The Ultimate Question: Is White Water Rafting Safe?
Starting Your Day Off Right:
It starts with showing to ACE Adventure Resort up on time, an hour before departure, well rested with a clear head and ready to go. Save the late night celebrations for AFTER your trip, not before.
Your trip leader will greet you and lead you through the liability waiver process, including the critical portion where you are asked to share any special medical circumstances you may have. If you prefer you can verbally and privately advise the trip leader of your situation, but it is vital that we know in advance anything that would better prepare us for any emergency and make informed decisions about how to conduct the trip. Please be honest and forthright so we can do our best to assure you have a good day.
The trip leader will then go over conditions of the day and advise whether extra insulation is recommended. Listen carefully and ask any questions that come to mind.
Next you will move to the trip departure area, rent a wetsuit if needed, and get fitted with a personal floatation device (life jacket), helmet, and paddle. Your PFD will be adjusted to you by a guide. It should feel snug enough to stay in place in the water AND so someone else can pull you into the raft by the PFD lapels without slippage. Do NOT loosen the adjustments after it has been fitted.
Once on the bus your trip leader will start in earnest to prepare you for the day. Their style and delivery may vary, but their intent is to make you as ready as possible for what is to come, with an emphasis on teamwork, safety, and fun.
Either on a stopped bus or at the put in, the trip leader will go through a detailed checklist of safety items, strategies and procedures. Pay careful attention and ask for clarification of anything you don’t understand.
Next you’ll meet your guide, who will reiterate key safety issues and start the process of molding you into a team prepared for the challenges ahead. This is a good time to share with your guide any special individual or group circumstances (medical conditions, first time rafters, non-swimmers, anyone extra nervous).
It’s also when you’ll get your first chance to practice sitting in the raft. As instructed, tuck (don’t jam) your front foot either under a cross-tube or into a foot cup or strap. Place your back foot flat on the floor behind you. You’ll want a brace that helps keep you in place but allows you to move if needed in case someone lands in your lap or you are tossed unexpectedly. The most common knee or ankle injuries result from being locked in too tight.
Stay tuned for part three of this series: Is White Water Rafting Safe- Being An Active Participant. If you missed out on part one of this series click here.