If you’re looking for a different outdoor adventure, whitewater rafting can be a great option for you and the family. This is especially true if you’re planning a trip to Idaho. The state offers great whitewater rafting options to choose from, with varying degrees of difficulty. While this is an outdoor activity that’s fast becoming a mainstream (no pun intended) pursuit, there are a few safety precautions you’ve got to take before climbing aboard a raft.

Pick the Right Tour

If you’re going in a group, consider the level of the least experienced member. Don’t insist on upping the difficulty level of your tour until you’re sure everyone in your group has had enough experience. Always put the safety of others and yourself first. Take note of the levels of the International Scale of River Difficulty, and ask your guide what’s best for you and your group.

Wear the Right Clothing

Dress not only for the conditions, for also for the season; if it’s summer, you can wear shorts and have your bathing suit as your underwear. During spring, you can wear a wet suit or splash jacket. For footwear, wear river sandals or water boots. Never go barefoot or use footwear that can easily come off.

Avoid wearing or bringing:

  • Crocs, flip-flops, high heels, cowboy boots
  • Denim jeans, cotton shirts, cotton sweaters or hoodies, leather jackets
  • Any kind of clothing that’s tight and hampers movement
  • Jewelry, keys or anything that can snag onto or damage the raft
  • Smartphones, your wallet or other valuables

Wear a Life Vest

Before getting on the raft, always have your professional outfitter equip you with your life vest or Personal Flotation Device (PFD). Make sure that all the buckles are fastened and the vest fits securely, but is still comfortable. The fit of the vest must be just right so you’re able to breathe, and it can’t be pulled off over your head.

Wear a Helmet

Always, always, ALWAYS wear your helmet when going whitewater rafting. According to a study made by the US National Library of Medicine, 200 rafting injuries were recorded between 1995 and 1997. Among those injured, the body part that got the most injuries was the face at 33.3%, and of those facial injuries, 12.1% were to the face, 6.6% to the mouth, 4.5% to the face, and 4% were to the teeth.

Should you sustain any sort of injury while whitewater rafting in the area, there are emergency medical facilities in Boise and dental care facilities in nearby Meridian City.

Wear Sun Protection

wearing sunblock

Sunlight bouncing off the water can give off an intense glare that can strain your eyes after a while. Wear sunglasses with UV protection, and don’t forget to put on sunscreen, even if is cloudy. The rivers you’ll traverse will be in higher altitudes where the UV rays can be more intense.

Always Listen to Your Guide

Listen to your guide from the beginning until the end of your tour. Your guide will tell you all the safety tips you need to know, and the commands for bracing during rough waters, when to paddle and when to not paddle. Experienced guides know which stretches of water to look out for, so while on the river, keep your eyes open, listen for your guide’s instructions, and do exactly as you’re told. Doing otherwise could capsize the boat and endanger everyone on it.

Whitewater rafting in Idaho is an outdoor activity that’s gained popularity over the years. It’s definitely an adventure you should try at least once in your lifetime. Remember that keeping it fun is about keeping it safe. Follow all the safety precautions, and you can always be sure of an enjoyable, exciting, and worry-free experience.