This sample lesson plan is based on worksheet #8 ("Water rescue").


  1. Use the worksheet as a guide to identifying specific learning outcomes.
  2. Take students to a river — or bring the river to them … in the form of images (e.g. slides, power point, blackboard, expansive hand gestures, etc.).
  3. As a group, identify as many hazards to river users as you can. In each case, make the link between the hazard & the potential injury. Ask students how these hazards might vary according to varying weather conditions (e.g. flooding).
  4. Ask students to rank the hazards in terms of the most probable cause of injury.
  5. Ask students to rank the injuries from least serious to most serious.
  6. Ask students to demonstrate the international distress signal, & explain when it is appropriate/important to use it.
  7. Discuss the way in which alcohol consumption & other risk-taking behaviour increase risk in outdoor (& especially aquatic) environments.
  8. Discuss the effects of environmental factors such as water temperature, windchill & solar radiation.
  9. Show students several different forms of flotation (e.g. PFD, wetsuit, eskie, etc.) & elicit other examples.
  10. Set up or simply describe a rescue scenario where a conscious breathing person is likely to require an ambulance (e.g. in the case of a suspected fracture). Ask volunteers from within the class to outline a possible rescue sequence.
  11. Quiz students about proper procedure for making an emergency telephone call.
  12. Discuss the importance of rescuers not endangering themselves, & discuss ways in which the injured person might be removed from the water without the rescuer immediately jumping in. (Use the Royal Lifesaving Society’s rescue sequence as a guide.)
  13. Discuss ways to minimise risk during aquatic-based recreational activities in terms of remembering simple safety rules. (For example, never swim while under the influence of alcohol.)
  14. Ask students to complete worksheet #4 in class or at home.
  15. Correct answers in class.

Water Rescue