Rescue 3 Europe – Whitewater Rescue

We at Arctic Canoe Route have been spending the weekend on the Muonio river together with Lapin Koskikoulu practicing whitewater resucing. 11 new students are now examined as Whitewater Rescue Technicians trough Rescue 3 Europe.

We do really recomend a resuce course trough Rescue 3 for everyone living or moving close to Whitewater and want to learn about river hydrology and hazards in river, but also of course get the knowledge about how to help your self or your friends if something would happend

High water levels in the River

From minus degrees in Lapland to +20´C and snow melting away in front of our eyes means of course very high water levels. We have at the momet Class 2 and 3 warnings in the north parts of Finland and Sweden for high water levels that will hopefully stabilize in the end of the week. We don´t recomend anyone to paddle the main rivers at the moment because the water flow shows 35 000 cubic / second in the Torne River at this point but also because of the risk of debris that may be in the water because of the high flows.

You can follow the water levels at swedish SMHI or just send us a email if you want a daily update!

The rapids

One of all the rapids along the Arctic Canoe Route

The most common question that we get to us is about how many rapids there is along the 520 km route.

– There is a total of 151 rapids along the route.
More Specific:
Class I – 60
Class II – 51
Class III – 29
Class IV – 6
Class V – 5

Please keep in mind that these classifications may change a bit during high water flow in the river!

So, what is the difference between a class I or a class V rapid?
You can here below you can find the international rapid scale taken directly from Wikipedia.

Class I – Fast moving water with riffles and small waves. Few obstructions, all obvious and easily missed with little training. Risk to swimmers is slight; self-rescue is easy.

Class II – Straightforward rapids with wide, clear channels which are evident without scouting. Occasional maneuvering may be required, but rocks and medium-sized waves are easily avoided by trained paddlers. Swimmers are seldom injured and group assistance, while helpful, is seldom needed. Rapids that are at the upper end of this difficulty range are designated Class II+.

Class III – Rapids with moderate, irregular waves which may be difficult to avoid and which can swamp an open canoe. Complex maneuvers in fast current and good boat control in tight passages or around ledges are often required; large waves or strainers may be present but are easily avoided. Strong eddies and powerful current effects can be found, particularly on large-volume rivers. Scouting is advisable for inexperienced parties. Injuries while swimming are rare; self-rescue is usually easy but group assistance may be required to avoid long swims. Rapids that are at the lower or upper end of this difficulty range are designated Class III- or Class III+ respectively.

Class IV – Intense, powerful but predictable rapids requiring precise boat handling in turbulent water. Depending on the character of the river, it may feature large, unavoidable waves and holes or constricted passages demanding fast maneuvers under pressure. A fast, reliable eddy turn may be needed to initiate maneuvers, scout rapids, or rest. Rapids may require “must make” moves above dangerous hazards. Scouting may be necessary the first time down. Risk of injury to swimmers is moderate to high, and water conditions may make self-rescue difficult. Group assistance for rescue is often essential but requires practiced skills. For kayakers, a strong roll is highly recommended. Rapids that are at the lower or upper end of this difficulty range are designated Class IV- or Class IV+ respectively.

Class V – Extremely long, obstructed, or very violent rapids which expose a paddler to added risk. Drops may contain large, unavoidable waves and holes or steep, congested chutes with complex, demanding routes. Rapids may continue for long distances between pools, demanding a high level of fitness. What eddies exist may be small, turbulent, or difficult to reach. At the high end of the scale, several of these factors may be combined. Scouting is recommended but may be difficult. Swims are dangerous, and rescue is often difficult even for experts. Proper equipment, extensive experience, and practiced rescue skills are essential


We want to once more point out that all the tours that will be arranged by us will inclued all necessary equipment needed and of course also certified guied for the purpose with the saftey as nr 1.