It does not matter why you decided to go rafting: you wanted to try something new during the vacation, you wanted to get some fresh air and spend an active day off, or you are choosing an activity for your company’s clients. One thing can be said, participation in good rafting – is a fun, an activity that will help cheer you up, get out of the comfort zone and get an unforgettable experience, and it often does not matter the level of your physical fitness and whether you had previous experience of rafting.
When you order rafting don’t be lazy to ask questions. How long has the company organized rafting? Who will be a guide on your rafting trip, what experience do the company’s guides have, what training they have had, and what certificates confirm it? Is there permission to work? What kind of equipment will they give you? These questions will help you understand the professionalism of the company, and working with professionals guarantees you that the rules written below will be followed, and your safety depends on their implementation.
The price is not always a criterion of quality. Often the cost of standard rafting in a professional company, is comparable, and sometimes cheaper than those who work under the floor.
Always wear a life jacket well.
The fact that you just put the vest on does not give you any guarantees, even on a calm river. Remember! On the water the vest must fit tightly to the body, all straps must be tightened, and fasteners must be clicked. The trick here is that the vest must be worn loose enough to breathe, but if you put your hands up, you can’t take it off over your head. A properly worn vest is a guarantee of safety.
Safety and comfort. Do not remove your protective gear.
Always wear a helmet, it doesn’t matter how difficult the routes you have already ridden or how easy the one you will be rafting today. You can get hit on the head with a paddle, even on almost flat water. And what in a helmet you will not even feel, without it can lead to serious injury.
Be sure you choose the right clothes for the day.
Gathering equipment in preparation for rafting
For example, in the spring the water in the river is cold, and even if the weather is warm, you should wear a neoprene suit and specialized shoes (slippers for diving or neoprene sock with an extra boot), this will help you stay warm and enjoy rafting without thinking that you may get cold water on you. In a neoprene suit you can even swim, it will not be cold! The presence of such suits – also shows professionalism of the company, those who are seriously engaged in rafting, have the suits.
On the other hand – the hot summer. Here already is a danger of the sun, for a hot summer day is good either thin neoprene or clothes from polartek. Before you get on the raft, don’t forget to apply sunscreen to exposed skin areas. An inexpensive panama and sunglasses are possible. Believe me, getting a sunburn or a stroke is not the best course of action.
Hold the paddle correctly!
Holding a paddle correctly is, at first glance, such a small thing, but in fact one of the most important aspects of safety. One hand should be on the mast, above the paddle, the other hand should always hold the upper part of the paddle, which has the shape of letter “T”. This is very important, because if you do not control the upper part, you can easily bruise yourself or your neighbor’s teeth with it. Always keep one hand on the “T”-shoe even when the raft is just floating downstream and you are resting. Also pay attention if your instructor stresses this point, because it shows you his professionalism!
Stay in the boat!
It seems like it can’t be any other way, but different things can happen. You always have a chance to fall out of the raft. Sometimes, especially on difficult routes, you hit some rocks and the push comes too strong and you can slip out of the boat. When the guide understands that now will be a strong strike, he gives the command “hold on”, at this point you should release your hand from the oar mooring, leaving your hand on the “T” shaped part, take your free hand for the rope that goes along the board of the raft and your hand with “T” lowered to its bottom, after the strike take the oar back and be ready for new commands. If you do fall out of the boat, the most important thing to do is not panic! Calmly, find the boat with your eyes. Usually if you fall off the boat you float up next to it. Try to immediately grab the raft harness or an oar, which you can pull from the boat, so you don’t swim far away. If you find yourself far from the boat, then you have to act according to the circumstances or swim to the boat or the river bank, do not forget that they are two. And most importantly do not panic, during panic, rescue becomes difficult. In any case, about all the options for behavior tells you a guide before rafting.
Learn how to swim correctly
There are two techniques for river rafting, whether you fall or just jump into the water for fun. The first “passive” is used for rafting downstream. You lie on your back, nose and toes looking up, face in the direction of travel, legs closed and in front, knees slightly bent. This is a safe position, in case of a stone encounter, you will push off it with your legs and cushion the impact. Keep your hands at your sides and control your movement with them. This is an important point, try to keep as high as possible to the surface, the meeting of the tailbone with an underwater stone is very unpleasant and dangerous to health. The second position is called “active”, here everything is simple, turn over on your stomach and swim to where you need, as soon as possible. At the same time, swim until you get out of the river, do not stay in the water. Again, this is all explained by the guide during the briefing.
If you decide to swim to the shore swim until you hit it. You should never stand up in fast flowing water. Most guides do not try to walk in water that is deeper than knee-deep. If you try to get up and walk, your foot may get caught under a rock and your body will be carried by the water, which could eventually lead to a broken foot.
Memorize the commands your rafting guide will give.
Listen carefully and memorize the commands your rafting guide will give and what you should do upon hearing those commands. Practice on the shore. There are not many of these commands. On the easy sections they usually use “Forward” “Backward” “Stop” and “Hold”. On the more difficult ones, they add the commands on the sides “Left Forward”, the command to the left side automatically means that the right side should start working in the opposite direction. I.e. “left backwards” automatically means “right forwards”, and there’s an extra command “all in the boat” when you sit down inside the boat, with your hand on the “T” part, and with your free hand grab the rope that goes along the side. Listen carefully to your guide. And follow his commands and don’t do anything on your own. In this case the safety and drive from rafting will be on top!
Stay calm in any situation, panic is a loss of energy and time.
Listen carefully to your guide during the briefing and rafting.
Try to concentrate during the briefing and carefully follow your guide, who will show and tell you how to act in different situations, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask them. During the rafting the guide will also give commands – their precise fulfillment is a guarantee of interesting but at the same time safe rafting.