The great take-away from this course is how to avoid accidents - safe paddling. SWR has it's own set of dangers as well. One of the most important rescue practices is the KISS principle - complexity often brings additional dangers. Some rescuers get tunnel vision and forget about their own safety as well as bystanders. Don't fall for this very dangerous trap.
It may sound trite but the best rescue is the one avoided. There are many actions we can take to avoid river issues - by taking this class, you are taking a very important step in this direction. Many paddlers these days treat the river classification system like a yardstick and try to reach class V ASAP. To hasten this journey, they take may shortcuts like always following other boaters, skimp on necessary gear, skip training, and don't master basic skills. It takes time to develop good judgment and river reading skills - don't rush this process. Every intermediate and above boater should take a SWR class and practice those skills. This is just one of those necessary skills for advanced river running. Each year, evaluate your equipment. Can you assist in rescues? Is your helmet and PFD suitable for a nasty swim or beat down? Can you stay immersed in ice cold water for 20 minutes in case you have a swim or need to help in a rescue? Is that roll a bit rusty? Are you a member of a canoe/kayak club that is safety oriented and provides training?