Charlie Walbridge

Charlie Walbridge is a nationally-known whitewater safety expert with 45 years of river running experience.
He learned to canoe at summer camp in the early 60’s and began paddling whitewater seriously while attending college in 1967. He has paddled rivers throughout the US and Canada and made several first descents. He was an A-ranked C-1 slalom and wildwater racer in the mid-70’s and worked part-time as a river guide until the mid-eighties. He has collected and published reports of U.S. whitewater fatalities for over 30 years. He is a well-known writer on whitewater safety issues and has written books and magazine articles on the subject. He’s served as an expert witness in many wrongful death cases and is quoted often in newspapers and magazines.
Charlie has been active in both the American Canoe Association (ACA)and American Whitewater (AW). He held the position of Safety Chairman for both organizations and now serves on the AW Board of Directors. As a member of the ACA Instruction Committee he helped develop programs in whitewater canoeing and swiftwater rescue. He is a swiftwater rescue instructor-trainer-educator and trains students and instructors.
Charlie’s newest book, Whitewater Rescues, is coming in April 2024!

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Order Charlie’s new book Whitewater Rescues today.


May 3-4
Cheat River Festival
Alright, WV


Praise for Whitewater Rescues:

“Over my career of taking first responder and rescue classes, some of the most valuable lessons I have learned came from the instructors’ “war stories” that detailed not just the technical information but also the human experience. Very often these tales have been based on situations that did not have desirable outcomes. This collection of success stories is such an interesting learning experience and helps give some insight into the ever-present question ‘What would I do?’ ” 
—Mike Mather, ACA Safety & Rescue ITE, Rescue 3 International Instructor Trainer, Higgins & Langley Award Recipient
“I’ve been reading Charlie’s river accident reports for over 30 years, and his unflinching approach has helped develop my awareness of what goes wrong and why. This new collection provides a delightful counterpoint, offering stories of how quick thinking, strong teamwork, and ingenious solutions prevented the worst from happening. May this book inspire river runners to respond creatively to the inevitable challenges.” 
—Teresa Gryder, ND; safety chair, Lower Columbia Canoe Club (WA) 

“Charlie’s collection of whitewater accidents and successful results is a read worth your time. It underscores clear meaning: that if we don’t understand and analyze the mishaps and mistakes of those who have gone before us, we are most certainly going to repeat those occurrences and, without proper action and quick thinking, suffer the consequences. I believe Charlie has shared paddling experiences to guide us toward safer paddling.”
—Virgil Chambers, National Safe Boating Council

“I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in whitewater safety and especially for all paddling instructors.” 
—Charlie Duffy, ACA swiftwater rescue instructor 

“Charlie continues his lifelong contribution to whitewater safety with Whitewater Rescues. The book is a pleasant twist on accident prevention and boating safety.” 
—Robert B. Kauffman, PhD; author and boating-safety expert



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