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Safety and Education

Have fun while being safe


APEs offers or coordinates instructional opportunities of various sorts throughout the year, including beginner, intermediate and advanced whitewater kayak, basic and refresher swift water rescue, and wilderness first aid courses:

Beginner Whitewater Kayaking -- If you’ve never been in a kayak but would love to join the fun, or if you’ve been down a the river a few times, but would like to get solid fundamentals for a summer of skillz progression and safe river gnar, this class is for you!  Upcoming class: June 4, 2022 ~ 9:00AM-4:00PM ~ USA Raft Red Banks Outpost in Erwin, TN

Requirements:  The essential 5: Whitewater kayak, skirt, paddle, helmet, and pfd. Packed lunch in waterproof container. Quick-dry clothing (no cotton). Close toed shoes. Two liters of water (one in a bottle that can be secured in your kayak like a Nalgene bottle). 

We will cover trip planning, how to “read” the river, kayak technique fundamentals, how to quickly and safely exit, and how to maneuver your kayak in moving water. The morning will be land based instruction but most of the day will be on the river, doing the kayak thing! Our focus on high quality information, safety, and most importantly having fun! 

Space is limited. Sign up today @

Please contact Brad Eldridge (ACA certified instructors) for more information.
423-737-2704 c  

Intermediate/Advanced Whitewater Kayaking -- The ACA Intermediate/Advanced Whitewater Kayak Course is designed to refine and extend the judgment and technique of intermediate/advanced paddlers on class III to IV whitewater.  Participants will be introduced to advanced techniques including boat control, playboating and river running as appropriate to the site. This course will use on-the-water scenarios to assess risk, evaluate rapid features and complexities, develop strategies, and nurture good judgment. Course will emphasize use of proactive, aggressive rescue skills stressing self reliance. This course should only be taken by those with a reliable river roll and self rescue skills. Completion of a whitewater kayak course and proficiency and experience in executing all strokes, maneuvers and techniques needed for paddling on class III whitewater and a reliable roll and the ability to aggressively self rescue are required prerequisites.  Taught by ACA certified instructors.  Upcoming class: TBD

Swift Water Rescue  -- The ACA Basic Swiftwater Rescue Course teaches recognition and avoidance of common river hazards, execution of self-rescue techniques, and rescue techniques for paddlers in distress. Emphasis is placed both on personal safety and on simple, commonly used skills. Techniques for dealing with hazards that carry greater risks for both victim and rescuer, such as strainers, rescue vest applications, entrapments, and pins, also are practiced. Scenarios will provide an opportunity for participants to practice their skills both individually and within a team/group context.  This course should be a self-mandated requirement for anyone who routinely paddles whitewater.  Taught by ACA certified instructors. 

Upcoming class: June 11-12, 2022

Swift Water Rescue Scenarios-- This Swiftwater Rescue Course is aimed at anyone desiring opportunities to further develop their rescue skills or needing a refresher course. Critical judgment and rescue awareness, impacting both personal and group safety, are emphasized throughout the course. Although new skills may be taught, this class focuses on developing judgment and applying skills in rescue scenarios. Scope and content of the course will vary, based upon participant needs, interests and experience.  Taught by ACA certified instructors. 

Upcoming class: August 13, 2022

Wilderness First Aid & CPR -- Fast paced and hands-on, this two-day course covers a wide range of wilderness medicine topics and is designed for anyone who travels, plays or works in the outdoors.  An excellent augment to swiftwater rescue.  Taught by a certified instructor.  Upcoming class: TBD

Roll Sessions --  Members participate in weekly roll sessions conducted at Freedom Hall Pool in Johnson City, TN and the Kingsport Aquatic Center in Kingsport, TN.  These are excellent opportunities to work with someone to learn or fine tune your roll.

Freedom Hall Pool Kayak Session: Weekly on Tuesdays 7:30-9PM
Kingsport Aquatic Center‏ Kayak Session: TBD

To see the dates of upcoming classes go to the APE's Calendar.   Other courses can be offered based on member interest.  For more information, contact the Safety and Education Chair at

Other Course Offerings and Training Events:

Swiftwater Rescue Refresher Course: TBD