How Dangerous Is White Water Rafting?

How Dangerous Is White Water Rafting

White water rafting is generally safe but you do have about a 1 in 558 chance of being injured from it. With these numbers, it’s safe to say that for the vast majority, white water rafting can still be a fun and engaging activity. However, that doesn’t mean you have to be reckless.

Keep in mind that white water rafting is still an extreme sport. That means that the risks of injuries and fatalities are still there. So long as you wear the right gear to do white water rafting and you take the right routes, you shouldn’t have to worry about these dangers.

One of the ways to be safer while out rafting is to be more informed about the activity and it’s dangers.

How Dangerous Is White Water Rafting?

As stated, white water rafting isn’t completely safe. While the activity does pose a little threat to people, it’s far less than what you would expect from other extreme sports.

White water rafting gives you a 1 in 558 chance of being injured. That amounts up to a 0.18% chance of you being injured while doing the activity. On the other hand, rock climbing gives you between 10% and 81% of being injured. That’s irrespective of the cause.

When it comes to fatalities, you have a 1 in 100,000 chance of dying from white water rafting which is 0.001%. In rock climbing, you have a 1 in 1,775 chance of dying which translates to 0.06%.

Both are very low figures if you look at them. Various reasons affect the injuries and fatalities that can happen in white water rafting. Now that you know how dangerous – or not dangerous white water rafting is, it’s time to tackle the sorts of problems you might face.

What Are The Dangers Of White Water Rafting?

What Are The Dangers Of White Water Rafting

First, it’s vital that you understand exactly what white water rafting is.

One of the world’s most popular river-based activities is white water rafting. You along with a group of people traverse rushing rivers on a raft. With proper teamwork and technique, you’ll be able to pass through the river with ease while taking in the sights around the area.

People all over the world partake in white water rafting. The steps taken by the organizers of the tours minimize the dangers.

Now that you know what white water rafting is, what are some of the dangers – or some of the things you should look out for?

  1. Drowning – This is the no. 1 danger when it comes to white water rafting. It’s not about the depth of the river, it’s about how strong the currents are. If you go overboard the raft, there’s a chance that the force of the water is strong enough to pull you down. The good news is that with life jackets and straps at the raft, the chances of drowning remain low.
  1. Hypothermia – This happens when your body reaches extremely cold temperatures. This of course happens mostly during the winter. You can counter hypothermia by wearing the appropriate gear which provides insulation while white water rafting.
  1. Overfatigue – White water rafting might seem simple and easy but it’s physically demanding. Exhaustion and pre-existing injuries make it harder to move at your best. Don’t raft if you have these. You’re putting your fellow rafters at risk as well. By making sure that you are 100% healthy, you’ll be safer around your fellow-rafters as well.
  1. Rock collision – If the river’s rapids are too strong, it will be harder to control the raft. In cases like these, there’s a chance that your raft will collide with things like rocks, trees, and even cliff faces. While the collision’s impact can be absorbed by the raft, you can get minor injuries as well if you’re unlucky.
  1. Getting stuck in obstacles – The rivers used for white water rafting aren’t always a straight path. In fact, there will be sharp turns, rocks, and many other obstacles along the way. Be careful about it.

What Are the Chances Of Dying White Water Rafting?

While chances of injuries with white water rafting are already low, the chances of death are even lower. According to recent statistics, the numbers of deaths are as follows:

  • 1977 to 1986: 48 deaths
  • 1987 to 1996: 219 deaths
  • 1997 to 2006: 453 deaths
  • 2007 to 2016: 530 deaths

The numbers might seem large but you need to consider the fact that they come from worldwide cases. Moreover, there are millions of rafters per year as well. From a broader scope, the numbers are actually very small.

As you can see, the numbers per decade have been on the rise. However, we can attribute this to the fact that the sport is becoming more and more popular – hence, more people are trying it out.

Organizers of white water rafting activities continue to find ways to make the activity safer. These include finding better equipment, better routes, and even developing new techniques for safer rafting.

Is White Water Rafting Safe For Non-Swimmers?

The short answer is that, yes – it’s dangerous for non-swimmers to partake in white water rafting. Drowning is one of the leading dangers when it comes to white water rafting after all.

