Water Rescue Technician Course

Rescuers practice shore-based rescue using ropes from pier to rescue victim

The Water Rescue Technician (WRT) Course is a fast-paced, comprehensive 9-hour training and educational program specifically designed for Public Safety and Rescue Professionals, including Law Enforcement, Fire, Rescue, EMS and Lifeguard Personnel.

The Awareness and Operational levels are designed as a foundational course for all public safety and rescue professionals, regardless of their swimming ability or experience in, on or around the water. Technician level course participants must be in good physical condition, and be comfortable and able to propel themselves in deep water while wearing a lifejacket.

The Awareness level classroom consists of a 4.5 hour classroom session. The Operations and Technician levels also include a 4.5 hour practical session.

The focus of this one-day training program is on the prevention, recognition and management of drowning and aquatic injuries, surface water rescue and survival principles and procedures. It is designed to provide public safety and rescue professional with the knowledge and skills required to safely and effectively respond to rescue and recovery incidents in, on, and around the water.

Subjects and/or practical evolutions include the following:

  • Physiology/Mechanisms of Drowning
  • Principles of Water Rescue and Survival
  • Threat Analysis and Pre-Incident Planning
  • Types and Uses of Personal Flotation Devices
  • Shore-based Non-swimming Rescues
  • Basic Contact and Swimming Rescues
  • Cold Water Rescue and Survival
  • Ice Rescue and Survival
  • Swiftwater Rescue and Survival
  • Firefighter Survival in the Water
  • Management of Aquatic Spinal Injuries
  • Personal Defense and Survival Maneuvers
  • Incident Command

Course Schedule
The 9-hour Water Rescue Technician Course is scheduled from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Sign-in begins at 7:30 AM. A classroom session is conducted from 08:00 - 12:30 hrs., followed by 4.5-hour in-water practical session. Certificates are awarded to those who successfully meet all educational course objectives including: (A) participation in classroom session, and (B) completion of all practical evolutions.

FIREFIGHTER SURVIVAL IN THE WATER Video Clip
This video clip represents skill evolutions demonstrated and practiced as part of the Water Rescue Technician Course. Watch Now (QuickTime 26Mb)

Pre-Requisite: 

The WRT Candidate must be in good physical condition and must be able to effectively propel themselves in the water and be comfortable in deep water while wearing a Lifejacket.

All practical evolutions, with the exception of some shallow water skills and the Firefighter Survival evolutions, are performed while wearing a Personal Flotation Device (PFD). No other prerequisites are required.

Required Equipment: 

Participants must wear either long pants and t-shirt (or wetsuit) and tennis shoes (or wetsuit booties). All participants must also wear a lifejacket and helmet, both provided by Lifesaving Resources, during the practical sessions.

Course Completion: 

Individuals who participate in a Water Rescue Technician Course and who successfully complete the classroom session and the final written examination, but who cannot participate or successfully complete the practical session, will be awarded a Water Rescue Awareness certificate.

Continuing Education Credit
9-hours of continuing education units are typically awarded by state and/or national professional associations such as the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians for completion of this training course, should you wish to arrange this in advance. This curriculum meets and exceeds NFPA 1670 Standard for Technical Rescue.

Course Reviews

Brian Hagan, Mike Ketschek - July 13, 2003

Thank you for a great day up in Acton. I wanted to contact you and let you know how thoroughly impressed Mike and I were with your presentation modules and training evolutions...

Brian W. Focht, Chief

"On behalf of the Officers and Members of the Willow Grove Volunteer Fire Company, I would like to let you know how impressed the members of my company were with the education...

Steven I. Marshall, Sergeant- EMT-I/M

"I just attended your Water Rescue Technician course at Crotched Mountain this month, and again want to say how much I enjoyed the course. I had arrived planning on it being...

Sheila Johnson, Aquatics Director

"The most awesome course I have ever taken. Makes me want to change my career."

Capt. D. Music

"Gerry Dworkin's background experience provided a great asset to the basic book training and practical evolutions. Instructor life experience cannot be taught and must be lived...

Daniel J. Paolini

"Best Instructor and hands-on rescue course I've taken in my 27 years with the fire service"