IMPORTANT WHITEWATER SAFETY INFO

Whitewater paddling is an extremely dangerous sport with a high risk of death or serious injury. This website is designed to help you easily find the right stretch of whitewater to paddle based on your location and your paddling abilities, it does not have any information on current conditions or safety advisories for the location you select. You need to search for more info on the selected stretch of river before you go. Not having the latest information about a paddling area is extremely dangerous and may cause death or serious injury. 
Always wear a helmet and a lifejacket on the river.


BASIC FEATURES OF A WHITEWATER STREAM

EDDIES
Eddies are areas right behind large obstructions in the river such as large rocks where the current is very slow or even slightly backwards. These are great places if you need to stop in the middle of a rapid for some reason. eddie

HUMPS AND HOLES
A hump forms over a large submerged rock as the water is forced up over the rock, the water on a hump is flat and dark and quite shallow. You could easily scrape the bottom of your boat against the rock if you pass over a hump. Often times there is also a hole right after the hump. A large hole can easily suck a person down and spit him back up a few yards downstream, kayaks and rafts often get stuck in holes. If you get stuck in a hole calmly but forcefully paddle downstream until you get loose. If you get sucked down don't panic, you'll probably pop up again in a few seconds a few yards downstream, but not for sure, you could get stuck in something under the water, or you could get your foot stuck in something on your boat which may be stuck in the hole and not coming with you. Many beginners quit after having a traumatic experience with a hole. Very skilled boaters like to play around in these holes but unless you are an expert you should try to avoid holes at all cost, always keep an eye open for humps and paddle around them. hole

CHUTES
A chute is the easiest way through a rapid, look for "V" shapes pointing downstream, the best way through a rapid is along the tips of the V's. But also keep an eye open for backwards V's, there's usually a rock at the tip of a backwards V. It is often easier to see a chute when you are downstream from it, so if you can't see the chute in the rapid and it's a rough rapid you may want to get out of your boat and walk downstream first to look at the rapid from there before running it. chute

STANDING WAVES
Standing waves usually form in deep water so there are usually no rocks to worry about. If there are rocks they tend to interrupt the smoothness of the wave so keep an eye out for that.


EMERGENCY ITEMS TO BRING

THINGS TO WEAR ON YOU.  

LIFE JACKET
No need to explain why. Make sure it has a whistle attached to it. If it doesn't, get a whistle and attach it to it.

HELMET
In case you fall in and hit your head on a rock. Without a helmet you might pass out and drown so always wear a helmet.

WATERTIGHT PACKAGE
These items need to be packaged in a way that they remain dry even when submerged in water, under pressure for some time. Since you don't need to get to these items normally you don't need to worry about easy access. Just squeeze all the items into a good quality strong plastic bag, (not the free ones you get at the supermarket) and seal it well with duct tape. Then squeeze the bag into a watertight plastic container to prevent punctures, then seal the container well with duct tape. If nothing bad happens you'll be keeping this package in your boat for all time so seal it well so you only have to do it once ever.

DRY CLOTHES
In case you have an accident and get stuck injured you need some dry clothes to keep warm.

DUCT TAPE
With a roll of duct tape you can make emergency repairs to your boat, paddles, and other equipment. You can also use it along with sticks to make a temporary cast for a broken limb.

RUBBING ALCOHOL
In a very small 1-2 oz bottle. Make sure it's sealed very tight so the alcohol won't spill. You can use rubbing alcohol for disinfecting wounds and starting a fire.

FIRE STARTER
You need some type of waterproof fire starter with you, we've included it in the waterproof package since they are so small they won't make much difference in the size of the package. There is a large variety to choose from at any camping store.

NOT WATERTIGHT
These items are ok to get wet but you need to keep them together so they don't get scattered. Put the stove in the pot and put the other items in the stove and put it all in a bag together with the watertight package containing all the dry items.

WOOD POWERED BACKPACKING STOVE
If you get injured you need to get warm fast with minimum effort, you may not have time or energy to collect wood for a fire so you will need a small wood stove like the Trailstove wood powered camp stove, a stove like that will warm you up with just a few small sticks of wood, you will also need it to boil water to drink to warm you up. Whatever stove you use it needs to be made of Stainless steel and have no moving parts, or electric parts. The Trailstove is the top (and only) choice for this purpose. The Trailstove also comes in handy if you want a hot meal or a hot cup of coffee in the middle of your trip.

SMALL POT
Either aluminum or stainless steel, to heat water to drink to get you warm fast. You can of course use the pot along with the stove to make hot meals or drinks during rest stops.

THIN ROPE
Amazingly useful for all kinds of things that could happen on the river. Always carry rope.

SIGNALING MIRROR
To signal to rescue planes or helicopters that are looking for you.

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