White Water Rafting Near Me | Rafting Locator

Is white water rafting only for professionals, or can I do it?

Whether just getting out of the house to cool off or on vacation, whitewater rafting is a fun and exhilarating outdoor activity and a great way to enjoy no matter what your experience level or ability. White water rafting is for everyone and not just for the experienced athletes anymore. This popular sport is now more popular than ever before.

There are a few tips that you and your family can take to ensure that your experience is a great one that you will look back on in a positive way for years to come. Try our FREE "White Water Rafting Locator" to find a place near you.

White Water is fun! By following a couple of safety practices, it can be even more delightful. Here are some safety rules that will help you and your family to enjoy the great outdoor experience known as whitewater rafting.

How do I choose the right rafting outfitter?

Choose a professional and licensed rafting outfitter. When you find the place you want to go, ask them questions. Ask them what kind of training and first aid their guides have and what government department manages their permits and training methods. See how long they are doing business under the current ownership. This will help you know that you are working with a professional company. Picking an expert will help ensure that the rules are followed.

What are some of the equipment I will be provided?

Always wear a life jacket. It must be worn correctly. Just because you wear a flotation device, it doesn't mean it is 100% safe. All buckles must be clipped, and the life jacket should be fitted snug to your body. The trick here is to have the coat installed so you can breathe comfortably. The layer should not be able to be pulled up over your head. Always have your guide fit your life jacket. This will ensure a perfect fit.

Wear a helmet no matter what experience rafter you are or the standard of rapids. You wouldn't let your kids out rollerblading without protection, why go whitewater rafting without your own safety device? It just makes good sense.

What kind of clothing should I wear when I got white water rafting?

In early Spring, the water is a little chilly from the winter snow-melt in some locations. Wearing a wet-suit, wet jacket, swim shirt, and proper river shoes can make the trip much more enjoyable, allowing you to experience the thrill without the chill. A reputable outfitter will have equipment for you. Some outfitters rent this gear. Find out before you book if the necessary equipment is available.

On the other side of the coin: be prepared for bright sunny days. This can be accomplished by wearing quick-drying clothing like poly-pro and wearing sunscreen and a cheap pair of sunglasses with UV protection. Sunscreen, sunglasses, and straps for your sunglasses, so you don't lose them are essential. Remember, sunburns can happen fast at a higher elevation and can be severe. Sunburns or hypothermia are no fun.

How do I properly hold a paddle when rafting?

Not holding the paddle properly can be a safety concern. One hand should be at the bottom of the paddle pole above the scoop. The other side should be at the end of the pole over the grip shaped like a "T." The "T" grip is made of plastic and can do some damage if you lose control of it. Keep your hand over the "T" grip to retain the authority of the paddle and cushion the blow if you should lose power. Ask your guide for the proper technique.

Should I jump out and go swimming for added adventure?

Simple answer, ask your guide or stay in the boat!

This sounds like common sense, but falling out of the raft happens. One minute you are in the float and the next you are swimming next to it. Pay attention and watch for rocks you are approaching. Your guide may use a command just before the boat hits a rock. If your manual calls out, "Bump!" or the specific control to that operation, lean in a while.

Keep your hand over the "T" grip of the paddle. This should keep you in the boat. After the raft collides with the rock, return to your seat and be ready to paddle. If you fall out of the float... Find your boat. DON'T PANIC!

When someone falls out of the raft, they pop up right next to the raft most times. Grab it, so you don't drift away. If you are a couple of yards away from the boat, swim. If you come up, look around, and you are far, search for other rescue options, other floats or the riverbank.

There are two riverbanks on either side of the river for your convenience. Try to get to the closest bank if your raft is too far. If you are panicking, you won't think clearly, and the rescue becomes more complicated. Your guide will go over this during the safety talk before the excursion.

What are some of the proper techniques if you end up in the water?

Whether you fall out or jump in, there are two techniques most rafters use. "Down River Swimmers Position" is the first. Feet downstream with your knees bent. On your back, toes, and nose to the clouds. Keep your head up so you can see where you are going. This way if you contact an obstacle like a rock, you can use your legs and feet as shock absorbers and push off.

To help keep yourself in control, arms should be out to your side. Keep your bottom side up. If you sit with your base low in the water, you will find a rock, stump, or unidentified object and bring home some deep wounds.

Guys, keep your legs together. If you hit a stick, rock, large fish, we call this "romancing the stones." You get the picture.

The second swimmers' position is becoming more popular and more accepted in rescue situations. This position is on your stomach with your head up. You will point your body where you want to go and go. Swim using your flotation device until you are out of the water. Your guide will teach when it is best to use which technique.

If you choose to swim to the sides, paddle out. NEVER stand up in moving current. Most guides never walk in water over six inches deep. This is not the right place to be, just don't walk in the river.

Are there special commands or signals I should know?

During your guide's safety presentation before the trip, pay extra awareness to the part about high-siding. High-siding is a word that your guide may call out as a last-ditch effort to keep the boat from flipping over.

Remember: don't panic! Chances are this won't, but if it does, you will want to have paid attention during the safety presentation.

This condition tends to stress both guides and clients out, but really it is an easy command to administer. If the boat hits a submerged object or gets in a whirlpool, the raft might twist in a sideways position in the river. Water pressure will build on the side of the boat, which can flip the raft over.

But if your guide calls out, "High-side!" you need to go to the side of the raft in the direction the water is moving, by getting up and throwing your weight to the downstream tube of the raft. Remember to always go with the flow of the river direction.

What are the different levels or "Class" of rapids when white water rafting?

Moving water with small waves that tug at the boat - it's a relaxing way to spend the day. Each of our trips have some stretches of calm class I water, creating a pleasant break between rapids.

Easy rapids, waves up to three feet tall that are readily seen, and wide channels that can be discovered without scouting. Some maneuvering is required during this little rock and roll.

Waves up to four feet and narrow passages that send the boat shimmying and water gushing over it's sides. Plenty of excitement.

Long, difficult rapids, narrow passages, turbulent water that requires precise maneuvering and sends hearts racing.

All of the above and then some - large, complex, gushing rapids, twisting, and spinning to deliver the consummate adrenaline rush.

The extreme "un-runnable" rivers or waterfalls. Only the most expert should attempt this - usually seen in extreme kayak videos, etc. Outfitter raft trips don't go here - there's too much other water to enjoy without risking it all!

The Grand Canyon continues to use an older river rating scale that was developed before the International scale was introduced. A class V ( highly technical & difficult, etc.) on the international scale is equivalent to a 10 on the Grand Canyon scale. Most rivers use the regular I - V river rating scale, so we often refer to that scale for familiarity reasons.

What happens if I panic?

Never panic! Panicking is a waste of time, energy, and will most likely get you or someone else injured. Listen to your guide during the safety course and on the water. Your experienced guide is trained to know exactly how to handle any type of situation encountered while on the river.

By following these essential tips and listening to your director during your white water rafting adventure, you can safely experience the roaring rush of water, the beauty of nature, as you ride the river's flow and the unforgettable thrill of white water rafting.

So, if you have a desire to explore and are looking for a beautiful place hang out with others, do go to a nearby rafting facility in your area. Don’t know how to find one? Don’t worry, click "View larger map" and zoom in to see the trails in your area.

* you will be taken to an external website Google Maps, make sure "update results when map moves" is turned on.

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