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White Water Rafting
By Hanna Nilson

White Water Rafting or Whitewater River Rafting can be both challenging and exciting. If you've ever been rafting before, you know how much fun it can be… that is, unless you're one of the unlucky few who might have experienced some difficulties. Yes, if it ever gets out of control, white water rafting can indeed be dangerous.

First of all, there are actually six different classes of White Water Rivers. These classifications help to identify qualifications and safety precautions. Rafters should be aware of the category of river(s) in order to be best prepared for the trip. For example, if you're relatively inexperienced, stick with the lower class's such as 1 through 3. For those who are more experienced and daring, well there's nothing wrong with thrill seeking, but don't be hasty! Even some of the most experienced extreme sports experts have been known to fall victim to white water river accidents.

Class 1: Very small rough areas, requires no maneuvering.
- Skill Level: None

Class 2: Some rough water, maybe some rocks, might require maneuvering.
- Skill Level: Basic Paddling Skill

Class 3: Class 3 White water rafting includes small waves, small drops here and there, but no considerable danger. This may require some significant maneuvering.
- Skill Level: Experienced paddling skills.

Class 4: White water, medium waves, maybe rocks, considerable drops, sharp maneuvering skills may be needed.
- Skill Level: White water Experience.

Class 5: White water, large waves, possibility of large rocks and hazards, possibility of a large drop, requires precise maneuvering.
- Skill Level: Advanced White water rafting experience.

Class 6: Class 6 rapids are considered to be so dangerous that navigation becomes literally impossible. Rafters can expect to encounter extensive white water, huge waves, huge rocks and hazards, and/or substantial drops that would damage your white water rafting equipment.
- Skill Level: Successful completion of a Class 6 rapid without serious injury or death is widely considered to be a matter of great luck or extreme skill.

Like most other river-water sports, including Kayaking and Canoeing, the risk level is increased both by environmental and behavioral factors. If you're relatively new to the white water rafting sport, you may want to consider learning some of the Basics first. Also, for your first few trips, it's advised that you take a guided tour or at least travel with a professional on board.

Despite the dangers, you may also find it useful to know that white water rafting has become safer over the years. Proficiency in white water rafting sports has increased, and the equipment has become much more specialized. This is true across the board so don't be intimidated! Outdoor water sports can be a great recreational activity for just about anyone. In fact, you may be surprised to know that conservationist and environmentalists alike have been known to encourage water sports such as white water rafting, Canoeing and Kayaking because it promotes a noninvasive approach to enjoying the natural wonders of White Water Rivers.

So, the next time you plan your water sport adventure, keep such FAQ's in mind, be safe and have fun!

Check your local Directory and Trip Resources for more information.

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