While white water rafting is not the safest sport, it does not have to be so dangerous. Yes, in fact, kids and adults alike can have a lot of fun while out on the river. While true, to stay safe and avoid problems, one must know what to do when they are out in the river. With this in mind, here are five tips to stay safe while white water rafting
Wear a helmet: Now, in some cases, you will want to wear a helmet. Think about it, if you are going over huge rapids, you are going to want to protect your head. To get the right helmet, you should go to a sports supply store and try one on for size. If you are just rafting one time and going with a guide, he or she will help you find the right helmet. Either way, if you wear a helmet, you can prevent a serious head injury if you fall off the raft. More importantly, if you fall off the raft and hit your head, you can drown within seconds. So, if you are going on a rafting adventure, consider a helmet.
Life vest: Without a doubt, if you are on the water, you will need a life vest. Without this, you are one fall or slip from serious problems. To get started, you will want to ask the guide if he or she can help you find the right size. If you are going alone, head to a local store and try it on for size. And, remember, while wearing the life vest, make sure it fits snuggly and comfortably. Otherwise, if it slips off, you are in trouble.
Learn the route: While you can wear the right gear and take a proactive approach, you will also want to learn the route. By knowing what is coming up, you can steer clear of the worst and most dangerous parts of the river. Otherwise, if you don’t do so, you are going to end up in a world of hurt. If you are on a guided tour, the guide will show you where to go and what to avoid. Luckily, if you avoid the most dangerous parts, you are unlikely to fall out of your raft and into the dangerous water.
Hold the paddle properly, and never lose it: The paddle is an important thing to hold onto at all times. Think about what life would be like without a paddle while on the open water. Yes. With the right size paddle, you can navigate the water, push away from the shore and prevent branches and other items from hitting you. So, remember, while holding the paddle, make sure to grip it correctly, and don’t ever set it down or let go of it.
Never panic: Finally, even if you fall in the water, don’t panic. If you have a helmet and the properly shoes and vest, you should not worry. Instead, go with the water and follow the guide’s instructions. If you are alone, try to stay above water and remember to breath. Once you get to a safe area, you will simply want to go to the shore and walk away, safely.
With these five tips, not only will you have more fun on the water, but you will stay safer.
This article was written by Ryan Hooper for Rocky Mountain Whitewater Rafting, a rafting guide with over 15 years experience, in 2009. Rocky Mountain Whitewater Rafting has guided thousands of whitewater rafting trips on Clear Creek and throughout Colorado.