Water Rescue Technician Course

Course Summary:

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.

Course Schedule:

Current schedule of the Water Rescue Technician course can be found on our Course Registration page.


Village Fire Station, Kennebunkport, Maine

Additional Course Information:

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.

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

Course Day 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.

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


The classroom session on Saturday morning, for both the Water Rescue and Swiftwater Rescue Technician courses will be conducted at the Village Fire Station (32 North Street) in Kennebunkport, Maine from 08:00 – 12:30 PM. Lunch will be provided from 12:30 PM – 13:00, at which time we will transfer to Colony Beach in Kennebunkport for the afternoon practical session in the ocean.

For those participating in the Swiftwater Rescue Technician course, participants will continue on the second day for the swift water skills practical to be conducted from 09:00 – 18:00 hrs. in the Saco River, off Water Street in Saco. Lunch will be provided.

Firefighter Survival In The Water Video

This video clip represents skill evolutions demonstrated and practiced as part of the Water Rescue Technician Course.


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 a wetsuit or swift water rescue dry suit, gloves, and rigid-sole wetsuit booties, water shoes or tennis shoes.  Wetsuits can be rented from Aquaholics in Kennebunk or from a SCUBA dive shop.  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.


dworkin-smallGerald M. Dworkin

Gerald M. Dworkin (Gerry) is a professional Aquatics Safety & Water Rescue Consultant for Lifesaving Resources, LLC and is the author of publications including “Lifeguard Competition Guidebook” and “Ice Rescue Course Guidebook” (published by Lifesaving Resources).

Gerry has an extensive background in Aquatics Safety, Water Rescue, Ice Rescue, EMS, and Public Safety and Rescue. Along with his textbooks, he has written and published over 40 articles, and has consulted in over 350 drowning and aquatic injury litigation cases as a Forensics Expert.

Gerry has appeared as an expert on such national media broadcasts as CNN; MSNBC; CBS’ Early Show; ABC’s Good Morning America; NBC’s Today Show; and The Weather Channel. He is frequently contacted for interviews by publications throughout the U.S. on matters pertaining to submersion incidents; Lifeguard operations and management; submerged vehicle incidents; aquatics safety; water rescue; and ice rescue.

A Firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician for over 40 years, Gerry was a career Firefighter/EMT with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department in Virginia. He is currently a Firefighter/EMT with the Kennebunkport Fire Department in Maine.

Course Cancellation and Refunds:

Please visit our cancellations and refunds page for our complete policy.

Course Host and Sponsorship Opportunities:

Any agency, organization, company, or association may host or sponsor any of our training programs. For details, contact Lifesaving Resources at 207/967-8614 or e-mail [email protected].