Water Skills Training for Mid-Pennine Mountain Rescue Teams

On Saturday 15th July 2017, Mountain Rescue members from the Mid-Pennine Region who are specially trained in water rescues techniques came together at the River Washburn in North Yorkshire to refresh their water rescue skills and to forge a stronger working relationship. Water First Responders and Swift Water Rescue Technicians from Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team, Bolton Mountain Rescue Team and Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Team gathered in the flow beneath Woodyard on the river.

It’s worth mentioning that this training was made possible by a kind invitation from Halifax Canoe Club and Yorkshire Water. On limited occasions the river is supplemented from Thruscross Reservoir, providing a guaranteed strong flow of water along the river length into Fewston Reservoir. This in turn provides the perfect opportunity for the canoe club members to enjoy a slalom competition in the upper section, whilst we trained downstream in the lower section of the river.

Throughout the day, team members trained together to practice core water rescue skills required to operate safely around swift water including defensive and aggressive swimming through the flows, throw line rescue and tethered rescue swims to retrieve casualties from the water. The afternoon session included more technical rescue skills training including the tethering and manoeuvring of a rescue craft across the river and into the flow using high lines. Such skills may be called upon to carry out a rescue from a vehicle trapped during a flood.

This training was also part of a developing program to bring together Mountain Rescue water rescue members from across the Mid Pennine Region. All members are trained to the same National Standards for water rescue and from experience during recent major water rescue incidents, i.e. the flooding incident witnessed earlier this year on the East coast, Mountain Rescue water rescue specialists often work together to support the statutory emergency services.

Finally it’s worth remembering that all the equipment seen in these photographs such as the dry suits, water craft, specialist ropes etc. are all funded by generous donations from the public and sponsors from across the region, all supporting their own local Mountain Rescue teams.

We would all like to thank everyone for the continued support for Mountain Rescue teams. This allows us to train and maintain essential skills, ensuring we are prepared to help the public in times of need.