Types of Rafts and Safety Equipment Used in White Water Rafting

safety equipment

White water rafting is most described by words such as exhilarating. Admittedly, rafts are famous and simple watercraft that you can use for outdoor recreational activities. However, if you have attended a guided rafting trip, you might have noticed that there are various rafts. In this case, rafts make the adventure, but while you have fun, you need to remember safety is also critical. Read this article to find out the most common types of rafts you can rent for your water experience and the necessary safety equipment.

Paddle boats

In a paddle raft, all the passengers have paddles, and a guide provides steering and commands. These rafts can accommodate between 4 to 8 people who sit at the sides of the rafts. Most rafters enjoy using paddle rafts since they can participate and travel as passengers while the guide or captain offers them instruction for navigating the water. However, different organizations offer varied paddle boats. For instance, Calgary Raft Rentals offers an inflatable 14-foot paddleboat, since it is quick in water and users can safely use it at most whitewater levels. Notably, the best paddle rafts tend to be stiff, meaning they do not fold. That makes it easier for the passengers to hold their positions while using a raft.

Oar boats

Oar rafts can accommodate between 3 to 5 people and are suitable for water adventures with limited participation. The rafts are equipped with powered oars, and a trained guide controls them. However, these rafts are not common, since most rafters enjoy navigating with a boat. The seat of the oar boat is a slant board or a tractor seat. The guide sits at the center while maneuvering the raft. Notably, these boats are great and agile for rocky low volume water. However, they perform poorly in large water bodies, especially when knocked down by waves.

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Rig raft

Manufacturers design rigs by joining together several pontoons with transom frames. These are the largest crafts that are used in rafting. This kind of boat has an in-built engine, meaning it does not require rowing. The rig raft has an extensive size that enables it to accommodate several passengers. Further, it offers memorable experiences, especially for long journeys since it can reach high speeds.

Personal safety equipment

Life jacket

Although it can be impractical to undertake white water rafting without oars and rafts, a life jacket is one of the critical flotation devices you need to have. The life jacket will ensure your safety since white water rivers have high speeds. Fortunately, most rafting rental organizations provide clean, comfortable, and white water-rated floatation devices for all trips.


You can enjoy white water rafting on large rivers near you. However, most such rivers have underneath objects such as jagged and sharp rocks. Therefore, a helmet can protect your head if you fall into the river.


Most of the rafting trips occur during the summer season. That means you might experience a sunny day while you raft. Exposing your eyes for an extended period to the sun can contribute to severe injuries. Therefore, you need to avoid that by wearing sunglasses.


If you are going on long rafting trips, you will paddle the raft for several hours. However, if you are not used to paddling, you can suffer from blisters. The gloves can also help in keeping your hands warm.

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