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2019/4/3 16:26:48

Before taking a whitewater rafting trip this summer, be sure you go through this safety check list. Many of the things seem obvious to an experienced rafter. Though to the unexperienced, if any of these things are forgotten you may well be uncomfortable in the least, and at worst, may be putting yourself into unnecessary danger.
#1. Life Vests and Helmets: As far as safety equipment, these two top the list. You want a helmet that fits securely when strapped and doesn’t shift around on your head. You want a life vest that is comfortable, but not to loose. Properly fitting equipment is not only necessary for safety, but if the life vest or helmet does not fit as it should, it may restrict movement which obstructs paddling.
#2. The Buddy System: You should never go rafting alone, regardless of how tame the river may seem to be. The buddy system is self explanatory, if you plan on taking a day trip,an extra pair of eyes and hands are always welcome. Especially when doing something even remotely close to dangerous.
#3. Notify Friends and Family: Sometimes even having a rafting buddy present isn’t enough. Be sure to tell your friends and family of the river and course you intend to explore. As well as the day you plan on returning and the courses of action you want them to take if you do not arrive on that date. This can easily save your life if done, most people who perish in the wild do so because they could not be found. Make sure you avoid this problem from the start.
#4. Control your Paddles: There are two problems that can occur with the paddles during a trip. One is that when you become tired, you may be inclined to let your paddles drag in the water. This is a problem because that drag can cause the raft to drift or turn to one side. This may not be a big problem in calm waters, but if rapids are present it becomes dangerous. If you feel you cannot paddle due to exhaustion, rest them on the side of the raft but keep them out of the water. Along those same lines, you dont want to knock people with your paddles as it could harm them or at worst knock them into the river. This may be difficult when going through rough rapids, but keeping it in mind is better than not being aware at all.
#5. Stay Hydrated: There is no greater or more silent danger than dehydration. It can cause great discomfort if left untreated, and eventually will lead to death. Various trips in Colorado and throughout the southwest can easily lead you to be dehydrated. The climate is dry, and if active outdoor, you will lose tremendous amounts of water. You also have to be careful not to over-hydrate, the body can only absorb a quarter of a liter every 20 minutes. If you drink more than this, you will feel similar symptoms to that of being dehydrated. Headaches, dizziness, and nausea.
#6. Proper Foot Wear: While rafting, proper foot wear may not be the first thing that comes to mind. But at some point you have to put the raft into the water as well as take it out of it. So they will help in this sense. But if you get bucked out after a rapid, you want to head down the river feet first. Shoes will help protect your feet in this instance. Also, walking in a river can be slippery and jagged, which shoes will help to protect against as well.
#7. Check Equipment: Be sure to check that your gear is in proper functioning condition. Also make sure that all loads are secured as you would not want them to break free. This could result in harm to rafters, or at least the loss of gear to the river. Be sure your helmet and life vest is also not damaged in a way that it might inhibit it from working properly.
In all, rafting is both fun and exhilarating. But if you do not take the necessary precautions, you may expose yourself to unnecessary dangers.

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