Three Safety Basics All Beginning Whitewater Rafters Should Know

If you've never been whitewater rafting before, be prepared to fall in love with this incredible sport. You'll see pristine wilderness areas, experience the thrill of the power of the water, make new friends, and create a lifetime of memories. You'll get even more out of the experience if you get off to a good start on your journey with whitewater rafting by cultivating solid safety strategies. You probably already know that you'll be required to wear a personal flotation device and a helmet when whitewater rafting, but there are some safety tips that aren't so obvious. Following are three safety basics about whitewater rafting that every beginner needs to know.  

Use Sun Protection

Coming down with a blistering sunburn as a result of spending the day outdoors on the water is a sure way to cloud what would otherwise be wonderful memories. Invest in a good sunscreen product and reapply it often. Some rafters and other outdoor enthusiasts who are particularly prone to skin damage from the sun or who may be at elevated risk for the development of skin cancer may want to supplement their sunscreen regime with clothing containing built-in UV ray protectorates. 

Hold the Paddle Right

Always keep one hand over the end of the paddle. Commonly called the 'T-grip,' the end of the paddle is made out of hard plastic that can cause significant pain and injury if it hits you in the facial area, so pay close attention to keeping control of your grip. Your other hand should firmly grasp the paddle at the base of the shaft. Don't be embarrassed to ask your guide for a personal demonstration of how to hold the paddle if you're unsure. 

Keep Your Feet Up if You Go Overboard

Staying in the raft should be among your top priorities while enjoying a whitewater rafting trip, but there are times when you may find yourself in the water no matter how well you've braced yourself. In the event that this occurs, keep your feet up as much as possible. This may be difficult because your first impulse will be to try to gain solid footing. However, doing so runs the risk of one or both of your feet becoming trapped in a rock. For more information on how to have the best possible whitewater rafting experience as a beginner, contact your whitewater rafting professional at your earliest convenience.