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What is a Whitewater Rescue Technician (WRT) course?

I am often asked what’s involved in a Whitewater Rescue Technician (WRT) Course and how it differs from other rescue training courses.  Hopefully this blog can answer some of those questions!

The WRT course is internationally recognised and accredited by Rescue 3 Europe an organisation that certifies and manages all European Rescue 3 Training Providers, Instructors and students.

The WRT course was designed for recreational paddlers and outdoor professionals including Kayak/Canoe Instructors, Safety Kayakers, Raft and Canyon Guides who work or play in moving water. The emphasis of the course is on speedy, low-tech, and improvised rescues techniques that are effective and requires minimal equipment. The course is spread over 3 days.

For many students the course teaches a diverse range of techniques that can be applied in a variety of situations, environments and disciplines. The course can be tailored to groups and individuals who wish to focus on discipline specific elements such as Rafting, Kayaking, Canoeing or Canyoning.

The course content includes some of the following:

  • Rescue principles and philosophy    
  • Hydrology and hazards
  • Pre-planning and incident management including in water casualty management
  • Water rescue techniques, including people and boat entrapments 
  • Rope rescue techniques, including mechanical advantages, anchor systems and belay systems
  • Specialist rescues including night/poor visibility operations, search considerations and weir rescues

For students who work as professional Guides or Instructors it's worth noting that the WRT is accepted as an equivalent to the BCU White Water Safety & Rescue and the Advanced White Water Safety & Rescue (AWWS&R). As a result the British Canoe Union (BCU) accepts the WRT as a pre-requisite for inland 4 and 5 star awards.

Included in your course registration is the WRT student pack which consists of a student manual, whistle, ID card, WRT badge, certificate and skills sheet. 

Upon completing the course your training provider submits student skill sheets to Rescue 3 Europe. The qualification is valid for 3 years from the end date of the course. In order to maintain continuous accreditation students must re- certify before the end of these 3 years. Alternatively students can re-certify by taking a higher level course such as a Whitewater Rescue Technician Advanced (WRTA).


Before the WRT course became available students could enrol on a Swiftwater Rescue Technician (SRT) course. The SRT course was intended for personnel who may be required to carry out rescues in a swiftwater and flood environment, including emergency services and mountain rescue teams. The SRT course focuses on performing rescues within urban and natural environments and included training with specialist equipment such as inflatable hoses and rescue sleds - equipment not carried or used by outdoor instructors or recreational paddlers. As a result a decision was made to create a dedicated course for outdoor enthusiasts and the WRT was born!

If you would like any more information on our Rescue 3 courses, please don't hesitate to contact us.

See you on the water!

Josh O'Brien

(Rescue 3 Instructor)



Who we have worked with...

environmental charter rescue 3 europe
Llangollen Outdoors , The Fringe Shed , Parade Street , Llangollen , Denbighshire , Wales , LL20 8PW