Experiencing the Excitement of Whitewater Rafting, Safely
Over the past few years, whitewater rafting has grown to become one of the most beloved ones out there when it comes to sports and outdoor activities. Whether you’re on vacation with the family, or just getting out of the house to cool off, whitewater rafting always presents you with fun. Invigorating allows you and yours a great way to enjoy Mother Nature—no matter what your experience level happens to be.
But what should you expect out there? What are the safety tips you need to remember? What guide is best? Now that it’s become more mainstream, there are a few steps you and your family should take to ensure your journey is a great one.
Having a “safe” adventure begins with something quite simple: Hire a dependable, reliable guide and listen to that guide as he/she provides you with safety tips that will allow you to have fun on the water. No matter what location you choose, you’ll find experienced guides all across the Internet. Ask them questions regarding their background, check the reviews and feedback from others who’ve used their services, and you’ll find the right one. There are even guides who offer safety videos you can watch to prepare ahead of time to enjoy the ride of your life.
Many amenities are provided by these great guide companies, including: guides trained in CPR and first aid; comprehensive safety orientations before your trips; free use of wetsuits, river boots or sandals, and paddle jackets; shuttle services, and even weekend trips at no cost.
When it comes to safety, most of the tips are quite easy to remember. After choosing the right guide, the second tip is always to wear a life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD) on your journey, and wear it correctly. All buckles must be clipped, and the jacket should be snug to your body. A professional guide will make sure your jacket is the perfect fit.
But that’s not the only protective gear to think about. Always wear a helmet, no matter how experienced you are, just as you always wear a life jacket. In addition, the right outerwear is needed for the day. For example, in months where the water may be a little chilly—like in early spring—wearing a wet suit, splash jacket, and proper river shoes makes the trip much more comfortable. If you’re looking at a hot summer day, quick-drying clothing like polypro, and wearing sunscreen and a cheap pair of sunglasses with UV protection is the way to go for both comfort and safety.
Another tip that sounds a bit silly is to stay in your raft. Yes, it can happen: one minute you’re in the raft, the next you’re swimming beside it. When whitewater rafting, pay attention, and watch for rocks coming downstream. Your guide may use the command “Bump” just before the boat hits a rock, which allows you to prepare. But above all, don’t panic. Most times, when someone falls out of the boat, they pop up right next to it; simply grab the raft, so you don’t float away. If you are a couple of feet away from the raft, swim to the boat. And if you happen to pop up farther from the boat, go with the current feet downstream, till the raft catches up or backstroke to the riverbank. Your guide will go over this in great detail during the safety talk before the trip. And if you choose to swim to shore, swim all the way to the shore and never stand up in moving current.
By following these basic tips, and learning more from listening to your guide, your whitewater rafting adventure will be a thrilling and safe experience that you’ll want to do all over again.