What Are the Dangers of White Water Rafting?

June 29, 2022 3 min read

The dangers of white water rafting are largely physical. If you fall into the water, even the strongest swimmers can become unconscious. Additionally, strong currents can cause your raft to flip over, causing you to drown. If you are not experienced with white water rafting, you should always consult an expert before embarking on this activity. If you are unsure about the risks of white water rafting, check out this article.


Overexertion while white water rafting is one of the top reasons that people end up dying during the activity. Unlike swimming or skiing, rafting requires you to stay in the water for long periods of time and expose yourself to extreme temperatures. In addition to these risks, the water of the river is often icy, which can cause hypothermia and other serious health problems. Additionally, prolonged exposure to cold water can affect general motor skills and blood pressure.

Getting into shape before a rafting trip is important for many reasons. A rigorous workout routine can quickly lead to fatigue and burnout, and regaining fitness momentum can be difficult. In addition to maintaining your overall fitness levels, white water rafting is a great way to strengthen your biceps, quadriceps, and deltoids. It will also firm your core muscle groups.


Before you embark on a white water rafting adventure, you should know what you're up against. Sunburn will ruin your rafting experience, and you don't have an aloe store or indoor bathroom to relieve your pain. Also, rafting footwear isn't necessarily waterproof, so you may need to reapply sunscreen throughout the day. Thankfully, there are several ways to prevent sunburn while white water rafting.

Wearing water shoes or good water shoes is essential. Sandals can easily fall out of the raft while paddling. Sunburn can also damage rafting equipment. It's always a good idea to try on your shoes before the trip to ensure they're comfortable. And don't forget sunscreen. A serious sunburn can ruin your rafting experience, so be sure to apply it frequently throughout the day.

Getting Stuck in a River Feature

While you're white water rafting, you may get caught in a hole. These holes form when a current passes over an obstacle, forcing it to recirculate downward. They're very dangerous because the water pressure can be very high and you may get stuck. Your raft can become wrapped in the water, and there's no way to get it off. If you're not familiar with the river features and their placement, you can ask your rafting guide about the dangers of getting stuck in a hole.

In addition to getting stuck in a vortex, you might get swept downstream. Luckily, you're able to avoid this hazard by weighing down the side of your raft that is experiencing the vortex. If you get stuck, you'll have to swim downstream and fight against the current to escape. You'll need to be able to swim downstream to a weaker edge.

Using Drugs or Alcohol

When white water rafting, avoiding the use of drugs and alcohol is crucial for your safety. These substances impair the physical capabilities, judgment, and reasoning that are critical for survival. In addition to impairing judgment, drugs and alcohol reduce one's ability to make informed decisions. While many people may argue that drugs and alcohol provide them with "liquid courage," it is essential to keep your mind clear to avoid any unforeseen circumstances.

While whitewater rafting and kayaking are considered adventure sports, it is still highly dangerous for those with medical conditions that can impair one's ability to swim, or to rescue themselves. If a participant has a heart condition, it is crucial that he or she disclose this before participating in the activity. Furthermore, if one is experiencing difficulty breathing underwater, using drugs or alcohol may significantly increase the risk of drowning.

Getting Stuck in a Rapid

There are a few steps you can take to prevent getting stuck in a rapid while white water rafting. The first step is to remain alert and watch the river. You should be aware of any sudden events and always stay alert to your guides. It is also crucial that you pay attention to any stray paddles or passengers. A guide can be invaluable during a rafting trip.

Once you're engulfed in the water, you should try to stay calm. Panic is not a good emotion and could lead to an error. Instead, try to concentrate on getting back into the raft. Don't stand in a rapid as this can cause your foot to get entrapped in the riverbed, resulting in you being pushed down into the water.

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