Just How Dangerous Is White Water Rafting?

If you follow the media about accidents involving adventure pursuits, then at some stage you will see headlines about some fatality on a white water rafting trip. The media take on it will be full of drama and finger pointing. Does the media actually have a point? Just how dangerous is rafting?

When I started writing this article about how dangerous rafting is, I thought that it would be fairly easy to research the figures. What I did not anticipate was how difficult it was to source relevant information, and be able to compare that information to other sources and research.

While I have managed to source a good deal of information, both from within New Zealand and the USA, often the methodology has been very different. For instance, some data refers to incidents per user days, other data refers to incidents per million activity hours, while other still refers to incidents per participant.

The data I sourced was all available by researching on the internet, and included ACC figures in New Zealand, plus various studies both here and abroad.

  • To get around this I worked on the following assumptions:
    An “average” rafting trip would be two – three hours duration.
  • I have taken the figures at the higher end of injuries and accidents as being more typical due to under reporting (minor injuries In New Zealand do not have to be reported, though they must be recorded)

What Were The Results?

A Raft surfing in Pop Up Rapid in the Grade 5 section of the Rangitikei River, New Zealand

To put all the results in perspective I used a benchmark of injuries and fatalities per 100,000 people, which is the approximate number of people who go white water rafting in New Zealand each year. There is little data available on the Grade of rapid in which any incidents occurred.

Injuries of all types – the range here was from 106 to 179 injuries per 100,000 participants. Of those injuries, approximately 8 per year are deemed as being serious harm – typically some sort of fracture. Half of all injuries occurred in the raft, from paddles and the like, while half occurred outside the raft.

Fatalities – of the injuries deemed to be serious harm, on average 1 per year since the beginnings of the rafting industry in 1978 has resulted in a fatality.

To put that in perspective, that 1 per year is 30 deaths for the over 3 million people who have rafted since the beginnings of the commercial rafting industry in New Zealand.

How Do These Figures Compare To Other Countries?

To get comparative figures is close to impossible, however from some American research I managed to find, these figures would appear to be fairly typical.

In fact one American study that used distance traveled on a raft as its base unit of comparison estimated that it was up to 100 times more dangerous to travel in a car on any given distance than what it was to be on a raft. Of course another study refuted that and said that rafting on a distance covered basis was 3 times more dangerous than traveling in a car.

How Does Rafting Compare To Other Adventure Activities?

How rafting compares to other activities is very hard to pin down. The big four as far as the number of injuries reported in New Zealand are Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, Hiking (Tramping) and Surfing.

The comparative injury rates for these activities on a 100,000 participants basis are:

  • Horseback Riding – 2860 injuries
  • Mountain Biking – 1480
  • Surfing – 1110
  • Hiking/Tramping – 760
  • White Water Rafting – 179

I would not read too much into these figures however, as what we don’t know is how many hours each participant was engaged in that activity – unlike rafting where the average river trip is only 2 -3 hours. For instance, horseback riding includes commercial tours and recreational riding. Many recreational riders may ride for several hundred hours each year, but still be viewed as only one participant. The same logic applies for all the other categories.

Having Done This Research, Can I Contend That Rafting Is Safe?

I would have to say that after all my reading, and my own close on 30 years experience, that rafting is NOT safe in the sense that safe means NO likelihood of any injury or harm.

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You do have a small chance of being injured on a rafting trip, about 1:558 and a 1:100,000 chance of being a fatality.

This means that for the vast majority of people, rafting is simply a great fun adventure.

Rafting not just about big white water. Here is a family having fun on an overnight trip.

How Do You Ensure You Stay Safe If Going Rafting?

There are a few simple things you can do to help keep yourself safe once you have decided on taking part in a rafting adventure.

These simple things are:

  • Choose a Grade of river appropriate for your physical fitness – higher grades are generally more demanding, though you may actually do more paddling on a lower Grade River.
  • Be honest with yourself about your physical limitations
  • Listen carefully to your guide’s on the bank briefing and on the river instructions. Do your best to follow those instructions.
  • Make sure that you wear your safety equipment, mainly helmets and life jackets, at all times while on the water, and that they are securely fastened.

The Most Fun You Can Have With Your Clothes On

Rafting is not 100% safe, and that is the way it will always be. In saying that, rafting is a fun and exhilarating adventure, which you should not miss.

