Swiftwater and Flood Rescue Boat Operator (SFRBO)

The Swiftwater and Flood Rescue Boat Operator training course is intended for emergency services or rescue teams who will be required to carry out rescues in a swiftwater and  flood environment. This course incorporates all elements from the FRBO course and adds a swiftwater capability suitable for fast moving rivers and flash flood conditions. It is based on the philosophy of self-protection and application of low to high risk solutions.

Course length:

5 days

The Swiftwater and Flood Rescue Boat Operator course can also be run as a 4-day add-on module from the RBO, or International Certificate of Competence or equivalent national course, eg RYA powerboating level 2. It can be run as a 3-day add-on module from the FRBO course.


Course content includes:

  • Scope of operations
  • Boat & hull types
  • Drive units
  • Maintenance
  • Pre & post trip checks & procedures
  • Rescue boat equipment
  • PPE
  • Communications
  • Weather considerations
  • Navigation considerations
  • Dynamic risk assessment
  • Other craft sleds & platforms
  • Flood & moving water hazards
  • Medical & decontamination considerations
  • Boat wraps
  • Rscuer safety & training
  • Weir considerations
  • Launching & recovery
  • Crew operational roles
  • Boat handling under power and with paddles
  • Towing
  • Anchoring
  • Wading
  • Flips & rights
  • Controlling boats with ropes
  • Swiftwater boat handling under power and with paddles
  • Swiftwater crew operational roles
  • Crew person overboard & recovery
  • Casualty pick up
  • Casualty management
  • Boat based throwbag rescue
  • Transferring & transporting difficult loads
  • Boat based stretcher management
  • Rescues from elevated positions
  • Boat based tethered swimmer rescues
  • Swiftwater casualty pick up
  • Searching swiftwater & floods
  • Night / poor visibility operations in swiftwater
  • Vehicles in water
  • Helicopter considerations




Course standard

Rescue 3 Europe SFRBO standard (PDF)

The course standards are provided as pre- and post-course reference for people involved in the delivery of Rescue 3 courses (eg Rescue 3 training providers, instructors and students). They are not to be used for any other purpose without the express written permission of Rescue 3 Europe.


Learning outcomes and key teaching points for instructors

Rescue 3 Europe SFRBO learning outcomes and key teaching points for instructors (PDF)


Defra module

Module 4 - Water Rescue Power Boat Operator - Rescue boat operation

View all Rescue 3 Europe Defra module courses


Taught by:


Student manual PDF download:

SFRBO manual - English (en) 



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