Regardless of what the local meteorologist tells you, rain is always a real possibility when you're whitewater river rafting. This is partially due to the fact that most rivers wind down and through mountains, which can also blow over rain clouds with no warning. Some beginners naturally grow concerned when they're rafting down a river and notice a patch of dark skies. The good news, however, is that you can typically continue rafting through minor storms. Just follow the tips listed here to help improve your safety and comfort.
Tip #1) Maintain Your Balance
Common sense should tell you that rain, even when it's light, will increase the speed of the river; therefore, it's recommended that you maintain your balance with extra caution when rafting through the rain. The faster, wilder rapids can easily throw you out of the raft if you aren't careful. Be conscious of your surrounding and the upcoming rapids at all times.
Tip #2) Wear The Right Gear
Of course, you'll want to wear the right gear when it starts raining. As long as the waters aren't freezing, you can get by with a pair of shorts, t-shirt and sneakers. On top of this, you'll also need to wear a proper-fitting lifejacket along with a helmet. In the even that you fall out of the raft, this gear will help keep you safe and afloat.
Tip #3) Don't Go Alone
If there's even the slightest chance of rain, do not attempt to go whitewater rafting alone. As previously stated, rain intensifies the river, making it faster and more dynamic. This adds an additional level of danger to the hobby that some people may not be prepared for. Regardless of your skill level, never go rafting in the rain alone.
Tip #4) Stay Calm
The good news is that rainfall naturally forces the river levels to rise. So if you happen to fall out of your raft, there's less chance of you hitting a rock below the surface. Just remember to stay calm and keep both your legs and head above water until you reach the bank.
Tip #5) Watch For Mud-Rock
One of the biggest dangers of rafting in the rain is the possibility of mud-rock flow. When the water levels begin to rise, it 'may' force some of the rocks to slide off the river banks, creating a flow of dangerous mud rock. Keep your eyes looking not only down river, but also towards the banks so you'll know of any upcoming mud-rock flows.