River Rafting: Top 5 Safety Tips from Professionals

By Molly   •   August 10, 2015

While enjoying the water on a river rafting trip, you should always have safety in the back of your mind.  You want to be proactive, not reactionary, to anything that could happen. Here are our top five tips to keep you and your loved ones safe on the river.


River Rafting Safety


#1 Wear a PFD

Wear a Type 5, Coast Guard Approved Personal Floatation Device (PFD). A PFD is better known as a life jacket or life preserver. Although it does not guarantee saving a life, it definitely can be a lifesaver. Type 5 assures it will flip you face up in the water if you are unconscious. It must be properly fitting in order to work properly. Always wear it while river rafting, even in calm water. You never know when it might be needed!


#2 Wear Water Shoes

Protect your feet from debris, sharp rocks, or branches in the river bottom.


#3 Wear a Helmet

Most states require helmet use on Class IV and V rapids. It never hurts to have that extra safety for your head on all class of rapids. It is like riding a bike — you only need it when you are headed off the wrong direction!


#4 Hold the T-Grip

Hold your hand over the T-Grip (top of the paddle). If the paddle hits a rock, or you get jarred in the boat, it will protect you and others from getting hit by your paddle.

#5 Drink Plenty of Water

Dehydration can easily occur while river rafting, even though you are surrounded by water. Bring plenty of water on your trip and stay hydrated. Dehydration zaps your energy and can affect your judgement.



There are many additional safety precautions, as well as other considerations to take into account while on a river rafting trip.  Be sure to consider the appropriate class of rapids and the adventure and fitness levels of the participants. Check out more of these considerations on the trip planning section of our website.



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