Grand Canyon Whitewater River Rafting - Safety in the Water

The Grand Canyon is home to some of the world’s most dangerous yet truly spectacular whitewater river systems. Many outdoor enthusiasts make it a point to visit the turbulent waters of the majestic Colorado River at least once a year. For the more adventurous, they visit the Grand Canyon during those times of the year that there are less visitors. No matter what day of year it is, however, the river can be quite a safety hazard especially for those who are whitewater river rafting for the very first time.

Every single whitewater river rafting outfitter in the Grand Canyon adhere to very specific guidelines when it comes to ensuring the safety of everyone on board their whitewater river craft. They understand that several lives depend on the expertise and quick-thinking of their whitewater river guides. It is therefore crucial for first-time whitewater rafters to listen very well to the safety briefing that river guides perform before they even set foot in the waters of the Colorado.

Aside from listening to the safety briefing provided by the whitewater river guides, it is imperative to check all the gear and equipment for proper functioning and for any sign of damage. For example, individuals are advised to make sure that their life vests are properly secured and that it will not suddenly snap out of its position. If helmets are provided, it is imperative to check for proper fit. A loose helmet can be as dangerous as not having any helmet at all.

When already in the whitewater river raft, it is important to sit properly with the feet planted squarely on the floor of the boat. If at all possible, whitewater river rafters are advised to wear appropriate shoes preferably one that has an excellent grip. This helps individuals to stay firmly in the boat. For whitewater river rafters taking a non-motorized vessel, it is important not to play with the paddle or the oar. Paddles are not connected to the boat itself and as such may be flung into the air or swung in the direction of other people in the boat. Oars will be a little bit safer in that they are connected to the side of the boat. However, care must also be taken in the movement of the oar. Its length can hit another person if not careful.

In cases where the individual is thrown overboard, it is advised not to panic but rather to stay afloat and face the direction of the current. This gives the individual an idea of where he is going. By the time he is in calmer waters, he can then flip on his belly and swim diagonally towards the shore. It is important not to swim across the current or to go against it. Individuals will tire a lot more easily this way.

Whitewater river rafting is a fun way to enjoy the river. However, as there are risks involved, first-time Whitewater river rafters need to stay focused about their own safety.