Read Post  Top 10 Reasons Why Rafting the Middle Fork of the Salmon River Is the Best Summer Adventure

Life jackets are provided during rafting trips. However, that will never be enough to keep you safe from drowning. If you get dragged by the currents and you have no idea how to swim, you’ll be put in great peril. Some currents are strong enough to drag you down to the bottom even with a life jacket.

As long as you follow the rules and you raft safely, being a non-swimmer shouldn’t matter too much while white water rafting. You’ll always be accompanied by people who can swim. Still, basic survival skills like learning how to float or to at least do a basic swimming stroke are a big plus.

White water rafting is a fun activity. It’s also a generally fun extreme sport. Try comparing it to other sports out there. Follow the rules at all times, wear the right gear, and take it seriously – doing these things let you minimize the risk.

You want to know the cost of white water rafting in the US? check our guide.

What is the most dangerous whitewater rafting in the world?

What is the most dangerous whitewater rafting in the world?

Whitewater rafting is literally one of the most exhilarating extreme sports I’ve ever participated in. I’m a frequent rock climber and skydiver, but there’s something about the whitewater rapids that gets my adrenaline churning.

Maybe it’s the gushing whitewater, majestic panoramic views, or the thrill of the rapid waiting just around the river bend. So I’ve compiled this list of the top 10 most dangerous whitewater rafting locations in the world, which wasn’t easy since there’s at least one “dangerous” rapid or river in every corner of the world.

I narrowed down this list to the places that are extremely dangerous but not secluded. Unfortunately, this meant removing famous rivers like the Ganga River in Rishikesh (India) – a famous sport for worldwide whitewater rafting competitions.

There are six classes of whitewater difficulty or “danger” – class 1 to class 6. Class 6 is considered a no-go for beginners based on the International Scale of River Difficulty (ISRD). Keep in mind that the Grand Canyon stretch of the Colorado River follows its own difficulty scale from class 1 to class 10.

That’s it for the book-ish info. Now let’s have a look at the rapids!

1. God’s House – Karnali River (Nepal)

Top 10 Most Dangerous Whitewater Rafting Rapids Globally

Karnali River

Rapid DifficultyClass IV – Class V
Popular Rafting LocationsKarnali River, Sunkosi River, Tamur River and 13 more!
Best Time of the YearEarly October
Other ActivitiesTrekking, Mountaineering, Skydiving, Rock Climbing, Canyoning

I figured if this list is gonna have rapids called Terminator and whatnot, I should start with an easier name first – The God’s House. You can’t have a successful whitewater rafting trip in Nepal without visiting the Karnali River.

It’s a famous spot for both beginners and experts – with thousands of tourists swarming this beautiful place in Western Nepal in October (the post-monsoon season). The Karnali river flows through a jungle and the Himalayan ranges and has rapids of classes 1 through 5.

God’s House is one of the many rapids on the Karnali River, but this class 5 rapid that goes through the narrowest parts of the river isn’t a place for newbies.

Cost Breakdown:

Flight from the US$894 – $1,119
Hotel Cost$12 – $200

2. Ghostrider – Zambezi River (Zambia, Africa)

Top 10 Most Dangerous Whitewater Rafting Rapids Globally

Zambezi River

Rapid DifficultyClass III – Class V
Popular Rafting LocationsStairway to Heaven, Gnashing Jaws of Death, Victoria Falls,
Best Time of the YearMay to August
Other ActivitiesCanyoning, Rock Climbing, Mountain Biking, Kitesurfing, Scubadiving

The wilderness of Zambia in East Africa is the second-best whitewater rafting location globally and the best choice for an extreme rafting trip outside the United States.

What separates it from other locations on this list, you ask?

First and foremost, the Zambezi River has one of the most dangerous rapids in the world – the Ghostrider. And it will stare into your eyes from the deep fall.

Second, the Zambezi river has not one but two extreme locations from this list, the second one being the Victoria Falls rapids. Other famous rapids such as Stairway to Heaven, Gnashing Jaws of Death, and Commercial Suicide (class VI rapids) are also in the area.

Third, you don’t have to go too far for other outdoor activities because Zambia’s majestic Zambezi River literally has it all.

