- Disc Golf
- Farm Fun
- Hiking & Walking
- Horseback Riding
- Kids Games
- Ball Games
- Strength Games
- Tag Games
- Playground Fun
- Rock Climbing
- Treasure Hunting
- NPS Fee FREE '11
- America Recycles
- Amur Leopard
- Brownfield Cleanup
- Dawn of Creation
- Dirty Air
- Earth Day '09
- Earth Day '10
- Earth Hour '10
- Earth Hour
- Earth Song
- Energy Bill 09
- FWS Climate
- Gray Wolf
- Great Outdoors
- Gulf Spill NOAA
- Holiday Recycling
- Homemade Windmill
- Mtn Coal Mng
- NOAA Turtles
- No Trace
- Obama ESA
- Park Recovery
- Polar Bear 10/09
- Polar Bears
- Public Land Corps
- Roadless Forest
- ServiceCorps 2010
- WWF Symposium
- Warming Vol. Oppty
- Ozone Limits
- Recycling Law
- Green Library
- Waste Problems
- Creativity Outdoors
- Family Fun Ideas
- Humor Outdoors
- Organic Plan
- Outdoor Food
- Outdoor Success
- Africa Bungee
- Budget Family Vacation
- Holiday Travel
- NPS Fee-Free
- NY Park Troubles
- Travel with Pets
- Gerry Barnes
- Health & Wellness
- Heart Smart
- Weight Control
Whitewater Rafting FAQ and Things To Know
January 17, 2010 - 11:50am — Matt Kegelman
Read this Whitewater Rafting FAQ to learn the answers, tips and tricks you'll need to make your next whitewater adventure the most enjoyable experience possible. Ride the rapids with confidence!
To have an extraordinary whitewater adventure in Maine, visit our sponsor Northern Outdoors!
List of Frequenty Asked Questions about Whitewater Rafting
- How much does it cost to go whitewater rafting?
- Is my raft going to sink once it fills with water?
- Am I going to be thrown overboard?
- How do I prepare for a whitewater rafting journey?
- Can I bring or consume any alcohol on my whitewater rafting journey?
- How safe is whitewater rafting?
- Do I have to be a good swimmer if I want to go whitewater rafting?
- Do I have to paddle? (Or can I just go along for the ride?)
- Where can I go Whitewater Rafting?
- What should I wear to go whitewater rafting?
- Should I rent a wetsuit? (Or [for avid surfers] bring my own?)
- What are the most important things I should know about going Whitewater Rafting?
Prices vary depending on the region and when it is you want to go rafting. But generally the price per adult for one short rafting trip ranges from 35 to 85 US Dollars. Prices go up during the regular season (when the water is warmer in the summer). Also you should know that you can go on a number of different types of rafting trips—some only last for an hour or two, some are a half-day (lunch is usually included, so the price reflects this), and others go on for the entire day (5 hours+ and a long car-ride home to wherever it was you left your car); still others can last up to a week or even longer! A full-day trip usually costs between 200 and 300 US Dollars per person. Week long excursions are more.
No, not if you have a self-bailing raft. This technology has made whitewater rafting a lot more fun, because you don’t have to bring a bunch of buckets along anymore! What “self-bailing” means has nothing to do with the raft tipping and people having to bail out! Rather, it means that any water that splashes up into the raft immediately gets bailed out of the raft by a special one-way valve mechanism. All modern rafting companies use only self-bailing boats—so you don’t have any reason to fear your raft filling up with too much water and getting so heavy that it goes under.
Most likely, no. Though there still is a (slight to moderate) chance you will (depending on the severity of the rapids). But, if you are smart about it, and: Do not attempt rapids that are too difficult for your skill level—it would be a good idea to consult the GettingOutside.com Whitewater Rapids Class I-VI Guide to see where you fit in!—then you will still be safe even if you end up getting tossed overboard!
Rafting guides or your outfitter will instruct you in how to float (feet up, head back) in case you end up in the water. And they will navigate the boat to where other rafters and the guide will pull you back in. There is really nothing to worry about when going whitewater rafting. This article will alleviate any concerns of yours—a conservative estimate reveals there is only a 0.044% percent chance of getting injured whitewater rafting—unless you are an extreme kayaker or someone who goes rafting without a guide and ends up encountering rapids that are above your difficulty level (your chances then are worse).
Do not consume any alcohol or drugs before going whitewater rafting. And always exercise your best judgment. Some whitewater rafting journey’s do permit passengers to bring along alcoholic beverages, but these are to be consumed after the journey is over, only once an appropriate campsite has been set up for a period of rest.
