SSI will be offering the next instructor development course in 2025.


The instructor course for water and rope is typically taught once a year. This is the first step for the instructor candidate to take in order to move into the ranks of an SSI instructor. This five day course is designed to provide SSI instructor candidates the initial training consistent with SSI’s rescue philosophy and teaching methodologies. These requisite teaching skills are required to move towards an official assistant instructor endorsement. This does not allow you to be an independent instructor to teach the SSI curriculum, but 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 16 to 28 days of training with lead instructors before you become eligible for lead status recommendation, and that will be a provisional recommendation. However, it is more appropriate to consider your training in terms of years rather than days. Unlike other organizations, lead instructor status is not easily achieved with SSI, and dedication is required to be a part of the international SSI instructional team. You will be accountable for multiple facets of the SSI training platform, and you will be held to a very high standard of instructional performance and peer review. We will give you every tool needed to succeed, but it will take some time.

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 three candidates each year.


  • Seven years of industry experience (pro guiding, military, SAR, Fire)
  • 25 years of age
  • Current PRO-I, and PRO-II  training from SSI – if you haven’t taken a few different water rescue courses yet, please do that first (taking trainings from other companies may fulfill part of this requirement – but training with SSI gives you selective application preference)
  • Current WAFA, WFR, OEC, EMT or W-EMT, or Paramedic training with CPR
  • Previous elite military, commercial river guide, or professional rescue agency experience is a requirement
  • Comprehensive teaching experience from a recognized institution (High School, Middle School, Military Trainer, etc..) Instructional history is fundamental
  • Adequate physical shape with a desire to learn and a passion for instructing


Once you have taken the instructor course and worked your way towards recommendation as an assistant instructor, you will be required to meet SSI standards and recertify your instructorship every 3 years to maintain your instructor certification and credentialing.

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