Let If Flow: Safety Tips For Your First River Rafting Experience

The river is an amazing place. Full of twists, turns and exciting runs, your first river rafting experience will leave you wanting to come back for more. Even if your trip is a few months away, you can get prepared for the day by learning about safety tips before you even touch the water. 

Know What to Do if You Fall in the Water

Being able to swim is not imperative if you take a river rafting trip, but you should know what to do if you fall overboard. Panicking in the water can lead to drowning. If you fall overboard, find the outside safety line so that you can be towed back in by someone else still in the raft. If you can reach the line, a guide or other member of the raft will throw you a rescue device you can grab onto. Stay relaxed, and if you are stuck in the water for a few minutes, point your feet downstream and float as if you are sitting in a chair. Your raft crew isn't going to leave you stranded, so stay calm and wait for assistance.

Wear Safety Gear

The river rafting company will insist that you wear appropriate safety gear such as a life jacket and helmet. If you loosen your jacket or helmet, you are defeating the purposes of these two necessary devices. Keep your life jacket on snugly, and make sure your helmet fits your head correctly. A good crack on the head from hitting it on a rock is a much bigger problem than a helmet that feels constricting. The life jacket will keep your head above the water while you wait to be rescued, but only if you are wearing it properly.

Keep Control of Your Paddle

It's exciting to be on the water, and you might forget about holding onto the end of your paddle. When it hits a rapid, your paddle will quickly get out of your control if you are holding it loosely. You could end up bonking someone else in the head with your paddle, or having it come back at you and hitting you in the face. Hold on tight to the end of your paddle with one hand, with the other hand on the handle. Be mindful that a good rapid will require you to help paddle and hold on.

Listen to the River Rafting Guide

As you go down the river, listen to the commands of the river rafting captain. Lean left, right, and bounce as commanded. The more you go with the flow of the raft, the better your back, neck and shoulders will feel at the end of the trip. Keep your body loose, relax, and enjoy your trip.