Rules of river rafting
Always wear a life jacket, or personal flotation device (PFD) and helmetLife Jackets must be worn and need to be worn correctly. All the buckles must be fastened and the jacket should be fitted snug to your body. The jacket should be fitted so can breathe easily, but the jacket should not be able to be pulled up over your head. Always wear your helmet no matter where you are on the river.
Dress right for the dayIn early Spring, the water may be a little chilly. Wear a wet suit or splash jacket if it is really cold otherwise quickdry long sleeve shirt and pants may be enough. Don’t wear jeans or thick cotton, it only makes you colder and more uncomfortable! Wear proper river shoes that will stay on your feet and make the trip much more comfortable. In the peak summer season swim trunks and a T-shirt will be plenty. Also don’t forget the sunscreen and a good pair of sunglasses on bright days.
Brace in the RaftUnless you’re looking for a swim, keep yourself planted firmly in the boat. You will have 3 main points of balance.
Feet– keep your front foot tucked lightly under the air tube in front of you, or in the foot hold if you’re in the front of the raft. But don’t shove them in too far, because if you do fall out, you don’t want your foot to be trapped. Seat– Stay on the outer rim of the boat for the best balance, unless your guide instructs you to get down. Paddle– Believe it or not, sticking your paddle in the water provides an extra bracing point. So when the waves get harder, paddling harder will help keep them from tossing you into the rapids.
Listen to your Guide
If you listen up and follow your Guide’s instructions, you will have much more fun on the water. Guides will be calling paddle strokes to maneuver through the rapids and if you make those strokes it will help keep you off the rocks and in the current and having a lot more fun. Guides may also call for you to lean in, get down or high-side depending on the situation. Its important to pay attention.
If you do fall out of the boat, don’t panic!
Find your boat. Often you will pop up away. If you are a couple of feet away from the boat, swim to the boat. If you pop up and you are far from the boat, look for other rescue options, other boats or the riverbank. If you are panicking you won’t think about getting back to the boat and the rescue becomes more difficult.
Know the proper swimming techniques.
When swimming in the river, whether you fall out or you jump in for fun, there are two techniques. This is on your back, nose and toes to the sky with your head up so you can see where you are going. Feet down stream with your knees slightly bent. This way if you come in contact with a rock you can use your feet and legs as shock absorbers and push off the rock. Arms should be out to your side to help keep yourself in control. A helpful hint here: keep your butt up. Depending on where you are in the rapid and your swimming abilities a second swmmers position may used. Turn over on your stomach and do your best Michael Phelps impersonation. Point to where you want to go and swim until you are back to your boat or out of the river.
Never stand up in the river.
If you choose to swim to the shore, swim all the way to the shore. NEVER stand up in moving current. This prevents a situation called “Foot Entrapment” which is where you put your foot gets stuck in a crack in the bottom of the river. This is not a good place to be so don’t put your food down and don’t walk in the river.