FSRT Lesson Plans

Here’s some lesson plans, or at least coaching points, for the bits needed for a BCU FSRT course.


  • Assessing risks
  • How to get help
  • What kit to have to hand
  • Ask/give option to warn about medical issues
  • Group management, communication and boundaries
  • clean rope principle, one handed knife
  • safety features of boats
  • safety features of clothes and kit
  • manual handling issues


  • Shout, Reach, Throw, Row
  • Self, Team, Victim/Swimmer, Equipment
  • Communication, Line of Sight, Avoidance/Awareness, Position of max usefulness

Coach a Swimmer to Shore

  • eye contact, use name, clear instructions, be firm
  • consider hand signal to group to tell them to keep still
  • good foot grip or kneel down
  • use this for all the other rescues

Paddle rescue

  • leg stance
  • firm grip


  • accurate throw to person over 10m or more
  • swimmer on their back
  • thumbs up for hand grip
  • can be under arm, over arm or lob around. under arm usually best, hand on scruff of bag with two fingers on the bag
  • finish throw with hand pointing where you want it to go

Throwline Rethrow

  • Get it right first time, rethrows will always be rubbish
  • large coils in hand and throw all
  • large coils onto ground, get water in bag for weight, throw bag
  • large coils on ground, small coils in hand, wrap bag round small coils, throw bag

The above can all be done on the land

Contact tows

  • front or back

Sling towlines

  • watch out for putting over head or in teeth(!)


  • quick to deploy, quick to release, quick to re-set
  • know where the release is and what angle to pull it at

Boat Empties

  • like for like craft
  • boat empties can be done separate from swimmer stuff to keep people out of cold water for longer
  • for GP kayak orientate front to front using footrest bolts
  • palm roll upright
  • roll on side, one hand at front of cockpit holding it up, one hand on top at back of cockpit pushing down to gently empty
  • when all water out use knee to ratchet over your boat and sea-saw to empty
  • if the boat still has water in it get swimmer to help pull over and down
  • if can’t get swimmer to help then just leave water in it, don’t strain your back
  • you can use a sling to help you rotate and lift the boat
  • for sea kayaks/touring boats with gunwales rotate bow of boat onto your boat by rolling it away from you and sliding knee under
  • Canadians can do same as touring boats above
  • or curl method with boats parallel, using gunwale to lift other boat then throw away from you to get it upright

Deep water rescue

  • straight lift into kayak easiest
  • heel hook into kayak if not so strong, quite faffy
  • climb over your kayak, risky
  • sling around cockpit as step up
  • in canadians they sit in the boat then step into yours

Swimmer rescue

  • ensure they are calm before you approach
  • holding on to front or back
  • keep head away from front of boat
  • get them to kick legs if on back

Unconscious rescue

  • go alongside swimmer, drop paddle if you need to
  • lean onto near side of their boat, reach over and pull from other side
  • hold onto their clothes
  • first aid: shout to get them to open eyes, squeeze shoulders or hand, check breathing (if not breathing 5 CPR breaths but not much point in chest compressions)
  • get assistant to raft up with them and push both boats to shore
  • if you can’t get their boat upright them jump in the water and roll it
  • if you can’t roll it then pop their deck and drag them out

Self rescue

  • This means an eskimo rescue
  • get them to practice rolling down and up on bow of another boat if new
  • three bangs, hands outwards
  • rescuer at 45 degree approach
  • also try paddle presentation


  • unconcious person in water rescue into canadian
  • rescue and kayak from a canadian
  • rescue a canadian from a kayak
  • sea kayak paddle float