Triad River Tours River Rafting Safety Talk Overview


Guides names


All guides are certified to Washington State Standards

WFA/WFR –or- First Aid and medical qualifications. Perhaps mention advocacy of hands only CPR.

SRT-1 w/ Swiftwater Safety Institute

River Conditions & Protocol Intro         

Current Flow (in CFS)

Current Water Temperature

Evacuation count and location

Nearest Emergency Medical Services and estimated response time

Sauk: 15 minutes

Skykomish: 10 minutes

Skagit: 15-25 minutes

Snoqualmie: 20 minutes

Protocol Overview

Name of river or section

Third party audited by Swiftwater Safety Institute

Practiced and tested by our certified guides

Guide Giving Safety talk can insert their experiences on this river and what they think of it here

Duty to Warn (at least 3 of 4)

Hypothermia (always)

Notes: America Outdoors Association Winter 2007 Newsletter: Commercial operators and clubs in paddlesports should undertake to warn people of the effects of cold water immersion and should increase their explanations as to how to re- spond to cold water immersion. First - a guide or outfitter doing safety briefings should warn participants to be aware that immersion in cold water will lead to involuntary re- flexes like gasping and panic, all of which will greatly increase the victim’s respiratory and cardiac responses. The verbal warning should notify people that this response will occur in normal healthy people and that folks with any of the common risk factors asso- ciated with heart disease should be especially cautious in choosing this activity.


Cold Shock

immediately relevant

gasping underwater causing drowning in many case studies

Swim Failure

Relevant within 3 minutes of immersion

Wood & Strainers (always)

Foot Entrapment (and other general types of entrapment)

Big Water & Flush Drowning (may need to swim to bank)

Aggressively swim back to the raft –or- to the bank if deemed the best way to rescue.



No need to ask permission of strangers

We are all on the same team

Be rescue ready

Don’t be afraid to yell and use your voice

PandamoniumPandemonium/Stay cCalm/Listen to your guide


I’m ok/You’re ok (head pat)

Whistle Blasts (1 to get attention, 3 for emergency or flip)

Eye contact

Guides always point to safety

Rescue Procedures

Notes: Reach Row Throw Go used by all Swiftwater Rescue Schools, Fire Departments, Sherrif’s office, Military, Boy Scouts; remind guests that it is a global industry standard for commercial whitewater, it works and in every rescue it is what we will utilize at Triad.

Simple is smooth and smooth is fast

4 types of rescue, starting with the most simplesimplest and avoiding complexity

Hold on to your paddle if you can, but do not allow paddle to inhibit your rescue

Whitewater swimming (2 kinds) and “choice”

Passive swimmers position (nose and toes out of water, feet and eyes downstream)

Aggressive swimming (Michael Phelps analogy)

Notes: Feet are up in both types


Demonstrate this by showing reaching and pulling in by life jacket “lapels” or shoulder straps

Demonstrate utilizing reach rescue utilizing a T-grip rescue which extends rescue radius

Reach rescue is the most effective and efficient form of rescue and by far the most common –so- if this rescue can be utilized effectively it makes more serious rescues unnecessary.


Utilizing the raft as a rescue device

Often times raft will pass swimmer in order to maintain “containment” and/or “bracket” the swimmer to prevent a flush situation

Listen to your guide (no need to tell guide repeatedly that your loved one, family member, or tinder date is in the river; we can all count to 8 and know when someone is missing from the raft)

Once back to raft perform “reach” rescue


Utilized when swimmers are in two areas, in cases of flip, but avoided unless necessary due to introduction of entrapment risk by added rope to river.

Ropes float and are yellow

Grab them with hands do not wrap around wrists or body

Turn around backwards to be pulled in so you can breathe

If guide asks you to pull someone in abandon paddle and pull swiftly, then “reach” rescue when they get to the raft

If a guide requestsrequests, you may be asked to throw the rope back into the river in order to prevent entrapment (more common in continuous whitewater or when the rope snagged on something)


Techniques that are more contemporary and a result of more Class 5 kayaking in highly exposed areas

Rare, but if you raft long enough you will see one

Adaptive and Creative (always different)

Often requires a “live bait” or “strong swimmer”

Show descending ring and quick release buckle

Often requires guest participation

If guests want to assist they can step forward (no need to talk to guides, simply being nearby tells them you’re willing)

If guests are waiting stay warm by moving around or doing jumping jacks

Paddle Talk

T-Grip dangers

K=Keep holding on to T-Grip as it represents an immediate danger

Resting position; flat on your legs in a position ready to go forward or back

Forward paddling

Back paddling

Paddle commands

Flip Preparation & Prevention



Differing systems here in different places. Triad advocates to recovery raft FIRST in order to transform raft from a disabled position into a rescue capable craft.

In colder water, on smaller, minimalist type trips this is the way to do it as repeated immersion in water is much more dangerous

In warmer places people are pulled up on top of upside down rafts but we will not do that. You must tread water and hang on to raft or swim to another raft or shore when raft is flipped.

Guide will check clear, andclear and give commands; you will have to let go of the rope and “swim away” at least for a moment while guide “rights” raft.

Once raft is right side up we have another “reach” rescue, and then we’re rafting again.

Ideally this all happens within 1 minute.

Go Rafting