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First Time White Water Rafting

If you are considering a first time white water rafting experience and wondering if it is right for you, we may be able to address some of your questions. Most rafting companies show pictures of extreme white water with lots of waves and foam, rafts careening down rivers which for non rafters it is an experience that looks quite challenging and perhaps scary at the same time.

This type of advertising appeals to many people looking for excitement, but may scare others away. If you are a concerned about the safety issues or perhaps cannot swim, then you may be initially afraid to try one of these white water rafting trips based on the pictures alone. Sometimes the white water rafting companies might be better served by showing less challenging pictures that might not appeal to more experienced rafters, but that may be attractive to people who are considering rafting for the first time.

A list of frequently asked questions follows. We have tried to answer them as carefully as possible, however as always, before trying something yourself, always verify safety claims and verify the type of trip with the operator prior to paying for your white water rafting trips.

First Time White Water Rafting

Is rafting dangerous?

Like any sport, white water rafting can be dangerous if you do not follow proper procedures, match your sport to your skill level and do not wear proper safety gear. If you wear flotation jackets, helmets , go with skilled white water rafting guides who use the latest and well maintained equipment, then it is perfectly safe. Additionally you will want to match your first trip with your skill level. If you have not gone white water rafting before, then going on a class 1 or 2 river is probably a good idea to give you a feel for what to expect. Generally these are very safe, yet will provide a level of enjoyment to most people that they will remember for a life time.

I can’t swim. Can I still go rafting?

All rapids are graded in terms of complexity. Some of the higher level rapids will require you to pass a physical and swimming test. Lower grade rapids do not need or require rafters to swim. All rafting participants must wear a life-preserver to protect them, and help them float if the raft should capsize.  These lower level rapids are not overly dangerous and even if you cannot swim, your life-preserver will help you float until you can get to shore or are picked up.

How fit should I be to go rafting? Is it strenuous?

Again, higher rated rapids will require a level of fitness that is above the normal person’s fitness level. The lower level rapids do not require a great deal of physical activity. Your guide will do most of the work steering the raft through the rapids that you encounter.

More Frequently Asked Questions

What should I wear on the river?

It really depends on the time of the year. Since the best rapids are usually in the spring, the water is cold and the weather can also be quite variable as you run down the river. Obviously you should leave anything valuable behind and have a set of warm dry clothing waiting for you at the end of the white water rafting ride.

I’ve never been before. Which trips are best for me?

Most rafting companies will claim that rapids rated from one to three can be handled by just about everyone. However if you are a first timer, a bit older or quite young you may want to try one of the easier trips before moving to a more challenging set of rapids. Your guide and the rafting company can also help you with selecting the right trip.

I have a family with young children. Can they go rafting?

Young children can go on rafting trips provided that they are accompanied by a responsible adult and they are limited to trips that are less challenging. Again your guides and rafting company can tell you if the rapids they offer are calm enough for small children.

Additional Information

Some additional information which may help you make a decision regarding who you go rafting with and who you take along with you.

Rafting trips often create lifelong memories for our guests and offer you a unique rafting vacation experience. When you choose a rafting trip for your vacation, you will discover a unique sense of “escape”, removing you from civilization for a bit. Absorb amazing scenery as you float through each rapid amidst rushing whitewater – learn new paddle commands in a “no worries” environment – discover how to paddle together as a team forming new bonds between family and friends and completely relax to the soft sounds of the river lapping at the side of your raft.

It Is important that you go with another person that you can share the memories with. Yes the trip will be exciting and yes you will be able to describe what it is like to those who have not gone on any of these trips. But if you have not experienced it yourself, then you really cannot fully appreciate the white water trip you went on. Only those you share the experience with can actually appreciate the experience. You will many conversations about various aspects that each of you saw and felt. In fact it is impossible to take it all in by yourself. Your friends will see things that you do not and vice versa. Share your experience with a friend.

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One Response to “First Time White Water Rafting”

  1. You did a great job of describing what is involved in a whitewater rafting trip.

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