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Use These Safety Strategies To Make Your Rafting Outing Safe

If you have a high sense of adventure, you might love the idea of visiting a whitewater adventure center and being led down the river by experienced guides. However, if you'd rather try an outdoor activity that provides a little less adrenaline, you can buy an inflatable raft and hit your local lake or river for an afternoon of fun. Even if you aren't traveling through whitewater, you may occasionally come across an area with a strong current or some moderate waves, which can provide a bit of a thrill. Here are some important safety considerations to keep in mind so that you'll get back to the shore safely.

Use A Safety Line

Ideally, you won't have to experience falling out of your raft and having to swim back to it, but if you or someone else finds him or herself in the water, having a safety line will make the situation easier and safer. If your raft isn't already equipped with one, make sure that there's a long length of rope attached to a bracket at the front of the vessel. If someone slips over the edge and into the water because of a high wave, for example, another person in the raft can throw the rope to the person. The person can then follow the rope back to the raft, instead of having to swim toward it.

Practice Moving Your Weight Around

You and the other people riding in your raft should practice being able to shift your collective way from side to side to help keep the raft level if you experience turbulent conditions. One person — typically the person at the rear of the raft — should be in charge. When he or she sees that a wave is threatening the raft, he or she should give verbal commands to the group. Commands such as "left" and "right" should prompt everyone to shift their position accordingly to avoid tipping.

Research The Body Of Water First

There are a number of websites that provide details for rafting enthusiasts about various bodies of water. While many of these sites cater toward the adventure-seeking crowd, it's also easy to find information about bodies of water that are more sedate and geared toward beginners. If you can't find an authoritative website that answers your questions, consider visiting a local rafting online forum to create a user account and pose some questions to members of the local rafting community. Or, contact a raft company, like Andy and Bax, for help.