cold water workshop water recovery cold water workshop classroom

The Canadian Safe Boating Council hosts both in person and virtual workshops facilitated by Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht (aka Professor Popsicle) of the University of Manitoba and world-renowned expert in hypothermia.

To find out more about taking part in our next workshop or to host your own for your organization, click here.

Maybe you’re just interested in finding out a little more about how our bodies react to cold water immersion. You may be a first responder wanting to learn more about how to maximize the survival of potentially hypothermic individuals you’re called upon to rescue, these workshops are for you. These give you a great grounding in the following:

  • Understanding the Myths Around Cold Water Immersion and Hypothermia

  • How Our Bodies React to Heat and Cold Stimuli

  • 4 Ways Our Bodies Lose Heat

  • What Happens to Our Bodies When Immersed in Cold Water

  • Immersion vs. Submersion in Cold Water

  • Cold Water Survival and Thermal Protective Clothing

  • How to Get Back in Your Boat Should You Fall Overboard and are Alone
  • Basic First Response… When You’re The Only One Who Can Help!

  • Victim Extraction, Packaging, Triage and Transport to EMS
  • The Decision to Stay or Swim When You’re on Your Own
  • Ice Assisted and Self-Rescue


Virtual Workshops

Our virtual workshops are held over two evenings totaling 5 hours. The cost to register is $100.

Please note that the course instruction will be in English only.

Those wishing to register can do so for events on the following 2022 dates:

Tuesday, October 4 & Thursday, October 6

Tuesday, October 18 & Thursday, October 20

Tuesday, November 22 & Thursday, November 24

Tuesday, November 29 & Thursday, December 1


Those wishing to register can do so for events on the following 2023 dates:

Tuesday, January 10 & Thursday, January 12

Tuesday, January 24 & Thursday, January 26

Tuesday, February 7 & Thursday, February 9

Tuesday, February 21 & Thursday, February 23

Tuesday, March 7 & Thursday, March 9

Tuesday, March 21 & Thursday, March 23


For more information, contact Ian Gilson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


In-Person Workshops

Our in-person workshops combine both morning classroom sessions with the afternoons spent in practical activities dockside. There is a one-day general interest workshop for non-first responders covering the materials listed above. The cost is $185 per person. We also offer two-day instructor workshops for those who want to take what they have learned back to their organizations to be taught to their personnel. These concentrate more on the delivery of the materials and the practical rescue techniques. The price for this instructor workshop is $400/person.

Those wishing to register for an In-Person workshop can do so for the following dates:

1-Day General Interest @ $185 – September 11, 2022

2-Day Instructor Workshop @ $400 – September 11 & 12, 2022

Location: Maison du Nautisme, Longueuil, QC

To find out more about each of these opportunities, please contact Ian Gilson (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

We have plenty of additional cold water resources available, including the Cold Water Boot Camp and Beyond Cold Water Boot Camp DVDs, available for purchase at

5 Key Steps to Safer Boating

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Wear Your Lifejacket

Legally you must carry one on board, appropriately sized for each passenger. But don’t just carry it, WEAR IT.

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Boat Sober

Boating under the influence of alcohol, recreational drugs or prescription narcotics, is illegal, irresponsible and potentially deadly. Leave any such substances until you return to the dock.

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Take a Boating Course

The law requires that anyone operating a power-driven boat must have a Pleasure Craft Operator Card OR other accredited proof of competency and it must be carried on board.

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Be Prepared - You and Your Vessel

Ensure your boat has all the required safety gear and sufficient fuel. Be sure the weather is suitable for your vessel’s capabilities.

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Be Cold Water Safe

Cold water is a significant risk. Learn how to protect yourself.