The instructor course for water and rope is taught once a year. This is the first step for the instructor candidate to take in order to gain lead instructor status. This seven day course is designed to provide SSI instructor candidates the initial training consistent with the Institute’s rescue philosophy and teaching methodologies requisite to move towards an official instructor endorsement. This does not certify you as an independent instructor to teach the SSI curriculum. This is the first step in the process of becoming an independent instructor. A detailed resume outlining prior professional training and river experience will be reviewed prior to course acceptance. You should already have many of the hard skills, teaching exposure and river experience under your belt. You can expect a total of anywhere from 14 to 28 days of training with lead instructors before you become eligible for lead status recommendation. However, it is more appropriate to consider your training in terms of years rather than days. Lead instructor status is not easily achieved, and dedication is required to be a part of the international SSI instructional team.

Please contact SSI for a detailed description of course requirements and for a pre-course consultation. We are very selective of our instructor candidates, and rarely host more than five candidates each year.


  • Five years of industry experience
  • 23 years of age
  • Current SRT-I training from an approved provider
  • Current WAFA, WFR, OEC, EMT or W-EMT, or Paramedic training with CPR
  • Previous elite military, commercial river guide, or professional rescue agency experience
  • Comprehensive teaching experience from a recognized institution
  • Adequate physical shape with a desire to learn and a passion for teaching

Learning Objectives

  • SSI teaching methodologies
  • Course paperwork, registration, and SSI policies and procedures
  • Risk management and decision making
  • Curriculum delivery and experiential teaching techniques
  • Expand technical skills – Technical Rope Rescue-Technician Level
  • SSI learning objectives
  • Develop a strong understanding of technical rope and water based rescue skills
  • Develop scenarios and understand proper site criteria