Courses and Programs

Registration Information

You are about to register for the following Course:

Course Advanced WhiteWater Packraft Course
Course Dates 21/09/2023 - 23/09/2023
Closing Date 06/09/2024
Course Information
Advanced Whitewater Packraft Course (TASMANIA)

Dates/Times: Saturday 20 to Monday 22 September (3 days)

Area: Mersey River area (in north-west TASMANIA)

Course Numbers: Spaces are limited and at this stage to a maximum of 10

Instructors: Dan Hall (Senior Whitewater Instructors with Paddle
Australia) plus potentially assisted by additional Whitewater Instructors including
Mar Oates, Jen MacGibbon.

Accommodation: Depending on weather/river conditions and the ability of the group we
may make use of hard top accommodation (at the Arm River Outdoor Education Centre)
or we may camp out. As such participants should come prepared with a tent and
camping gear in case we need to camp closer to certain rivers.

Participant Suitability: Inclusion in this course is dependent upon suitable prior
experience and is at instructor’s discretion! After registering for the course your
registration will need to be ‘approved’ by instructors.
The course is suited to those who already competently paddle grade 3 rivers and
who are aspiring to learn to paddle grade 3+/4 technically, safely & competently. All
participants need to be comfortable with swimming grade 3 rapids and must have
experience with the use of throwbags (both throwing and catching) as well as self/assisted
rescues in grade 3 water.

Participants need to have:
- previously completed a Paddle Tasmania Intermediate Course
- considerable additional time on grade 3 whitewater
- undertaken a recognised River Rescue / Swiftwater Rescue Course
- demonstrated a strong ability to catch small mid-stream eddys using technical

Interested paddlers who have not completed a course previously with Paddle
Tasmania Instructors will need to provide a short video or two that demonstrates their
ability to catch small mid-stream eddys using technical strokes. It is likely that such
paddlers will have had considerable kayaking experience.

To ascertain whether you have the skills suitable to undertake this course or to
submit your videos, please email both Mark Oates
via & Dan Hall via

Program Outline:

Paddle Tasmania will be conducting a 3-day Advanced Whitewater Packrafting
Course in north-west Tasmania. It is likely that the group will stay at the Arm River
Outdoor Education Centre for at least the Saturday night however we are keen to
keep options open for other rivers. As such, participants need to still bring a tent to
allow the group to best utilise a range of nearby rivers.

The Arm River hardtop camp is a 5-minute drive from the Mersey Whitewater
Regional Reserve, which is the intended initial teaching venue. Whilst the course is
mostly practical it also includes some theory and video analysis sessions.

The focus of this course is on developing technical and safety knowledge specific to
packrafts being used on grade 3/3+ whitewater. There will also be considerable
emphasis on working as a team to manage challenging river environments safely.

Depending on water levels the group MAY have the opportunity to tackle some grade
4 rapids however there will always be the option to walk/portage these.
Note the paddling venues utilised for the course are highly dependent on both natural
and controlled-release (Hydro Tasmania) water flows as well as the group’s
experience and ability. If circumstances dictate we may need to move the starting
location. The intention is that after using the Mersey Whitewater Course on the
Saturday and potentially on the Sunday we hope to tackle a more challenging river on
the Monday.

Some of the various sections of rivers that the group may potentially utilise within the
course are the:
Mersey White Water Course
Forth River White Water Course
Arm River
Lea River
Meander River
Mersey River (Alum Cliffs section) 
North Esk River

Potential Course Content:
ï‚· technical paddling, versus the alternative
ï‚· paddling with purpose
ï‚· using water features to your advantage
ï‚· using momentum to your advantage
ï‚· connecting yourself to your boat
ï‚· entering and exiting eddies cleanly and efficiently
ï‚· improving technical strokes & combinations
ï‚· controlling turns in a packraft
ï‚· learning to boof and different boofing techniques
ï‚· Working as a team
ï‚· Techniques for tackling steep creeks
ï‚· Self and assisted rescues within rapids
ï‚· Risk management
ï‚· Managing groups/others in whitewater

Paddling Equipment Required: All participants should come fully prepared for
numerous swimming activities and ideally utilise a drysuit OR a full-length wetsuit*.

There is also the possibility that the group may walk into or out of some river venues
so decent footwear is required along with a lightweight pack in case you need to carry
all of your gear for a river daytrip.
*Some participants who bring wetsuits choose to bring two so that they can swap a wet one out
for a dry one.

ï‚· self-bailing or whitewater decked packraft with thigh straps installed and some form of
fixed bow and stern perimeter line
ï‚· WW PFD (personal floatation device). Rescue rated PFDs are ideal
ï‚· WW kayak helmet (NOT a climbing or bike helmet)
ï‚· WW paddle
ï‚· Drysuit or a full wetsuit (the later with ideally a drytop or a cag/spray jacket)
ï‚· Appropriate sturdy/warm footwear for both paddling and walking
ï‚· Throwbag
ï‚· River knife
 Minimum of 1 locking carabiner (& ideally a 2.5 – 4.0 metre sling)
ï‚· Drybag for carrying essential gear during trips
ï‚· Lightweight pack in case we need to walk into or out of a river
ï‚· Personal medications/personal first aid
ï‚· Thermos or similar (optional)

Arm River Outdoor Education Centre Info: The camp is located approximately 850m
up Maggs Road (take the first turn right after crossing the Arm River on the Mersey
Forest Road). It is approximately a 1 hour drive from Deloraine. It has basic communal
bunk rooms, basic kitchen facilities and toilets/showers. Note that there is almost no
phone coverage after you leave Mole Creek.

Bunks have mattresses but you will need your own sleeping bag and pillow, etc.
Participants need to bring ALL food for the duration of the course as there are no shops or
services at all nearby. A fridge is available at the Arm River OE Centre.

Google Maps reference: -41.691077, 146.207297

Participants will need:
ï‚· Tent
ï‚· Sleeping bag
ï‚· Camp mattress
ï‚· Pillow (optional)
ï‚· Stove plus cooking pots, utensils, etc
ï‚· Lots of warm clothes
ï‚· ALL FOOD for the 3-days duration

Interstate Flight Bookings: It is recommended that interstate participants fly into
Launceston on the day/evening prior to the course. Regarding departure it is
recommended that flights are not booked until after 6:30pm on the Monday. Flying into or
out of Hobart adds an extra 2.5 hours to travel time.

Starting Venue/Time: Meet at 9:30 AM at the ‘Mersey River Slalom Course’ Day Area.
This is 750 metres further along the Mersey Valley Forest Road from the intersection with
Maggs Road. There you will find toilets, picnic tables and a day shelter adjacent to a
short section of bitumen. Note that if circumstances dictate, we may need to move the
starting location. If so, we will notify participants at least 48 hours prior to the course

Google Maps link:

Finish Time: The course will conclude at approximately 3:00 PM (at a location
approximately 1.5 to 2 hours drive from Launceston).
National Training provider Paddle Tasmania
Phone 0475142910
Course Location Northern Tasmania,TAS
Website Visit Website
Course Cost $ 675.00 Paddle Tasmania club or direct members $525

To check the status of your membership or sign up, visit this page
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(if different to Participant)
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Please ensure you have been in contact with Paddle Tasmania prior to registering for this Course to ensure you have the appropriate skills and information to take part.
There will be a $20.00 fee to register your qualification with Paddle Australia for 3 years. You will only be invoiced for your PA registration once all requirements for the qualification have been completed and submitted to Paddle Australia.