A lot of misconceptions surround the activity of white water rafting. Some people view it as dangerous, unpredictable and exclusive to a few select groups. However, you might be surprised to learn that this fun adventure is much more inclusive than many river rafting myths might suggest. Here are five myths about white water rafting.
1. Rafting Is Unsafe
There is always some degree of risk involved with white water rafting due to the naturally volatile nature of the territory. That said, it’s far safer than many people believe.
If you organize your trip through an established guide agency, they will take all necessary precautions to ensure your safety as much as possible. Guides train for years on multiple grades to prepare themselves for all kinds of situations, and good agencies stay up to date on the latest regulations and technologies.
Do your research on the best expedition outfits, consider your circumstances, abide by what the guides tell you, learn about the necessary equipment — paddles, personal floatation devices, etc. — and be responsible. If you can abide by these tenets, you shouldn’t have any problem having fun and remaining safe while doing so.
2. You Need to Be in Excellent Physical Condition to Raft
While exceptional personal fitness is an advantage with rapids that meet higher class specifications, it’s hardly a requirement in most cases.
While there is no specific weight limit for white water rafting, you generally need the capability to get into and out of the boat, walk short distances and carry assorted items. There are many kinds of trips that cater to everyone so people who might not be in peak physical condition can enjoy more mellow rafting, which can still be a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
3. Rafting Is Exclusively for Thrill-Seekers
Vigorous rapids. Steep channels. Rafts launching over precipitous drops.
People conjure up these scenarios in their head thanks to TV shows, movies and viral videos that make the rounds on social media. These situations exist in the form of Class IV and V rapids, and they are undoubtedly thrilling and accessible for the people who want that rush.
But that’s not what white water rafting is all about. On the contrary — you can find rivers all around that offer classes I through III, which range from leisurely floating to popping waves. If you want some relaxation and sightseeing, you can arrange that. If you want some smaller thrills, that’s okay too! You do not need to be an adrenaline junkie to have fun.
4. Rafting Occurs Only in the Summer
This myth is also off-base, as you can find locations that offer rafting beginning in late spring and lasting until late fall. It might be a little chillier at some times of the year, but it will still be safe.
Don’t let a seasonal stereotype keep you from reaching for your paddles. For example, we here at Southeastern Expeditions carry out trips on the Chattooga River until late October, which other local outfitters consider their off-season.
5. You Need to Be an Experienced Swimmer
Rivers and their rapids can move quickly and you might fear that falling out of the boat — which does happen — will spell serious trouble unless you possess Olympic-level swimming talents.
In most cases, this myth is easily debunked. You will be wearing a PFD that keeps you afloat in the water, and this alone will significantly improve your swimming capabilities. You will receive professional tips and guidance on how to swim in the event of going overboard or capsizing.
Again, be smart and follow the guide, and you shouldn’t have issues.
Enjoy a Rafting Experience With Southeastern Expeditions
With these river rafting myths debunked, you’ll hopefully feel more confident trying this enjoyable activity. If you’re located in or around Rabun County, GA, Southeastern Expeditions is the outfit you can trust to make your rafting trip a successful one. We maintain excellent ratings in white water rafting safety and we offer multiple classes to choose from on the Chattooga River to make for one of the best experiences east of the Mississippi River.