How To Stay Safe During A White Water Rafting Trip

By Adrianna • General, Health • 8 May 2017

Rafting is a fun activity for those staying in places with optimal rapids, like at Oak Lodge near Laurel Highlands in Pennsylvania. Safety is an important part of rafting. The simplest safety tips, such as wearing a personal flotation device, significantly reduce the risk of serious injuries. Advanced safety, such as learning CPR and water rescue techniques, is also an option, but these simple basics are a must for both new and seasoned rafters.

Basic Rafting Skills

Learning some basic skills can help you avoid potentially dangerous situations during your white water rafting trip. Learning how to properly paddle through rapids, for example, can prevent falling overboard. Holding the paddle in the proper place also prevent accidents like dropping the paddle into the water.

Along with learning how to paddle, you should also learn how to wear a personal flotation device, or PFD, properly. If you are new to white water rafting, take a few guided rafting trips to learn basic safety skills.

Wear Safety Equipment

A personal flotation device is a must for all white water rafting trips. Never remove or loosen your PFD, even when the water is calm, because water conditions can change within seconds. Your PFD should fit snugly, and all snaps and fasteners should be closed to prevent losing your PFD in rapidly rushing water.

A helmet is your defense against rocks and other objects if you fall overboard. Choose a helmet that is designed for rafting, and keep your helmet on until you reach shore. Like your PFD, your helmet should fit correctly and have a secure strap to keep in place if you fall into rapids.

Learn How To Swim In Rapids

Using the right swimming techniques in swift water can be lifesaving. Rafting guides are an excellent resource for learning how to swim in rapids. If you do find yourself in swift currents, remember to swim with your head in the direction of the current so you can use your hands to push away from rocks. When you fall overboard, your guide typically helps you get back into the boat.

In some situations, this isn’t possible. When you need swim to shore, angle your body so the current pushes you toward the shore. Don’t stand up until you are on the shore to avoid stepping between hidden rocks that can trap your foot or leg. With these simple techniques, you can prevent many types of injuries for a more enjoyable rafting adventure.

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