This packet of articles and links to further resources covers all of the ACA SWR Instructor Certification Class subjects.  SWR instructor candidates should browse the various topics to ensure they are current with ACA terminology and practices.  Becoming a ACA certified SWR instructor definitely takes some effort.  The ACA SWR program is in my opinion the most advanced one.  The standard 2-day class (Level 4) has an incredible amount of material, so much that many instructors feel it is too much to teach in one weekend.  Having taught various paddlesports classes, I find SWR the most enjoyable.  First off, typical students are already experienced paddlers (Kayak, Canoe, Raft, SUP, etc.).  The SWR program combines safety and rescue.  Many students have mentioned that this class does a great job in keeping them out of harms way when paddling.  Many students retake this class as well to ensure their rescue skills stay very current.

ACA SWR instructors are carefully vetted.  Their goal is to recruit/develop individuals with excellent communication skills and an interest in maintaining and improving safety and rescue knowledge.  The ACA provides different skill levels so most persons in our sport can enjoy teaching.  A great way to prepare for the Instructor Certification Workshop is practicing teaching with an ACA certified instructor.  Take time to practice your knots, throw bag skills, and swimming in fast turbulent water (actually a really fun activity).  Gain some familiarity with the ACA website and ensure your membership is current.  I would also paddle a large variety of rivers to develop strong boat/shore scouting skills.  Pretend you are paddling with a wide variety of boaters that includes novices.  Look both for fun and challenging lines as well as safe sneak routes.  Lead some club trips to gain practice with trip leading skills.  I also highly recommend reviewing the AW Accident Database periodically.  This resource can help you learn from others and perhaps give you interesting ideas for new practice scenarios.  When you are ready to share your knowledge with others, take this great course.

Demonstrate knowledge of ACA Policies & Procedures

ACA Safety & Rescue Classes

Demonstrate knowledge of teaching and learning theory

Demonstrate the following skills

Class Management

Introduction & Logistics

ACA Overview

How we evaluate instructors

Rescue Philosophy

Scene Management

Medical Issues


Rescue Vests

Throw Ropes

Line Ferries and Line Crossings



Mechanical Advantage



Stabilization, snag, and cinch lines

Hazards and Hydrology




Boat-based rescue

Tethered and Non-Tethered Swimming Rescues

Live Bait (Replaced by Tethered & Non-Tethered Rescues)

Contact Rescues and C-spine control (Replaced by Tethered & Non-Tethered Rescues)



SWR Class Final Exam