I signed up for a white water rescue class, it was supposed to be packraft specific...except a lot of systems you would probably never use with packrafts...a little disappointing in some ways, but a couple things I learned were probably worth taking the whole class for.
Getting Ready to Catch Some Humans
In nursing school they always encouraged/forced us to work in groups to accomplish tasks, and this class had that 'learning' component. I already know that if you try to have 6 people build one anchor, it will take 6x as long as having 2 people do it...I think it took about 4 hours to set 2 anchors and get a rope across the river...but it was AWESOME to float across the river on a tension traverse system.
Floating the Tension Traverse
My favorite part of this whole class was all the float time. I got to do a lot of 'wet' entry ie out of boat in river, to back in boat in river...I swam across the current into a eddy..a few times, floated over a bunch of rocks, got humbled by a 7 person unsuccessful river crossing, caught and threw rope bags, simulated strainer practice...it was awesome!
Rivers are incredibly powerful even when they are only a couple feet deep with a 3 mph current. Once your feet get sucked underneath something, the relentless water behind makes it impossible to get up if you can't touch bottom...I wasn't really sure what to be afraid of when I first started packrafting, I didn't know anything about currents, holes, waves, or foot entrapment...
Simulated Strainer Practice
The instructor Scott kept saying 'I hope this class gives you confidence' but I really felt like this class did the opposite for me, it gave me an awareness of the dangers around me whereas before I was having an amazingly fun time being oblivious....but I knew I was ignorant, and now I'm not.