Dockside Worker Water Safety Course


To provide survival and response capability training for falls into water and dockside rescue. Trainees would perform the types of tasks that would be needed if they were to fall into water or involved in the rescue of a person in the water and performing this rescue from the wharf or from a small workboat or floating platform.


The majority of the hazards of working on or around wharves and docks are those found on any work site, with the added hazard of falling or being knocked into the water.

The ocean waters in the Maritimes rarely go above 10 degrees Celsius except during the late summer so cold shock on water entry will add to the confusion of finding oneself in the water. The problems of assisting and or recovering an individual from the water are not typically covered off in safety training for workers involved in onshore industrial activities.



  • Cold shock & its effect on the breathing & heart rate immediately on immersion
  • Swimming failure & its effect on the ability to swim or assist self after about 10 minutes in the water
  • Hypothermia & its effects after at least 45 minutes in the water
  • Rescue collapse & its effect during the rescue process
  • Post rescue collapse & its delayed onset after rescue


  • Floater vest / jacket / suit & floatation provided, advantages & disadvantages & uses
  • Life ring & its buoyancy, line & uses from a wharf
  • Lifejackets & their buoyancy, advantages & disadvantages


  • Use of a lifebuoy, a lifebuoy with line, lifebuoy with light in slack water or moving water
  • Bringing casualty on line / lifebuoy with line to a ladder, flat or ladder
  • Rescue collapse
  • Climb or be hoisted?
  • Benefits of a low platform recovery


  • Boat approach
  • Recovery of conscious & able casualty
  • Recovery of a conscious & able but heavy casualty
  • Recovery of a conscious but incapable casualty
  • Recovery of an injured or unconscious casualty


  • First assessment of condition (physical & psychological)
  • Post rescue collapse considerations
  • Transport of unconscious or incapable casualty
  • Shelter required
  • Clothing & warmth considerations
  • Medical assistance needed?
  • Monitor condition


  • Preplanning for eventuality
  • Who to call & who to make the call
  • Assisting the services on their arrival


  • Provincial workplace
  • Transport Canada wharf requirements


  • Don floater vest / coveralls / jacket & enter water
  • Float to determine buoyancy; Raise arms to determine impact on buoyancy; Exhale with arms raised to determine impact on buoyancy
  • Swim on front, back, side to determine most effective & suitable to needs in an emergency
  • Moving casualty to recovery location by person in water by (a) towing casualty; (b) pushing cooperative casualty; (c) group using the ‘chain’ method; (d) cautions to be used when approaching a casualty in the water
  • Throwing (a) lifebuoy, (b) lifebuoy with line; (c) line.  Using line to move casualty to a place where recovery can take place
  • How to use a lifebuoy if you are in the water
  • Climbing a ladder on a wharf, techniques & difficulties
  • Hoisting a casualty from water to deck of wharf with suitable rope; entering rope loop prior to hoisting
  • Moving casualty to an easier recovery place (beach, low platform, floating dock
  • Two persons in boat / on low platform recovering (a) conscious cooperative casualty; (b) conscious uninjured casualty who cannot assist themself; (c) unconscious or injured casualty (use of net or rope to roll casualty into boat / onto platform); (d) conscious & cooperative but extremely heavy casualty (use of rope ladder, rope assists)

PLEASE NOTE: Those assigned to ‘operate’ any boat, as part of their work duties should hold the applicable Marine Emergency Duties (MED) or STCW designation.


One (1) day

Course Details


  • A statement of health form completed on the first day of the course.
  • A Valid medical certificate – Medicals are accepted provided the Medical clearly states a valid expiration date.  Where there is no expiration date clearly stated on the medical, then the medical has to be within one year from the initial exam (all medicals will bear a date of examination).  Survival Systems has created an in house “Fitness Certification Form” which can be obtained and taken to your family physician for completion – (this Form is only valid for three months and does not constitute an Offshore Medical).
  • Trainees are expected to be in a good state of health and physically capable of fully taking part in all program activities.


All persons who successfully complete the program based on the performance standards will receive: 

  • A Survival Systems Training certificate for Dockside Worker Water Safety (valid for three years)
  • A laminated picture identification card

General Course Information      Medical Requirements

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