Fun Facts About White Water Rafting

white water rafting facts

Gearing up for your first white water rafting trip? Consider yourself an expert on this river activity? No matter your experience, you may be curious about some white water rafting facts. Whether you want to know the history of river rafting or some information about commercial rafting trips, we’ve got you covered.

White Water Rafting History

Some of the top fun facts about white water rafting come from its history. Consider the first attempts to navigate the rapids or the development of a classification system for river rapids. For that information and more, here is a timeline of fun facts about white water rafting’s history:

  • 1811: An attempt to navigate the Snake River is the first recorded white water rafting trip, though it was only an attempt. Without the right experience and equipment, the trip was too dangerous. The river as nicknamed Mad River as a result.
  • The 1840s: This decade marks the creation of the first rubber raft. Horace H. Day and Lt. John Fremont created the vessel to help them survey the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains.
  • 1940: An individual named Clyde Smith completed a journey down the Snake River in the summer of this year. This comes over a century after the first unsuccessful attempt.
  • The 1950s: A resort in Grand Teton National Park began to offer float trips through the park on war rafts. The demand increased for trips year after year.
  • 1959: The American Whitewater Association adopted the international scale of river difficulty. The scale contains six classes that compare river difficulty and rapids. Class I is easier to navigate, while VI has extreme conditions that rafters shouldn’t attempt.
  • The 1960s and ’70s: White water companies developed to offer commercial rafting trips. The popularity of white water rafting only grew as groups of friends and families headed out on river trips throughout the country.

White Water Rafting and Other White Water Sports in the Olympics

Some other fun facts about white water rafting and sports involve the Olympics. White water sports became more well-known with the introduction of white water canoeing and kayaking in the 1972 Olympics in Munich. The debut coincided with the development of commercial rafting companies.

The Ocoee River then got to host white water events in the 1996 Olympics. At the time, it brought the largest crowd ever to witness a white water slalom race with the men’s kayaking event. A crowd of over 14,000 spectators watched the kayakers navigate the Ocoee River. Other events included a women’s kayaking event and the canoe double slalom event.

White water rafting took the spotlight in recent years with the 2012 Olympics in London. The first venue completed for those summer Olympics was the Lee Valley White Water Centre. The venue offered 300 meters of white water canoeing and rafting, which was open to the public before the games. Visitors found excitement for the Olympics and white water rafting alike at the center.

White Water Rafting Safety

white water rafting safety

If you come across river rafting facts, you may find information about whether or not the sport is safe. While there are statistics that discuss varying degrees of injury and other accidents, it’s essential to understand the context of those stats.

As white water rafting and other white water sports became more popular over the decades, more people headed out on the water. With a spike in rafters and adventurers, there was a spike in injury. The sport, however, did not become more dangerous — it’s simply that more people were participating and more injuries occurred, but it’s also important to note how those injuries occurred.

Many white water rafting and sporting injuries come from inexperienced and private tours. Commercial rafting trips offer a level of safety you won’t get on a private white water rafting trip. With a commercial trip, you’ll get an educated guide who understands the river and how to navigate the conditions that day. They may advise you not to head out on a trip if the waters are not suitable for navigating or if someone in your group may be unable to raft due to their age.

If you do have fears about white water rafting, let the statistics serve as reassurance, and educate yourself to be properly prepared. A study by the American Whitewater Association found that, in terms of fatalities, white water rafting was safer than scuba diving, climbing, recreational swimming and even bicycling. For optimal safety on your white water adventure, travel with a commercial rafting trip, use the right equipment and follow all instructions, rules and guidelines.

Average Cost of a White Water Rafting Trip on the Chattooga

The price of commercial rafting trips on the Chattooga River depends on various factors like the size of your group or which company you choose. On average, you can expect to pay around $100 per person, which can vary based on the length of the trip and what’s included in the package. At Southeastern Expeditions, we offer trips starting as low as $77 per person. We offer group rates and other valuable packages that include overnight excursions.

Height, Weight and Age Limits

For safety reasons, commercial rafting trips have various requirements for passengers. Those requirements depend on the company as well as where you’re rafting. Different sections of rivers have more intense rapids, which — while it makes for a thrilling trip — can be dangerous for smaller passengers. Consider these age requirements for our outlet and our sister site:

  1. At Southeastern Expeditions, we offer different types of white water rafting on the Chattooga River. For a Section III trip, passengers must be at least 8 years old, but during high water levels, we recommend a minimum age of 10 for passengers’ safety. A Section IV trip is more intense, so passengers must be at least 12 years old to participate.
  2. Our sister site, Raft1, takes on the Ocoee River and has different requirements. Because of the river difficulty and paddling requirements, Raft1 only lets families with children over 11 on the river.

While some rafting companies may have a height requirement, what some might consider weight more important. However, at the end of it all, what matters is your ability on the water. Your mobility and physical fitness are critical because white water rafting can be a workout. From maneuvering into and out of the raft to paddling through rapids, you need some level of agility on the water, which height and weight don’t necessarily impact.

At Raft1 and Southeastern Expeditions, we don’t place weight requirements on our passengers, but it is important to note that your size may affect what equipment you require. You’ll need to fit in personal flotation devices and helmets, but many companies are ready and willing to accommodate passengers as long as they meet age requirements.

Most Popular River in the United States

With so many rivers out there to choose from, you may find some of the most popular waterways to be excellent white water adventure options. The Ocoee River is among the most popular rivers for rafting trips in the country. Its popularity is thanks to a variety of factors:

  • The rafting season extends from March to October.
  • The water is typically warm, making for a pleasant splash along the rapids.
  • Visitors can raft the Olympic route from 1996.
  • Rafters can enjoy Class III and IV rapids along with a stunning view.

The Chattooga River is also a popular option for groups to adventure down, and part of that is thanks to its status as a “wild and scenic river.”

Why the Chattooga River in Georgia Is a “Wild and Scenic River”

As you discover fun facts about white water rafting, you may come across some waterways known as “wild and scenic rivers.” These rivers offer cultural, natural and recreational values as deemed through an act Congress passed in 1968. The National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act has labeled plenty of rivers as “wild and scenic” since its inception, which means that the act will work to:

  • Protect rivers from development that would have a negative impact.
  • Introduce ways to maintain and restore the rivers’ resources.
  • Promote the enjoyment of the rivers for present and future generations.

Congress labeled the Chattooga River a “wild and scenic river” in 1974. Around 58 miles of the river are designated as such thanks to its natural views and recreational use for white water sports. It’s definitely a river worth exploring on a white water adventure!

Check out White Water Rafting With Southeastern Expeditions

white water rafting

If these river rafting facts have you ready to hit the rapids, take a tour with us at Southeastern Expeditions. Get the trip of your life on the Chattooga River! Check out our rafting information page or contact us at 1-800-868-7238 with any questions you have about planning your exciting adventure!