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Youth River Sense Course

The River School

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River Sense is a program designed to develop responsible practices in our future river enthusiasts.  Safety of participants is our number one concern. Our instructors are all certified through Rescue 3 International and have at a minimum a Wilderness First Aid certification. Additionally, we keep the ratio of students to instructors at or below 8:1. We look forward to having you join us for some fun on the river!

Course Length: 1 Days

Course Price: $90

Course Dates:

  • Level I Aug 1
  • Level II Aug 2

River Sense Level I (Ages 8-13):

This is a one-day course designed to introduce kids to a moving water environment and identify dangers while stressing safety. The course takes place on the Middle Fork of the Flathead between West Glacier and Blankenship Bridge on a thrilling raft trip! Under supervision, kids will have the opportunity to practice self-rescue techniques in a fun, controlled environment. The goal is to develop an awareness in each participant that might save themselves or a friend should an emergency arise.

  • Classroom talk about Hydrology and Hazards in the River
  • Offensive and Defensive swimming techniques, emphasis on Self-Rescue
  • Throw bagging – Kids will practice receiving the throw bag and getting towed to shore.
  • Log Strainer Swim – Woody debris is the biggest hazard in western rivers, knowing how to safely avoid them is critical!
  • Shallow Water Crossings – Practice various techniques of crossing streams and accessing someone in trouble.

River Sense Level II (Ages 14-17):

This is a one-day course designed for high school age teens. It is modeled after a swiftwater rescue program with emphasis on self-rescue and planning for safety. In addition to the skills learned in the level 1 course, students will also work on simple rope rescue systems and working through rescue scenarios. Students will also have the ability to practice swimming and catching eddies in whitewater. Additionally, participants will have the opportunity to help set up a tension diagonal (a water-based “zip-line”) for moving across a current. The course takes place on the whitewater stretch of the Middle Fork of the Flathead between Moccasin Cr. and West Glacier. This is a great course for an aspiring river guide or outdoorsman!

  • Classroom talk about Hydrology and Hazards in the River
  • Offensive and Defensive swimming techniques, emphasis on Self-Rescue
  • Throw bagging – Kids will practice receiving the throw bag and getting towed to shore.
  • Log Strainer Swim – Woody debris is the biggest hazard in western rivers, knowing how to safely avoid them is critical!
  • Shallow Water Crossings – Practice various techniques of crossing streams and accessing someone in trouble.
  • Rescue Scenarios – Scenarios are based on potential issues in the whitewater environment.
  • Rope Rescue Techniques – Students learn knots and mechanical advantage systems.
  • Advanced River Swimming – Students get to swim bigger rapids to develop better whitewater swimming skills and confidence in the water.
What to Bring