Cost Breakdown:

Flight from the US$1,347 to $1,707
Hotel Cost$49 – $1,163

3. Terminator – Futaleufú River (Chile)

Top 10 Most Dangerous Whitewater Rafting Rapids Globally

Futaleufú River

Rapid DifficultyClass IV – Class V
Popular Rafting LocationsPuente a Macal, Puente a Puente, Azul a Macal, Río Petrohué (Puerto Varas)
Best Time of the YearDecember to April
Other ActivitiesHiking, Trekking, Skiing, Snowboarding, Surfing, Kayaking

I swear I’m not making up these names! And no, you won’t be greeted by Arnold here.

Futaleufú River in Northern Patagonia (Chile) is infamous among rafters for its three extreme whitewater rafting locations – Puente a Macal, Puente a Puente, and Azul a Macal.

It’s the perfect place for extreme sports enthusiasts because they get to experience 3 at the price of 1. It’s infamous because it’s considered the most challenging commercially run whitewater rafting location, even among the pros.

If that doesn’t satisfy you, try Terminator – the class V and extremely dangerous rapid on the Futaleufú River. Even its “cheat run” on the left river is longer and more challenging than most rapids; just imagine how majestic the real thing would be.

Cost Breakdown:

Flight from the US$461 – $653
Hotel Cost$40 – $250

4. Godzilla – Rio Upano River, Ecuador

Top 10 Most Dangerous Whitewater Rafting Rapids Globally

Rio Upano

Rapid DifficultyClass II – Class V
Popular Rafting LocationsRio Upano, Río Toachi, Río Mulaute, Río Blanco, Río Napo, Río Misahuallí
Best Time of the YearLate December to Early May
Other ActivitiesParagliding, Swing Jump, Ziplining, Canoeing, Suspension Bridges

Okay, this is the last of these weirdly scary names. Ecuador is famous among the rafters worldwide, not just for its various rivers but for the native culture as well. It might just be the thing missing from your next rafting trip.

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Ecuador has various popular whitewater locations ranging from classes 3 through 5 that are suitable for beginners and pros alike. Rio Upano River, or the “River of the Sacred Waterfalls,” runs deep in the Andes mountain ranges through jungles and canyons.

And, the infamous “Godzilla” rapid on Rio Upano takes it one step further. With 15-foot waves from both sides and a level V classification, Godzilla is no different from the infamous monster god from the movies. This, too, can shake the experience out of expert rafters.

Cost Breakdown:

Flight from the US$356 – $1,006
Hotel Cost$33 – $925

5. Rapida Della Segheria – Noce River (Italy)

Top 10 Most Dangerous Whitewater Rafting Rapids Globally

Noce River

Rapid DifficultyClass III to Class V
Popular Rafting LocationsSawmill Rapid, Noce River
Best Time of the YearMay to October
Other ActivitiesHiking, Flying (Ziplining), Kayaking, Scubadiving, Skiing, Paragliding

The Noce River is a must-go location if you’re ever backpacking in Europe. Italy’s Noce River (Il Fiume Noce) is divided into several sections and difficulties.

The top of the river, located in the Brenta Dolomite Mountains near Val di Sole in Northern Italy, is beginner-friendly with only class III rapids. The difficulty rises to class V as you go south and reach the Caldes village.

Further south is where you’ll find the most dangerous whitewater rafting rapid in all of Europe – the Sawmill Rapid (Rapida Della Segheria).

Cost Breakdown:

Flight from the US$534 – $687
Hotel Cost$22 – $1,017

6. North Johnstone River, Australia

Top 10 Most Dangerous Whitewater Rafting Rapids Globally

North Johnstone River

Rapid DifficultyClass IV and Class V
Popular Rafting LocationsTully River, Franklin River, Murray River, Barron River, Mitta Mitta River
Best Time of the YearApril to June
Other ActivitiesShark diving, Bungee jumping, Hand gliding, Adventure caving, Skydiving

The rivers in Australia are well-known in the whitewater rafting world. From over 45 class IV rapids in Queensland’s Tully River to the weirdly tricky rapids of the Murray River such as the Murray Gates, Sharks Tooth, Hole in the Head, Guides Mistake, and many more – Australia has rapids in bulk for you.