The majority of the injuries that occur while whitewater rafting are not serious. The two most often reported injuries are not actually caused by rocks or water. In fact, they are caused by the paddle. (Blisters and bruises from being struck by someone else’s paddle:)
When rafters get excited after being jostled, sometimes they loose control of their paddle and it can hit other rafters... This is why helmets are worn (not only to protect you from rocks, but to protect you from the guy or gal sitting next to you)!
With that being said, there is still a slight possibility that a raft will tip and passengers will be thrown in the water. This is a moderately to highly dangerous activity. You should:
Be prepared! Always wear a PFD and a Helmet. And, please, for your own safety:
Consult our Whitewater Rapids Rating Guide to determine what type of rapids you are ready to try.
As long as you know what you are getting yourself into, only attempt rapids which you feel 100% comfortable navigating (or go along with a tour guide or a group of other experience rafters), and wear a securely fastened lifejacket, there is little chance of injury (serious or minor, if you discount blisters), according to a medical study.
Use common sense. Don't get in over your head. If you know you are not good in the water, it would be wise to stick to a level of rafting where you will not be getting thrown around very much. Levels one and two are still very exciting and you will get wet—but probably not thrown out of the raft!
Before you decide, consult your tour guide or outfitter.
Don’t feel like just because you aren’t a strong swimmer you can’t still have fun going whitewater rafting. Everyone is required to wear a Personal Floatation Device, regardless of their experience in the water.
If you do end up in the water, don't panic! Float with your feet up and forward (so they don't get snagged on rocks or branches), and with your head back so it is protected. Wait for your tour guide and/or rafting group to assist you back into the raft.
You should know what type of boat you are in and whether or not you are going to have paddling responsibilities before you go whitewater rafting. In paddle rafts, naturally enough, you will have to paddle, but in an Oar raft, you will be free to just sit back and let the river guide take you on a whitewater-rollercoaster-ride! If you are just looking to do down a river to go sight-seeing or to experience the canyon river ecosystem first hand, then look to get yourself on a tour that lets you ride on a luxurious Rig or Pontoon Boat. Click here to visit our page about the different types of whitewater rafts.
All over the United States, in Canada, and even in some places in South America. Just because you don’t live near Colorado or the Grand Canyon doesn’t mean there isn’t a spot near you that provides you with the opportunity to go Whitewater Rafting! Some states most people wouldn’t think have whitewater rafting tours include: New Jersey, Tennessee, Connecticut, and Wyoming. There are literally hundreds of places to go rafting in the US.
The two best clothing options for whitewater rafting are wool and polypropylene. It’s a good idea to dress in a few layers. Avoid wearing cotton. You can even replace cotton underwear with a bathing suit or pair of “quick-dry” athletic shorts. Choosing the right footwear is important too. You can wear an old pair of sneakers that you don’t mind getting wet, water shoes, or even sandals. Although you are usually sitting down when you go rafting, having some foot protection and grip for securely lodging your feet in the raft is very important.
Wherever it is going to be somewhat cool, we at GettingOutside.com strongly suggest you rent a wetsuit. Since rafting is best when the water levels are higher, and this is usually in the Spring after the snow melts (you get the resulting run off from thawed glaciers and mountain snow). And think! What temperature is that water going to be? You know: Not very warm! (maybe only 50 – 65 degrees) So if you are going whitewater rafting, remember, the outfitters are not trying to scam you into renting a wetsuit—to the contrary—they are trying to make sure you have an enjoyable experience! So consider renting or bringing your wetsuit whenever you feel there might be even the slightest need for one (check weather reports, because if it is going to start raining at the beginning of your 6 hour long trek down a river, then you are going to be awful sore if you do not opt to rent the wetsuit from the get-go)! It’s just a good idea to have one on.
- It’s fun! Truly a wet and wild rush of excitement like none other.
- It’s safe and exciting for the whole family! (kids must be 5 or older)
- Be prepared: You are going to get wet! You might even end up in the water (in some instances people fall out of their whitewater raft but)
- Do not panic! As long as you have the help of a whitewater guide on hand, they will assist you and get you back in the raft in the event that you do fall in the water. And if you are an experienced whitewater rafter—Remember, go with a group of other rafters in case you get in trouble. And do not attempt anything too risky—think to yourself, “Would mom approve of me attempting this?”
- Be smart: Do not consume any drugs or alcohol before or while whitewater rafting – and always heed warnings about water conditions and
- Follow all safety precautions (always wear a helmet and a PDF at ALL TIMES, and always have a throw rope in the raft in case someone goes overboard!) to ensure you
- Have a memorable and thoroughly enjoyable experience!
To have an extraordinary whitewater adventure in Maine, visit our sponsor Northern Outdoors!