How will I stay in the boat?
You’ve decided to go whitewater rafting, but there’s a nagging question in the back of your mind … How will I stay in the boat? There won’t be any seat belts to strap you in; in fact, there aren’t even any seats! So, how will you stay in the raft as you paddle through the Class II-III rapids?
Your guide will give you a detailed safety talk before you embark on your trip. All guides have gone through extensive training including swiftwater rescue training. Trust that they know what to do and know that your safety is their number one priority.
Your goal is to stay in the boat and there are a couple of tricks that will keep you there.
First, it’s important to wear shoes that will stay securely on your feet. Wear river sandals with back straps or water shoes. Flip flops won’t stay on your feet in swirling water.
You’ll be sitting on the side tubes of the raft and you can tuck your front foot under the thwart (cross tube) in front of you. Brace your back foot firmly on the floor of the raft.
Sit firmly on the raft and focus on paddling. Leaning into the stroke as you paddle will actually help center your balance and keep you out of the water. It’s actually really fun, and part of the adventure!
Follow your guide’s instructions for paddling – forward, back, rest – and try to paddle in sync with the other guests. The participation of all guests helps ensure that your boat gets down the river successfully.
But, if you do fall in, don’t panic! Listen to your guide and the other guides on the trip and they will take the necessary steps to get you back into the raft as quickly as possible.