How do I prepare for a boat operator course?

Read this FAQ to prepare for your boat operator course.

Q.  How is the course organized?

Q.  How long does the boat operator course run each day?

Courses run approximately 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. with a break for lunch.

Q:  Do I have to attend the whole course?

100% attendance is required to receive certification.

Q.  Will I get a confirmation that the boat operator course is going ahead?

Approximately 7-10 days before the course, you will receive an email to confirm details such as classroom location, start time, the instructor’s name and contact information for any last minute issues.

Q.  What do I need for the course?

  • Be prepared for note-taking
  • We recommend a full wetsuit or drysuit (goretex drysuits available for rent from Raven Rescue)
  • Water rescue or paddling helmet (provided on request – at no charge)
  • PFD (lifejacket) – Type III or V (provided on request – at no charge)
  • A full change of clothing
  • A towel

Q.  I’m renting equipment from Raven. When and where do I get it?

The instructor will provide rental gear on Day 1. Charges will apply if equipment is lost or damaged. Please follow instructions for putting on and taking off gear.

Q: What do I wear under a drysuit?

  • Fleece, wool or “wicking” pants and top (a drysuit liner is super nice, if you have one).
  • Fleece, wool or “wicking” socks
  • NO COTTON as it gets cold and wet quickly

Q: What kind of footwear do I need?

Q: Are there any nice extras to bring?

Q: Is pre-reading required?

No pre-reading is needed.

Q: Are meals included?

You are responsible for your own food. Please bring:

  • Lots of drinking water
  • Hot drink in a thermos (optional)
  • A good lunch and snacks as needed

Q. Do I have to go into the water for this course?

In order to be checked off as having performed all requisite skills and knowledge for certification, it is necessary to demonstrate the ability to self-rescue in moving water (see below).

Q.  What if I’m scared of performing the skills on this course?

While getting banged and bruised or cold and wet is not outside the realm of possibility during a technical rescue training course, in order to receive a certification you are not required to do anything you are uncomfortable with.

Raven recognizes that caution and knowing personal limits is a sign of a good rescuer. Therefore, our approach is “Challenge by Choice.” If you wish to observe a specific activity only, please advise the instructor immediately. This will be noted on your skill sheet and should be shared with your supervisor.

However, this also means that if you cannot demonstrate knowledge of key skills, your certification may be downgraded to the appropriate level by the Instructor.

Q.  What kind of paperwork do I receive?

  • A Certificate of Completion (digital)
  • A personalized skill sheet (training record) documenting the skills & knowledge you performed or observed. You should give a copy of this to your supervisor as it is proof you have taken the course. Keep your copy in a safe place.
  • Registration in the student database so that your credentials can be verified with a phone call or email.
  • Course text

Q.  How long is my certification valid?

Certification is valid for three years from date of issue. We offer discounted rates for re-certification as long as your certification is still valid when you register.

Q. I’ve heard I can audit for free?

Anytime during the three-year period that your certification is valid, you are welcome are to audit the same course – for free – to practice and refresh your skills.

We’ll even sign your skill sheet to prove you’ve been practicing your skills.

This does not take the place of a re-certification as it does not extend the length of your certification.

Driving into a Raven boat operator course like...
Swiftwater Rescue Motorized Boat Operator