Unit of competency details

SISOWWR201A - Demonstrate self rescue skills in white water (Release 2)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by SISORSC004 - Self rescue in white waterNot equivalent. Title changed. Unit recategorised to Rescue Operations. Unit reframed so that it can cover self rescues in different grades of rivers, 2, 3 & 4. Assessment can be contextualised to particular environments. Significant changes to knowledge evidence. 10/Sep/2019
Supersedes and is equivalent to SROWWR001B - Apply self rescue skills in white waterE Updated and equivalent to SROWWR001B Apply self rescue skills in white water 06/Jun/2011

ReleaseRelease date
2 (this release) 28/Nov/2011
(View details for release 1) 07/Jun/2011

Skill sets that include this unit


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 092101 Sport And Recreation Activities  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 092101 Sport And Recreation Activities  18/Nov/2011 
The content being displayed has been produced by a third party, while all attempts have been made to make this content as accessible as possible it cannot be guaranteed. If you are encountering issues following the content on this page please consider downloading the content in its original form

Modification History

Not Applicable

Unit Descriptor

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to apply self rescue skills in white water with Grade 2 rapids. This unit may be used in conjunction with other units, such as rafting, canoeing or kayaking, and applies to situations where crew member or members are in the water due to circumstances such as craft capsize.

Application of the Unit

This unit applies to those working as assistant rafting, canoeing or kayaking leaders working for outdoor education or adventure providers, volunteer groups, not-for-profit organisations or government agencies in a range of white water conditions.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

No licensing, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of endorsement.



Employability Skills Information

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements and Performance Criteria



Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the Evidence Guide.

1. Determine rescue technique.

1.1. Assess the situation and identify possible hazards  and risks  to self and others when swimming in white water.

1.2. Select a rescue technique suitable to the situation.

2. Apply defensive swimming techniques.

2.1. Adopt body position for defensive swimming.

2.2. Negotiate hazards using defensive swimming techniques  and ferry angles.

3. Apply aggressive swimming techniques.

3.1. Identify and apply techniques to actively free oneself from river hazards, using aggressive swimming techniques .

3.2. Effectively cross a current in order to reach the bank or eddy using a ferry angle.

3.3. Break in and out of eddies to get to shore.

3.4. Avoid obstacles and hazards using aggressive swimming using a support to self rescue

4. Apply shallow water crossing technique

4.1. Identify appropriate wading location 

4.2. Wade across a swift current of mid-thigh depth, alone and using support, to self rescue.

5. Demonstrate craft re-entry.

5.1. Identify appropriate re-entry techniques.

5.2. Select a method of re-entry after consideration of physical ability, type of craft  and situational variances .

Required Skills and Knowledge

This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • problem-solving skills to determine self rescue method or methods according to the situation and river conditions
  • river reading skills including direction and speed of flow, currents, eddies and other hydrological features to assist the self rescue
  • defensive and aggressive swimming skills to free oneself from possible hazards in fast moving water
  • shallow water wading techniques
  • re-entry techniques to re-enter the craft efficiently after a capsize.

Required knowledge 

  • hydrology and river grading systems to understand how rivers work to enable the safe application of self rescues
  • common hazards and risks involved with white water activities and appropriate responses
  • aggressive and defensive swimming techniques to get free from hazards
  • rescue and or recovery techniques suitable to the conditions and experience of the participant

Evidence Guide

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

Evidence of the following is essential:

  • identifies hazards and their implications for white water swimmers and applies knowledge of hydrology and river features to select a suitable self rescue method
  • applies appropriate body position and defensive and aggressive swimming techniques suitable to the conditions
  • adapts to problems or issues that arise during white water self rescues and makes adjustments to ensure safety of self and group
  • applies procedure to safely re-enter the craft following a capsize.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment must ensure application of self rescues on multiple occasions to demonstrate competency and consistency of performance.

Assessment must also ensure access to:

  • a white water location with Grade 2 rapids
  • equipment required to perform self rescues in white water conditions.

Method of assessment 

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples are appropriate for this unit:

  • oral or written questioning to assess knowledge of river hydrology and white water hazards and risks
  • observation of safe participation and demonstration of self rescue skills, such as defensive and aggressive swimming techniques
  • observation of dealing with contingencies such as changing currents or weather conditions.
  • third-party reports from a supervisor detailing performance.

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended, for example:

  • activity specific canoeing, kayaking or rafting units.

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Hazards  may include:

  • holes or stoppers
  • strainers
  • rocks
  • waterfalls
  • man made objects
  • weirs
  • sieves
  • cold water
  • undercuts.

Risks  may include:

  • hypothermia
  • drowning
  • injuries
  • exhaustion
  • water immersion
  • injury
  • entrapment
  • loss of equipment or persons downstream

Defensive swimming techniques  must include:

  • floating passively on back facing downstream
  • riding with the river current
  • pointing feet downstream toes out of the water
  • using arms and legs to fend off obstacles
  • swimming to shore or safety.

Aggressive swimming techniques  may include:

  • moving on to stomach
  • pointing feet downstream
  • swimming freestyle across current
  • swimming to shore or safety
  • clearing strainers
  • crossing eddy lines
  • swimming to shore safely.

Wading location  may include:

  • entry and exit points
  • river depth
  • river flow
  • river bed
  • clarity of water
  • clear of downstream hazards

Craft  may include:

  • rafts
  • canoes
  • kayaks
  • sports crafts.

Situational variances  may include:

  • depth of water
  • current
  • imminent hazards
  • availability of assistance.

Unit Sector(s)

Outdoor Recreation

Competency Field

White Water Rescue