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White Water Rafting Safty Tips!

Wednesday May 28

White Water Rafting is a dangerous sport but with the right training and prep work you will find that River Rafting is one of the greatest rushes you will ever feel. There are many different White Water Rafting Companys throughout the United States with different class's of rapids to fit your enjoyment. There are 6 class's of rapids, 1 being the calmest and 6 being the most dangerous. Do a little internet research and choose which class of rapids would suit you best. .

When entering the river the most important thing to remember is to pay attention to the river Guide. He/She will direct all passengers with signals and voice commands that will steer your crew clear of danger.

The second most important tip is to make sure and hold your paddle correctly and pull through the water making long strides making sure to hang on to your paddle so it doesn’t fly into the river. The rapids are wild, but that doesn’t mean you should hunker down in the centre of the raft and ignore your guide’s paddling commands. It is often imperative that you paddle just to prevent your boat from being severely damaged, flipped, and/or stuck on a rock! Though the concept may run counter to your intuition, paddling also helps you stay in the raft. Digging a paddle deep into the water gives you support and pushes you inward. If you are cowering in the centre of the boat, you are more likely to be washed out by waves!

If and when you do fall into the river, rule number one don’t panic! Sometimes you swim. The cool thing is you get an added adventure. The bad thing is the water is a bit chilly. That’s it, really. So long as you’re smart about it, falling out of your raft is no big deal.

When you fall out, there will be a shock of cold, some bubbles, and then air. Look around you- chances are you’re right next to your raft, and you’ll get pulled back in mere seconds.

If you realize that you’re out of reach of the boat, no worries. Just make sure you’re behaving in a safe manner. First and foremost, do NOT stand up. Even if you are in shallow water, standing up is extremely dangerous, as you risk tripping and then being held down by the current. Not good. The best way to swim a rapid- possibly the only way in some cases, is to lie on your back- kind of like you’re reclining in an easy chair. You can wave your arms and kick your feet to adjust your position as you move along. Avoid branches and other debris along the shore. It may seem like a good idea to grab hold of them, but in all likelihood, they’ll grab hold of you and the situation could get a bit hairy. For the most part, you simply need to let yourself float through the remainder of the rapid so you can be picked up by your party at the end. In other words, go with the flow. Literally.

It is important, however, to keep your eye on your guide. If he or she wants you to swim to a particular area in the river, he or she will point in that direction, and you should swim there. Guides will not point in areas to which you ought not to swim.

Getting back into the boat is relatively straightforward. As I mentioned earlier, you’re most likely to surface next to your raft and get pulled right back in by the shoulders of your PFD. If you’re out of physical reach, a fellow rafter or your guide may extend the handle of their paddle to you and use it to pull you back in. Should you have your paddle with you still, you can extend it to your fellow rafters for the same purpose.

Sometimes it is too difficult to reach you via hand or paddle, and impossible for you to get back to the raft on your own. In these situations, throw bags are utilized. Throw bags are nothing more than a long coil of rope within a light bag. Your guide (or the guide of another boat) will hold on to the end of the rope and throw the bag in your direction. When it gets to you, don’t grab hold of the bag (chances are that there will still be several yards of rope left in the bag, so you’ll drift even further out), rather hold onto the rope itself. The best way to hold onto the rope as you are pulled back to your raft is with one end over your shoulder, and your belly facing the sun. If you decide to face the raft as you’re being pulled in, chances are you’ll get a mouth full of water.

One more note about falling out- if you happen to surface in darkness, it means you are under the boat. There are two possibilities here. In one scenario, your boat has flipped, and you’ll find yourself in a sort of dark cave. In the other, you have simply come up under your boat, and are floating against something soft and springy- with no air.

So with a little common sense and the ability to follow directions you should enjoy your next adventure Whitewater Rafting with no problems. If you have a hard time dealing with the dangers of white water rafting, you always have the option to explore Kayaks and Canoe rentals and glide down river at your own pace.


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