8 Safety Tips When Whitewater Rafting

Whitewater rafting is one of the most popular extreme sports in the world. Thousands of adults (and kids) like taking part in this sport either when traveling or just a spur of the moment fun daytrip. Certain areas of the country are well known for rafting and visitors from around the world travel to take part.

However, whitewater rafting is also risky due to natural elements which can be present in the rivers. No matter how experienced you are in this sport, it’s important to always ensure you are safe since an accident can occur at any time.

Before taking part in whitewater rafting, always make sure to follow the relevant safety tips which are as follows:

Proper preparation

Every sport either competitive or for fun needs proper preparation. Putting in mind how whitewater rafting can be risky, you should prepare adequately before participating in the sport. Be honest with yourself, if it’s your first time, consider getting an experienced rafter to teach you the ropes.

Learn and make sure you understand whitewater rafting, don’t dare to do a class V river during your first time out. It’s advisable to know what you are capable of doing before participating in the sport.

Like when floating a river, you’ll want some protection from the sun since you’ll be on the water for a while. A good waterproof sunscreen can mean the difference between a fun day rafting or a miserable time afterwards. Even if slightly overcast, don’t underestimate the sun’s rays.

Understand river classifications

Whitewater rafting rivers are rated in different classes. Each class (from class I to VI) is made for different individuals according to their experience. For instance class I, II and III will be perfect for beginners since they are less risky. Experienced rafters normally use rivers from class IV to VI. Your physical limitations and experience should guide you to choose the best class for you.

Be aware of your physical limitations

What can you do in water? If you are an excellent swimmer and you can sustain upper body exercises for at least a couple hours? If so, then you should be fine. If you doubt your capability, take some swimming lessons before going on the trip. Also, exercise which utilizes the upper body is one of the best things you can do to help you through those long rafting trips.

Have a good understanding of the river

In many cases, rivers have different behaviors. Some are clam others are not. Rafting in summer could be the best decision since many rivers are calm and the water volume is lower than usual. To be safe, understand how the river you are going to be using behaves.

Always raft with friends

Rafting alone can be very risky no matter if you are experienced or not. Sometimes, you might need help urgently and only fellow rafters can help you. For the newbies, consider rafting with an experienced guide for your first time. If you are experienced, try to find someone with less experience. You’ll not only be helping them with tips, you’ll have someone else in the raft to help in case of emergency.

Always wear a life jacket

No matter how good of a swimmer (or rafter) you think you are, never get on the raft with putting on a USCG approved life jacket and a helmet. It should fit snug but not be uncomfortable. Life jackets with large arm openings for paddling are the best as they won’t restrict your movement as much.

Follow your guide’s instructions

The only person you should listen to while on your first trip is the raft guide. He/she knows what you need to do and when to do it. Following guide instructions will ensure you are safe throughout the trip. Mostly you will hear “lean left”, “lean right”, “stop paddling”, “bounce”, “sit in”, and “sit out” among other instructions.

No alcohol before rafting

Drinking alcohol before the trip endangers both you and other rafters. Alcohol can impair your judgment and cause accidents.

If you follow these tips, you’ll not only stay safe but have so much fun, you’ll want to start planning your next whitewater rafting trip as soon as the first one is over!