The Act-Belong-Commit Avon Descent Support Unit

A dedicated team of volunteers specifically focused on the safety of everyone involved in the Avon Descent.

ADSU President

Laura Chapman

Volunteer today!

For all enquiries relating to the Avon Descent Support Unit including volunteering and swiftwater rescue.


About the ADSU

The teams involved in ADSU are water rescue, land rescue, recovery, and communications / logistics. Our teams camp over night on both valley run and race weekend, so volunteers need basic camping gear.

Funded by Healthways under the Act-Belong-Commit program, the ADSU provides members with specialist training to ensure a safe and fun event for all.

Training is based on nationally and internationally recognised standards which we adapt to suit the Avon Descent environment.

The race weekend is a very busy but exceptionally enjoyable which relies on the continued commitment of the volunteers in the Rescue and Recovery teams to perform at their very best.

We all hope you enjoy your race, and we look forward to a great event!

Water Based Team

The Water Based team requires you to be a strong swimmer and have basic water gear such as a wetsuit, booties and gloves. We supply all extra rescue equipment. This team is stationed at the major rapids and are first on scene for all of the action. All training is provided for all of the swift water rescue skills but there is minimum attendance of this training required to meet basic competencies and a high skill level.

Recovery Team

The recovery team needs you to have a 4wd with room from your navigator and a minimum of 2 competitors, a UHF radio, and a trailer (6×4 minimum). This team helps recover the boats and competitors and take them to check points along the river where support teams aren’t allowed.

Land Based Support

Land based support are part of the water rescue teams and are stationed at the major rapids along the river. You will have a team leader who will help you with what to do but basically communication through to competitors through flags and whistles and help our water guys if they have to get in the water by making sure competitors don’t go down the river where they are working.


The Comms tent are our radio and logistics team, they are stationed at our campsite and Bells Rapids and record all the information that happens on race radio – you just need to be a good listener, clear on the radio and a quicker writer!

"One thing all volunteer groups have in common is the fantastic culture of the people within them. Volunteers are a very special group of people who give their time for the betterment of society.  I’m privileged to lead a group of volunteers who brave freezing cold conditions to ensure every competitor in the Avon Descent makes it home to their families safely. In return for volunteering we all gain new skills and make some wonderful friendships along the way."
Simon Lalor
Act Belong Commit Volunteer for 15+ years
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