Whitewater rafting on the Ocoee River brings the adrenaline rush of a lifetime. While you push through rapids and roaring waters, you create unforgettable memories with friends and family. Rafting is a great adventure for anyone, especially when you’re well prepared. If you’re planning your first whitewater rafting trip, you’re probably wondering what to expect. Here are 10 tips to help you prepare for your first whitewater rafting adventure.

Tip #1 Research your destination

Before you plan your whitewater rafting getaway, it’s important to research where you’re going. It’s helpful to learn what the rapids are like and how to read water levels to ensure your group will be prepared for the excursion on the water. Determine the difficulty level that your group is comfortable with to pick the best trip for your party.

Tip #2 Find a professional outfitter

There are several rafting outfitters along the Ocoee for you to book your trip. While searching for your ideal outfitter, remember to look for places with experienced guides, good reviews, and transparent information. Ask as many questions as you need to feel safe and secure during your first whitewater rafting ride.

Tip #3 Book your trip early

Once rafting season starts, reservations fill up quickly. It’s best to begin your research process sooner rather than later, so you can book your trip far in advance. Booking early also helps you get your ideal outfitter, trip length, and difficulty level.

Tip #4 Listen to your guide

Your guide is an expert that will ensure everyone stays safe while having a top-tier experience. Rafting guides are highly trained and regularly rafting on the river. Before your group gets on the water, the guide will explain what to expect during your ride, how to navigate through rapids, and how to execute safety procedures.

While you’re rafting, your guide may shout out instructions to prevent your raft from high-siding or the best way to paddle in certain spots on the river. Stay attentive during your ride so you don’t miss anything from your guide.

Tip #5 Wear your helmet and lifejacket properly

During your ride, you are required to wear a helmet and lifejacket. Even if you feel comfortable without this protection, it is necessary you keep them on. Make sure both devices feel secure and comfortable before you get in the raft. Talk to your guide if you need assistance.

Tip #6 Stay hydrated

Rafting is a vigorous physical activity, usually in the summer heat. Before you arrive, drink plenty of water, and bring a water bottle to take on the raft.

Tip #7 Review this packing list

  • You don’t need to bring too much to be prepared for your rafting trip. However, here are a few items you don’t want to forget:
  • Secure footwear that can get wet
  • Bathing suit or comfortable clothing that can get wet
  • Water bottle
  • Secure eyewear
  • Towel
  • Dry clothes for after the trip

Tip #8 The fewer electronics, the better

Whitewater rafting is a time to disconnect and enjoy the water and nature around you. We recommend leaving the headphones behind and bringing an open mind instead. However, we suggest bringing a camera so you can capture nature’s beauty when you get the chance.

Tip #9 Always keep your hand on the T-Grip

The end of the paddle that doesn’t go in the water is called a T-grip. It is important that you always have a hand on the T-grip during the ride. If you don’t properly hold your paddle, the T-grip could seriously injure you or another passage if it hits your face. When you keep your hand on the T-grip, it helps you keep control of the raft while in the water.

Tip #10 Teamwork is key

A successful whitewater rafting trip is a group effort. Everyone must paddle and work together to get through the rapids and enjoy the water. Communicate with each other and pay attention during the entire ride.

Whitewater rafting is one of the most thrilling adventures you’ll find on the water. Visit the Ocoee River for your water expedition, and you won’t regret it. There are several rafting outfitters that are ready to guide you through your first or hundredth trip. Book your trip on the Ocoee River today!