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Northwest river institute


Join us for a five-day river safety training camp that culminates in the application of moving water skills on the Willamette & McKenzie Rivers.

Three days of hands-on customized curriculum and two days on the river this camp is designed to give your child swift-water safety and basic rescue skills.

Rapid Whitewater is now Northwest River Institute

Our Camp Instructors

Chad Heidtke

Craig Wiebe


Lee Baker

Camp Curriculum 

The camp will be held at Alton Baker Park, the Willamette River (in-town), and the McKenzie River between Finn Rock and Helfrich Landing.

Monday-Wednesday will be split into two hands-on training sessions in and out of the water.

Thursday and Friday will be a full-day raft trip down the Willamette river (in-town).  Due to the Holiday Farm fire, our beloved McKenzie River run will be much different than in prior years but we will use our time to talk about the impacts the fire had on our beloved watershed and still enjoy all the river has to offer.

This is the perfect camp for students entering 6th-12th grade who spend time in Oregon's wilderness and rivers. 


  • Rescue throw bag practice

  • Common knots and their application

  • River signals and communication

  • Proper river position and how to swim a rapid

  • How to right an inflatable kayak and climb aboard from the water position

  • General inflatable kayak paddle skills


  • River hydrology and how to read water

  • Rescue team dynamics and how best to direct your team

  • Retrieving a rope from moving water

  • Using a rescue throw bag in moving water

  • Fording moving water as a group



  • Freeing a stuck craft using the vector pull technique

  • Creating a 2 and 3 point self equalizing anchor from both inside and outside a raft

  • Properly swim over a strainer in moving water

  • Ferrying a raft across moving water with a paddle team


  • Using a rescue throw bag in moving water

  • Basics of guiding a raft with a paddle crew in moving water

  • Righting a flipped raft with a team and re-boarding

  • Rescuing a swimmer from inside a raft in moving water


  • Put all the skills into action with a full-day raft trip down McKenzie river class I, II & III whitewater where we will practice our new skills in fast-paced training scenarios.

WANT to see our 2019 campers in action? 

KEZI Coverage summer camp 2019 

KVAL Coverage summer camp 2019