But there’s one that is more secluded than any other rapid in the world. The upper half of the 120-mile Johnstone River is only accessible by a helicopter, and is known for its class IV rapids and the oldest rainforests in Australia.

The best part is that it’s only 20 mins away from Cairns – the gateway city to the breathtaking Barrier Reef.

Cost Breakdown:

Flight from the US$4,330 – $4,966
Hotel Cost$96 – $202

7. Bidwell – Chilko River & Dipper Creek – Squamish Valley, British Columbia

Top 10 Most Dangerous Whitewater Rafting Rapids Globally

British Columbia Whitewater Rafting

Rapid DifficultyClass III – Class V
Popular Rafting LocationsStikine, Toby Creek, Kicking Horse River, Thompson River, Elaho River, Chilcotin River
Best Time of the YearMay to July
Other ActivitiesZiplining, Bungee Jumping, Kitesurfing, Rock Climbing, Caving

British Columbia is famous for having the largest collection of commercially-owned class IV rapids in the world. Bidwell, a 14-mile long class IV rapid on the Chilko River, is the longest commercially-owned whitewater rapid in North America. It’ll literally leave you gasping for breath.

Experts treat the Bidwell as the only training run before trying the infamous White Mile, located further down on the Chilko River. In comparison, the Dipper Creek in Squamish Valley isn’t as long as the Bidwell, but its crazy 40-feet drop will leave you holding on to dear life (and raft)!

Cost Breakdown:

Flight from the US$339 – $716
Hotel Cost$87 – $228

8. More Rapids Than You Could Go To, United States

Top 10 Most Dangerous Whitewater Rafting Rapids Globally

Deerfield River, United States

The U.S. is at the end because it’s impossible to choose one or two best rapids from the country. The United States is the best country you could go to for whitewater rafting in the world, thanks to the dozens of world-famous whitewater rapids here.

RapidLocation
Big Drops 2 and 3Colorado River
Lava FallsColorado River
Pillow RapidGauley River
Celestial FallsWhite River
Bull SluiceChattooga River
Section TwoLochsa River
Clavey FallsTuolumne River
Whirlpool Rapids GorgeNiagra River

The 8 rapids mentioned above are globally renowned class IV and V rapids that’ll give you the time of your life. US whitewater rafting also has much more to offer than just eight. Refer to my guide on the 10 best white water rafting locations in the US: Beginner to Advanced.

If you’re in the U.S., I suggest trying out any of the top 4 – you won’t regret it.

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I got into extreme sports about 20 years ago and am a die-hard adrenaline junkie. Just like in business, I choose my outdoor adventures based on how much they scare me. My goal is to share the lessons I’ve learned over the past couple of decades braving the unknown to encourage you to do the same.

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Elevated Adventurer is your go-to sherpa for all things adventure sports and outdoor exploration. Here you’ll learn everything you need to know about your favorite outdoor sports from rock climbing and scuba to skydiving and extreme sports.

How Dangerous Is White Water Rafting?

How Dangerous Is White Water Rafting

White water rafting is generally safe but you do have about a 1 in 558 chance of being injured from it. With these numbers, it’s safe to say that for the vast majority, white water rafting can still be a fun and engaging activity. However, that doesn’t mean you have to be reckless.

Keep in mind that white water rafting is still an extreme sport. That means that the risks of injuries and fatalities are still there. So long as you wear the right gear to do white water rafting and you take the right routes, you shouldn’t have to worry about these dangers.

Read Post  5 Best Rafting Trips Near Yellowstone and Grand Teton

One of the ways to be safer while out rafting is to be more informed about the activity and it’s dangers.

How Dangerous Is White Water Rafting?

As stated, white water rafting isn’t completely safe. While the activity does pose a little threat to people, it’s far less than what you would expect from other extreme sports.

White water rafting gives you a 1 in 558 chance of being injured. That amounts up to a 0.18% chance of you being injured while doing the activity. On the other hand, rock climbing gives you between 10% and 81% of being injured. That’s irrespective of the cause.

When it comes to fatalities, you have a 1 in 100,000 chance of dying from white water rafting which is 0.001%. In rock climbing, you have a 1 in 1,775 chance of dying which translates to 0.06%.

