Beyond Cold Water Bootcamp


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The following is a sample lesson plan that you, as an Educator, can use in a half-day seminar on the Techniques for Cold Water Rescues. This extended lesson plan includes the advanced techniques and equipment for successful rescue and treatment, and covers more material, and in more depth, than the Lesson Plan for a One-Hour Training Session.

This training could have a dramatic impact on your participants--so the more visual aids you can add to the material, the more memorable it will be. To help you do this, several resources in the form of a Beyond Cold Water Boot Camp DVD, pictures, videos, pamphlets, and more, are available in the Downloads section of the website.

A.   INTRODUCTION (15 Minutes)
  • Explanation of Circum-rescue Collapse and fatality statistics suggesting that
    more instruction is needed for First Responders.

  • Give the broad contextual definition of the term “First Responder” as anyone who
    comes upon a victim in the water and decides to undertake a rescue. The term
    applies equally to professionals and lay boaters alike.

  • Elements of a successful rescue:

    Knowledge of the dangers of, and responses to, Cold Water Immersion

    Technique to safely conduct rescue, patient packaging and treatment
       without further injuring the victim

    Equipment to assist in the extraction, transport and treatment of the victim

    Time for Questions

Download the PowerPoint entitled “The Facts about Cold Water Immersion”
(with Speaker’s notes) which covers the following topics:
  • Thermoregulation
  • Mechanisms of Heat Loss
  • Four Phases of Cold Water Immersion
  • The 1-10-1 Principle
  • Cold Water Survival
  • Stay or Swim?
  • Rescue & Treatment
  • Thermal Protective Clothing
    [Teaching Tool: Having a variety of different levels of thermal protective clothing for people to see
    and feel would be helpful.]

    Time for Questions

BREAK (15 Minutes)

C.  EXTRACTION (0.5 – 1.0 hours depending on boat designs covered.)
  • General Principles
  • Shore Rescue & Victim Packaging Techniques
    [Ideal opportunity for role play]
  • Specific extraction techniques geared to differently designed rescue boats.
    [Choose one or more as appropriate.]
  • High Freeboard Boat w/PFD Lift and Single Sling
  • Medium Freeboard Boat w/Parbuckle
  • Low Freeboard Boat w/Dive Door
  • Air Boat
  • Recreational Fishing Boat w/Improvised Sling Extraction

    Time for Questions

  TRANSPORT (15 Minutes)

  • General Principles
  • Stokes Litter
  •  Insulating material
  • Plastic Tarp

    Time for Questions

E.  DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT  (30 minutes)
[This segment gives an ideal opportunity to role play with victim and responders.  Necessary materials include (wet) victim dressed in sweats,
stokes litter, old PFD, sleeping bag, plastic vapour barrier (~8’x8’), scissors, towels, heat packs.]

  • Assessment
  • Treatment - Mild Hypothermia
  • Treatment – Moderate-to-Severe Hypothermia

F.  EQUIPMENT (30 Minutes)
[This segment may be omitted if time is an issue. As an alternative, arrange different pieces of equipment around the perimeter of the lecture room
so that people can wander around and examine them closely during the break.]


  • Slings
  • Parbuckle technique
  • Stokes Litter
Packaging & Transport

  •  Insulating Material (i.e., Blankets, Sleeping Bags, Commercial Bags)
  •  Vapour Barrier (i.e., Plastic Sheeting)
  •  Stokes Litter
  •  Back Board
  •  Plastic Sheeting w/Rolled Edge Handhold


  •  Insulation Material
  •  Application of External Heat Source

    Time for Questions

G.  WRAP-UP  (15 Minutes)
  • Summary of Discussion
  • Link to Beyond Cold Water Boot Camp Website
  • Ability to download the DVD or request the DVD via email

    Time for Questions