Newspapers and the media love to sensationalise adventure accidents, and white water rafting is no exception. However the reality is, is that your chances of being a statistic are very small. Go ahead and have some fun white water rafting on a river.

If you are ready for an exhilarating Grade 5 trip, River Valley Rafting offers one of the best half day, grade 5 white water rafting trips in the world. On all our rafting trips we provide you with full safety equipment – helmets, life jackets and wetsuits. We believe our guides are some of the best in the business, all highly skilled and participating in regular safety, rescue and first aid training. Our guides will do everything they can to minimise risks so you can enjoy your time on the river knowing that you are in safe hands.

This blog post covers further questions about white water Rafting in New Zealand and the types of trips on offer.

About the Author:

Brian Megaw guided his first rafting trip in 1986. Over the years he has rafted in Africa, the USA, Switzerland and India, though not always as a guide. He is passionate about the white water rafting industry and can still often be found out on a river somewhere.

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Drench yourself, feel the adrenaline rush by enrolling yourself with us for River Rafting at Kolad. We, River Rafting Kolad, organize this activity in the Kundalika river where our well-trained and experienced staff takes you to the thrills and excitement of Kundalika Rafting ensuring 100% safety. Safety instruments such as Helmets, Life Jackets and Paddles for river rafting kolad will be provided to every participant. Our Guides will be present on every raft. They are responsible for taking you to the delights of rafting throughout the session. Our main focus is to provide you an experience which will make you fall in love with river rafting.
We also provide various packages related to River Rafting kolad. If you did not find what you were seeking, please feel free to share your requirement. We will not disappoint you as we also provide customized kolad rafting packages depending on your needs. Please visit our package section or contact our executive to know the exact details of the same.

All that you should know about Kolad River Rafting

  • Kolad Rafting is available 365 days i.e. throughout the year.
  • Prior River Rafting booking is compulsory. On the spot, bookings not allowed.
  • Once you are done with Kundalika River Rafting booking, Please follow kolad river rafting address to reach on time.
  • Kolad river rafting booking Contact Number – 86525 09851 (Mr. Ravi)
  • Official Rafting Website – www.riverraftingkolad.in
  • Kolad river rafting timings slot – 7:45 AM (only one slot in a day), Two slots during monsoon season.
  • Paid parking is available at start time and one has to take auto to return back to the start point. 8 seater auto charges INR 1000 per auto.
  • Age criteria – 14+ year allowed.
  • Weight criteria – 40 – 120 Kg (one should be able to fit in the lifejackets)
  • Kundalika Rafting is done in Kundalika River which is dam controlled river.
  • White water rafting in Kolad have amazing 12 rapids of easy grade II & III wherein grade 10 is considered as most risky.
  • Weekday Water rafting price is always less compared to the Weekend White water rafting.
  • During Kolad Rafting, one covers almost 12 Km in 2 hours time.
  • Non Swimmer can participate in the rafting activity.
  • Kolad is small town located on Mumbai-Goa highway.
  • Pune to Kolad Distance via Tamhini Ghat – 120 km
  • Mumbai to Kolad Distance – 110 km
  • Lonavala to Kolad Distance – 80 Km (Time 2 Hours)
  • There are many Resorts and Hotels in Kolad for overnight stay. Range of options from luxury A/c Wooden Villa to cheap rooms and tents stay available.
  • Kolad Adventure package includes awesome adventure activities – Zipline, Burma Bridge, Commando Net, Tunnel Crossing, Trust walk etc.
  • Fun Facts – BBQ, Swimming pool and Booz combination chosen by most of the customer in the last year.
  • Kolad Resort Facts – We served at least 1 corporate every weekend which includes Stay, Kundalika Rafting and Team building games.
  • One has to face fluctuating network issues due to forest area.
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Are you looking for some spine-chilling adventure? Are you a water baby looking to splash yourself in exciting waters? Then we say you have come to the right place. Maharashtra has its very own Land of Adventure in Kolad, where the beautiful Kundalika River flowing through the valleys and hills of Sahyadri ranges, hence the name Kundalika Rafting. This gushing water flowing through Kolad makes it an ideal spot White water rafting. Apart from Kundalika white water rafting, this region is also pretty popular for Kundalika valley treks. In short, this place is a haven for adventure seekers.
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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.

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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://rivervalley.co.nz/how-dangerous-is-rafting/

Source https://www.riverraftingkolad.in/

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

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