Both are very low figures if you look at them. Various reasons affect the injuries and fatalities that can happen in white water rafting. Now that you know how dangerous – or not dangerous white water rafting is, it’s time to tackle the sorts of problems you might face.

What Are The Dangers Of White Water Rafting?

What Are The Dangers Of White Water Rafting

First, it’s vital that you understand exactly what white water rafting is.

One of the world’s most popular river-based activities is white water rafting. You along with a group of people traverse rushing rivers on a raft. With proper teamwork and technique, you’ll be able to pass through the river with ease while taking in the sights around the area.

People all over the world partake in white water rafting. The steps taken by the organizers of the tours minimize the dangers.

Now that you know what white water rafting is, what are some of the dangers – or some of the things you should look out for?

  1. Drowning – This is the no. 1 danger when it comes to white water rafting. It’s not about the depth of the river, it’s about how strong the currents are. If you go overboard the raft, there’s a chance that the force of the water is strong enough to pull you down. The good news is that with life jackets and straps at the raft, the chances of drowning remain low.
  1. Hypothermia – This happens when your body reaches extremely cold temperatures. This of course happens mostly during the winter. You can counter hypothermia by wearing the appropriate gear which provides insulation while white water rafting.
  1. Overfatigue – White water rafting might seem simple and easy but it’s physically demanding. Exhaustion and pre-existing injuries make it harder to move at your best. Don’t raft if you have these. You’re putting your fellow rafters at risk as well. By making sure that you are 100% healthy, you’ll be safer around your fellow-rafters as well.
  1. Rock collision – If the river’s rapids are too strong, it will be harder to control the raft. In cases like these, there’s a chance that your raft will collide with things like rocks, trees, and even cliff faces. While the collision’s impact can be absorbed by the raft, you can get minor injuries as well if you’re unlucky.
  1. Getting stuck in obstacles – The rivers used for white water rafting aren’t always a straight path. In fact, there will be sharp turns, rocks, and many other obstacles along the way. Be careful about it.

What Are the Chances Of Dying White Water Rafting?

While chances of injuries with white water rafting are already low, the chances of death are even lower. According to recent statistics, the numbers of deaths are as follows:

  • 1977 to 1986: 48 deaths
  • 1987 to 1996: 219 deaths
  • 1997 to 2006: 453 deaths
  • 2007 to 2016: 530 deaths

The numbers might seem large but you need to consider the fact that they come from worldwide cases. Moreover, there are millions of rafters per year as well. From a broader scope, the numbers are actually very small.

As you can see, the numbers per decade have been on the rise. However, we can attribute this to the fact that the sport is becoming more and more popular – hence, more people are trying it out.

Organizers of white water rafting activities continue to find ways to make the activity safer. These include finding better equipment, better routes, and even developing new techniques for safer rafting.

Is White Water Rafting Safe For Non-Swimmers?

The short answer is that, yes – it’s dangerous for non-swimmers to partake in white water rafting. Drowning is one of the leading dangers when it comes to white water rafting after all.

Life jackets are provided during rafting trips. However, that will never be enough to keep you safe from drowning. If you get dragged by the currents and you have no idea how to swim, you’ll be put in great peril. Some currents are strong enough to drag you down to the bottom even with a life jacket.

As long as you follow the rules and you raft safely, being a non-swimmer shouldn’t matter too much while white water rafting. You’ll always be accompanied by people who can swim. Still, basic survival skills like learning how to float or to at least do a basic swimming stroke are a big plus.

White water rafting is a fun activity. It’s also a generally fun extreme sport. Try comparing it to other sports out there. Follow the rules at all times, wear the right gear, and take it seriously – doing these things let you minimize the risk.

You want to know the cost of white water rafting in the US? check our guide.

Source https://sportadrenaline.com/how-dangerous-is-white-water-rafting/

Source https://elevatedadventurer.com/what-is-the-most-dangerous-whitewater-rafting-in-the-world/

Source https://sportadrenaline.com/how-dangerous-is-white-water-rafting/#:~:text=As%20stated,%20white%20water%20rafting%20isn%E2%80%99t%20completely%20safe.,of%20you%20being%20injured%20while%20doing%20the%20activity.

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