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

We are in the process of planning another Cold Water workshop for later this year.

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

We will be hosting two 2-day (instructor) Cold Water Immersion / Rescue Workshops in September.

Option 1
Date: September 23 & 24, 2024
Location: Victoria International Marina, 1 Cooperage Place, Victoria, BC, V9A 7J9
Cost: $400


Option 2
Date: September 26 & 27, 2024
Location: Vancouver Fraser Port Authority Main St. Dock at the foot of Main St., Vancouver, BC
Cost: $400


Instruction will be in English. Mornings will be spent in class while afternoons will be dockside.

Cold Water Workshop topics include:

Mechanisms of Heat Loss, Thermal Protection Realities, Extraction Techniques, Triage of Hypothermic Victims, Re-Warming, Packaging, Transport and more.

The Instructors’ Course will provide the tools you need to successfully teach first responders the proper rescue and re-warming techniques that are necessary to hope save lives.

For either of the in-person workshops, the participants are encouraged to bring their own boats, if desired, to make the demonstration even more effective. (Please contact Ian Gilson if you wish to do so)

Registrants should bring their own lifejackets. Please advise if you need one to be supplied

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

5 steps lifejacket

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.