Rafting. Most of time it refers to White Water Rafting, offers an invigorating and rather unique experience to its participants. If properly educated and prepared, you can share a safe and very enjoyable outdoor activity with your paddle partners. North America is known for great rivers for whitewater rafting. You can easily find rivers that are near you and suited to your skill. Rapids on the river are universally rated on a scale of 1 to 6, with 1 being the easiest and 6 the most difficult. Most of river outfitters’ trips are on a class of 3 to 4.
The price of rafting trips by outfitters varies greatly by region, length of trip, and its quality. You can roughly estimate $50-100/person for a half-day trip. When you shop for an outfitter, ask questions about their experience on that river, permits, and the safety gear they provide on the trips. Most river outfitters employ the equipment for the trip and the PFD (personal flotation device). Bring your own helmet if is not included in the package. Clothing for rafting also varies by water temperature; from swimsuit, shorts, sandals . . . to wetsuit, wetsuit jacket, wetsuit booties . . . and layering is always a good idea. Don’t forget waterproof sunscreen.
The basic rafting instructions and safety guides are explained at the outfitter’s before your first trip. Here are some basics:
- Grab a seat on the edge of the raft so you can reach the water with a paddle, tuck the toes of your front foot under a front crossing tube.
- Keep one hand top of the T-grip and the other hand about halfway up the shaft. Always keep control of your paddle because most common injuries in rafting are hitting others with the T-grip.
- Follow the commands. There are five basic commands: Forward, Back-Paddle, Left-Turn, Right-Turn, and Stop. Plus the High Side command which tells everyone to move to the high side of the raft, usually to prevent a flip.
- When you fall out into the water, remember one thing, “Do Not Stand.” Foot entrapment between rocks under water is extremely dangerous. Stay calm, keep your eyes open, feet up pointing to the surface of the water, float on your back, or swim aggressively toward to the raft.
Enjoy your rafting experience!