Rafting Participation Requirements

Nearly everyone can participate at some level on a whitewater rafting trip. However there are some rafting participation requirements for safety reasons only. Anyone with any medical conditions should consult with their physician.This includes but is not limited to:

  • Back Problems
  • Recurring injuries
  • Heart Condition
  • Poor physical shape
  • Currently taking serious medication

We request that our clients notify us in advance about any conditions that may affect anyone from being fully able to participate to ensure the enjoyment of all our guests. Many river trip put-ins, take-outs and campsites are not ADA-compliant.  This applies to private, state and federal lands.

Shuttle busses used on these river trips are not equipped for wheelchairs. If special vehicle accommodations are required, we will attempt to assist with shuttling private vehicles for rafting put-in and take-outs. However permits on some rivers restrict the parking/use of anything other than a company vehicle.

We have no specific weight limitation; however see below for maximum body sizes in order to fit into our PFD’s. However, we do recommend you inform us ahead of time if anyone in the party exceeds 300 pounds. For whitewater sports, PFD’s without a “heads up collar” attached are not permitted. At times of high water, additional criteria may be applied. 

Each participant must have the ability to: 

  • Wear all protective/safety equipment recommended/required by industry standards. This includes, but is not limited to helmets, and Personal Floatation Devices (PFD’s aka. life jackets) with all buckles fastened.
    • Our regular/adult universal PFD’s fit a torso circumference of 30-56 inches maximum. On Class 4 river trips these are likely to be the only PFD’s available, so for safety, youths should weigh at least 90 pounds and usual minimum age is 13 years.
    • On Class 3 river trips we can accommodate children from 50 pounds, chest size 24-29 inches as “youth” PFD’s will be available. Usual minimum age is 6 years or older at higher flows.
    • On Class 2 river trips we can accommodate children from 30 pounds, chest size of 20-25 inches as “child” PFD’s will be available. Usual minimum age is 4 years for safety.
  • Remain seated and balanced in a floating raft with the use of adaptive equipment, if necessary. Adaptive equipment cannot impede or lessen the effectiveness of the safety procedures or equipment. No one may be strapped or belted into a watercraft.
  • Be able to spend long periods of time in outdoor environments, where the air temperature can exceed 100 degrees F and the water temperature may be below 55 degrees F. During the trip there may also be exposure to wind, precipitation, and uninterrupted sun.
  • Be able to remain adequately hydrated, fed, and properly dressed so as to remain generally healthy and be able to avoid environmental injuries such as hypothermia, heat-related illness, sunburn and frostbite
  • Enter and exit the raft and shuttle vehicles independently or with assistance of a companion*.
  • Be able to effectively signal or notify guides or other trip participants of personal distress, injury or need for assistance
  • Get out from under the watercraft, remain face up in the water with the aid of a personal flotation device (PFD/life jacket) and be able to make progress to safety if they enter the water.
  • Be able to make progress up or down varying degrees of incline independently or with assistance of a companion*.
  • Be able to breathe independently, not require medical devices to sustain breathing
  • Be able to effectively signal or notify guides or other trip participants of personal distress, injury or need for assistance
  • If taking prescription medications, be able to maintain proper dosage by medicating independently or with the assistance of a personal care attendant or staff member
  • For overnight trips, be able to move about the campsite independently or with the assistance of a companion*.
  • Be prepared to participate in activities that may require physical ability beyond what many people are accustomed to in their day-to-day lives.
  • Be comfortable traveling in relatively remote areas where access to advanced medical care may be significantly delayed
  • Follow verbal and/or visual instructions from the guide. Participants may have a companion* to assist with commands on certain river trips. Those that cannot follow verbal commands but can follow visual actions must be seated behind someone that can follow those instructions. This will enable them to be able to visualize the required actions. Accommodations can be requested in advance for oar assisted craft when available and only if suitable for maneuvering on the requested trip. On more challenging Class 4 trips it will normally be necessary for the safety of the group that at least 50% of participants in each raft are able to respond to the guide commands without interpretation.
  • On Class 5 river trips must have excellent swimming skills. A Class 5 swim test may be administered prior to launching which would include being able to swim in a strong current, under the raft, and being able to get back in a raft unassisted.

* Tributary employees may be able to assist participants in most circumstances. If a participant needs assistance with certain personal care needs, a companion should also accompany them on the trip. Personal care needs may include, but are not limited to: toileting, eating, taking medicines, dressing and generally maneuvering on unpaved surfaces.

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