources:
Information provided by Princeton University Outdoor Action Program on how to run a safe river trip and hypothermia & cold weather injuries.

Check the Members Only page for discounts on safety training!

 Colorado Whitewater is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  1312 17th St #76767, Denver, CO 80202

©2023 Colorado Whitewater.

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