Anthony Eddies-Davies discusses how the Rescue 3 boat operator courses currently fit into the DEFRA framework

Originally Rescue 3 only offered the 5 day Swift water and Flood rescue Boat Operator course (SFRBO) as certification for powered boat use. When DEFRA set out their levels to fit in with the team typing models the SFRBO was then accredited as meeting the needs of DEFRA level 4.

Since then Rescue 3 have developed two further training courses to fill a void in operational needs relation to response areas and from feedback to the needs of rescue teams.  There are now 3 courses run and certified by rescue 3 International, the first being the Rescue Boat Operator (RBO) which is a 2 day course for powered craft in still or basic water environments. The Flood Rescue Boat operator (FRBO) sets the power boat handling skills to the equivalent of the RYA level 2 but adds a range of rescue techniques using the boat as a rescue platform in a slow moving water and flood environment. The rescue techniques and course objectives for the FRBO and SRBO are much the same, what differs is the SFRBO operates in a swift water environment (class 2 or more).

Since the introduction of the FRBO many crews have opted for this certification as it meets the operational needs of the team in relation to response areas and practical use. Some have decided that they will not have the need or requirement to launch their boat in the SFRBO conditions and indeed find it difficult to continue training to this level as locations are limited.

However, at present until a review of DEFRA guidelines, the 2 newer courses have not been considered in relation to where they fit into the DEFRA modules. I believe this is something that may have been discussed, as many crews  do not require the SFRBO as the FRBO is suitable for their levels, but struggle as the longer course is the only on that meets DEFRA module 4 at this time. It appears to me that each team/crew seems to have to meet different criteria as I have run FRBO courses to many crews.

What crews do operationally is, ultimately, down to their organisation. If their organisation requires them to be Defra Module 4 in order to operate, then they’d have to do an SFRBO. If they felt it appropriate to change/write their organisation’s operational guidelines to require FRBO instead, that would be down to them. Some reach a medium of putting some crew through FRBO and some through SFRBO based on staffing needs.

Swift water rescue training

Swift water rescue training

Check out our website for more details