Whitewater Rafting Safety Tips

Whitewater rafting has become such a popular extreme sport among travelers that many destinations around the world have become famous for their thrilling and challenging rivers.  As fun and exciting as it may be, we can’t forget that whitewater rafting entails an element of risk due to the elements of nature.  No matter how easy or challenging your rafting experience might be; you should always follow these basic tips to ensure that your thrilling experience is as safe as possible.

Whitewater Rafting in Thailand

Prepare beforehand – If you have never gone rafting, you should educate yourself on the sport.  Know what it is and what you should be capable of doing.  Be honest with yourself.  Don’t try doing a Class V river on your first ride.

Know your physical limitations – Are you a good swimmer? Can you endure upper body exercises for a couple hours?  If so, good!  If not, try taking some swimming lessons before your trip.  Exercising your upper body is good to achieve some resistance on longer rafting trips.

Know the Classifications – Rivers are classified in six classes –from Class I (easy) to Class VI (likelihood of death if attempted).  For first timers, a Class II (or even Class III) is a good place to start while still having a thrilling experience. Choose your Class according to your physical limitations.

Whitewater Rafting in Thailand

Know the river – Rivers have different behaviors during the year.  Summer rafting is usually calmer, due to low water volume.  On the other hand, some rivers take advantage of the melting snow –more water flow– and some even have daily dam releases.

Check local regulations – Some countries might have an age limitation to raft.  Some places don’t allow rafters under the age of 12.

NEVER go rafting alone – Rafting should never be done solo.  If you’re a newbie rafter, try going with an experienced guide.  If you’re experienced, do go with other experienced rafters.  But never alone.

Whitewater Rafting in Thailand

ALWAYS listen to your guide – Your guide knows what you should do and when to do it during your trip.  DO always follow their instructions.  Common things you will hear during your raft will be: lean left/right, bounce, sit in/out, paddle, stop paddling, and high five!

Don’t drink alcohol before the trip – I know you want to have fun, right? But, drinking alcohol before rafting will not only endanger yourself, but also be a risk to other rafters.

Do not raft in the dark – Rafting should be done while there is plenty of sunlight.  Try coordinating your trip so that it ends before darkness falls.  In some rivers there is “moonlight” rafting, but these should only be done with well-experienced companies and guides.  Rafting in a pitch-black river can be kind of creepy!

Whitewater Rafting in Thailand

Choose a good life jacket – ALWAYS wear a life jacket and helmet.  Your life jacket should feel comfortable –not too big and not too small.  It shouldn’t reduce your movements’ flexibility.

Always have a good grip – Feel comfortable where you are sitting and know how you can get a good grip (with your hands and feet).  The ride will most likely be jumpy and you don’t want to fall all the time, right?

Float feet forward – If you get to fall in the water, when possible, do try to jump back into the raft; if not, float with your feet forward.  Your feet should float right at the “top” of the water, this will prevent them from getting stuck between rocks or injuring yourself.  Let yourself go with the current and NEVER try standing in the river.

Whitewater Rafting in Thailand

These are some of the most important tips you should follow in order to have a successful, safe, and thrilling whitewater rafting experience.  Go on and try it, the thrill and adrenaline will make you want to do it again!

Do you know of any other tips? Share it with us…


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  1. Rafting in Rishikesh says

    Rishikesh has become a main hub of river rafting in Rishikesh, North India. It’s an adventure sport best enjoyed with expert rafters and trainers staying at a white sand beach next to the river. It’s one of the much loved destinations of every adventure fan and rafting down the mighty Ganges is every adventure seekers dream come true.
    White Water Rafting in Rishikesh along Kodiyala, Marine Drive, Shivpuri and Bhrampuri lure adventure water sports lovers of all grades offering rafting tracks of different grades and interesting rapids like Golf 3 Blind Mice, Course, Roller Coaster, Return to Sender and many more. Rishikesh has earned the heading of the river rafting capital of India.

  2. Sam says

    I’m an avid rafter, and I think it’s really important to pack the proper items too! I always make sure to pack the necessary items, but I used to forget sunscreen, extra water, and polarized sunglasses, which help with the glare from the water!

  3. Robert Malone says

    Adrenaline rush are about to explode. There are lots of safety tips that rafters must posses before they go on wild cruise adventure. I never raft in wild river in my life but I was planning to have an awesome adventure like this. The tips that this post have are very important and reliable and I can use that whenever I have a chance to do rafting as well.

  4. Margarette says

    Thanks a lot for all of the tips,my brother did a rafting last month and we plan to do it also next month maybe.I’ll keep this in my mind. Thanks!!

  5. Savannah says

    Thanks for sharing this. Actually, we are planning for a really challenging adventure-the water rafting.I never raft in wild river in my life and i’m afraid. Anyway, thank for the tips.

  6. says

    I really want to try water rafting coz it looks adventurous .. i will plan for it next month with my friends .. thanks for sharing this post. And also thanks for the tips !

  7. Kathy says

    I really want adventures but sad to say I don’t have enough friends to guide and bond together.

    Anyways, It makes useful to me to read this blog so that I know how to deal this adventure.

  8. says

    Thanks for the great tips. I’d imagine it is a good idea for anyone to refresh themselves with the safety tips each time they go as the reflex to try and stand up is a natural reaction and you might not be thinking straight when you are full of adrenalin. Cheers.

    • says

      You’re right, Lewis. When the adrenaline is rushing, we might not think as “clear” and tend to go with natural instincts like standing up… but knowing these tips can help prevent that.

  9. Ashley Reed says

    I didn’t know that you were supposed to float with your feet forward, that’s good to know. I’m going river rafting for the first time next week, and I’m sure I’ll fall out at some point. I think it will be a lot of fun to go out with my friends and experience this, thanks for all the helpful tips!


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