The Boat Rescue award provides life saving knowledge and rescue skills for those engaged in small craft activities. Boat Rescue is designed for those who are already skilled in handling their craft. Training emphasizes self-rescue techniques, recognition of emergencies, factors in rescue craft performance and proper emergency response procedures. Since boat rescue techniques vary considerably with the type of craft and the wind and weather conditions, the requirements of the award specify the type of victim, rather than the method of rescue.

Prerequisites: Basic swimming and craft-handling skills is required.

Evaluation: All items are evaluated by a Boat Rescue instructor. Evaluation is continuous and often coincides with training. Candidates may confine their evaluation to the use of one type of vessel (for example, sailboat, canoe or kayak) or may demonstrate their knowledge and ability to perform using a variety of craft. Evaluation (and, as far as possible, training) is conducted in open water conditions.

Test items:

  1. Through practical activities, wherever possible, demonstrate an understanding of the practical items in this award, including:
    • The Lifesaving Society’s ladder approach: talk, throw, reach, wade, row, swim, tow and carry.
    • The increasing degree of risk to the rescuer as he or she experiences more complex rescue situations.
    • Knowledge of the buoyancy of various types of craft and how this relates to survival and rescue procedures.
    • The ability to define appropriate procedural steps in rescues involving small craft.
    • Methods of manoeuvring rescue craft into the best possible position for a rescue under various weather conditions.
    • Knowledge of types of personal flotation devices (PFDs) and lifejackets suitable for use in small craft, and their use in survival and rescue procedures.
  2. Demonstrate each of the following, while wearing a shirt, windbreaker or shell, shorts or pants, and shoes:
    1. Donning a PFD or lifejacket while treading water.
    2. The heat escape lessening posture (HELP) and huddle position, used in cold water conditions.
    3. Ability to remove shoes plus any clothing that you consider will impair your ability to remain afloat.
    4. Ability to tread water or do a survival float for 3 minutes without buoyant aids.
  3. Perform a reaching assist and throwing assist from the craft. In each case, bring the victim to the side or stern of the craft and, where deemed essential and practical, assist him or her into the craft. Demonstrate appropriate follow-up procedures.
  4. Perform a rescue of a non-breathing victim in a situation described by the examiner. Start rescue breathing as soon as possible. Use assistance in the situation, if you wish to, with appropriate follow-up.
  5. Perform a towing rescue of a person overboard: tow a clothed victim a minimum of 20 m to a position of safety. Note that the situation will be designed by the examiner based upon the candidate’s training.
  6. Perform a contact rescue of an unconscious victim in a situation described by the examiner. For the total rescue, cover a minimum distance of 20 m.