Frequently Asked Questions
What do we wear?
In the warmer summer months, a lightweight t-shirt, a pair of shorts, and an old pair of sneakers or wet suit booties are best. Loose fitting sandals, flip-flops, “crocs” or bare feet are not permitted. Snug fitting sandals (like Tevas) that attach firmly at the toe and heel are acceptable, but don’t offer the same foot protection against sharp rocks as old sneakers do. Don’t forget the sunscreen and eyeglass straps! Avoid wearing cotton; when wet, cotton loses all insulation value and will make you colder, not warmer. You may also choose to wear a windbreaker or a wool sweater and/or a ski-type hat on cooler days. Make sure you bring a dry change of clothes with you – because yes, you will get wet! A baseball cap, visor, or sunglasses are helpful in bright, sunny weather.
In colder conditions (Spring and Fall), you should plan on wearing a wetsuit. You may bring your own, or you can rent one at our Adventure Center. A bathing suit or synthetic long underwear can be worn underneath.
Lehigh, Hudson, & Black: Wet suits and waterproof paddling gear can be rented at the rafting center. Rental fee at the Lehigh River is $20 for full wet suit package; or $6 for jacket; $6 for pants; $5 for booties and $3 for mittens. At the Hudson River, wet suits are included in your trip fee.
What safety equipment do you provide?
A personal flotation devise (PFD) is issued to every participant. These must be worn and buckled at all times while on the river. For cold or rainy days, wet suits are available. These can be rented at the Rafting Center before you head to the river. Helmets are also available at the Rafting Center, at no charge. These are mandatory on our more challenging New York rivers. Though infrequently needed, a first aid kit is carried on every trip.
What can we bring?
In the raft, bring as little as possible. If there is medication you might require, keep it with you on the river. Towels, dry clothes, valuables, and other than waterproof cameras should be left locked in your car.
On the Lehigh River bring a light lunch or your can purchase a lunch from our snack bar. You can order and prepay for lunches with your reservation, in which case a lower price applies. (On warm summer days, we recommend you bring a small ice pack or frozen water bottle(s) to place in the water-tight lunch container inside your raft). Lunches are available at no cost, on weekdays, with our Family Style Whitewater Trip.
On the Hudson and Black Rivers bring a candy bar or light snack.
Cameras: You will need to be actively paddling through the rapids, so picture-taking in the whitewater sections is inadvisable. However there are many scenic and beautiful spots along each river. Action souvenir photos are available for purchase after your trip!
How do we get back at the end of the day?
Your vehicle will remain at our Rafting Center, and our free shuttle buses will take you to and from the river. On the Hudson, your trip ends at the Rafting Center so no shuttle is required at the end of the day.
How deep is the water?
River depths vary. Slow, calmer stretches of water tend to be those that are deeper. Faster, choppy water tends to be shallow, often 4 feet deep or less. Regardless of the depth, however, if you should find yourself overboard (this is rare) in fast moving water, the proper procedure is to float on your back, feet pointed downstream. Don’t attempt to stand until the water is less than 18 inches deep. A guide or nearby raft will assist you, or you may prefer to simply swim to shore.
Do I have to know how to swim?
Swimming ability is not required. Nevertheless, if you are especially apprehensive in or around water, you may want to consider one of our land-based adventures. Rafting, by its nature, places you on, in or around water most of the day. On all of our trips a personal floatation device (life jacket) is worn at all times. Safety equipment will not fit all shapes and sizes, so please consider this in planning your reservations. Also, please remember that whitewater rafting is an active sport that requires some exertion on your part. The larger the rapids, the better your physical conditioning should be.
How big are the rapids?
Rapids are rated from Class I (easiest) to Class V (most challenging). Class VI is considered to be not navigable without unreasonable risk of injury. Our easiest trips feature Class I or II rapids; others feature Class III, IV, or V whitewater. For specific information about each river check out our How to Choose section.
Are your trips guided?
Yes. All of our trips are guided. At the Lehigh, except for rare instances of very high flows (above 4000 cfs from the dam) our guides are in kayaks, escorting the group and helping out as needed. At higher flows above 4000 cfs from the dam, you can expect there to be a guide in every raft.
What do I do if I fall out of the raft?
Your first priority is to get back into the raft as quickly as possible. Grab onto the raft, or its carrying rope. Your raftmates should reach under your armpits and then lean backwards, helping pull you up and over the raft tube. You can help by kicking, just as if you were swimming. If you get separated from your raft, whatever you do, DO NOT STAND UP in moving water. The force of the water is powerful, even if only knee-deep. Instead, lie on your back, feet pointed downstream, and float through the rest of the rapids. Then in the next calm spot, you can swim back to your raft, or to whatever raft is closest.
Do I need experience?
No. All of our trips are guided and are appropriate for first timers. Be sure to check minimum age requirements, though. All of our trips start with a thorough safety discussion and include ample instruction before we hit the whitewater.
Do we have to paddle?
Rafting is a team sport, and one that involves navigating your raft through the rapids. This is not a float trip. You will be asked to paddle, and how much will depend on the intensity of each particular rapid. Whitewater rafting is an active sport that requires some significant exertion on your part.
How old must I be?
Minimum age for our easiest trips is 5. Other trips post minimum ages of 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14 and 16. Please refer to individual trip descriptions for specific minimum age requirements.
How do I decide which river to run?
Call our reservation office (800-443-8554) and we will guide you through your options. For youth groups, families and first timers, we generally recommend beginning with a trip on the Lehigh River, or a summertime trip on the Hudson River. For a more challenging adventure, select Our Premier Lehigh River trips on dam release dates, a summertime Black River trip, or a Springtime Hudson River trip. For very challenging whitewater, choose the Black River in May or early June, or the Hudson River in April or early May. Check out our How to Choose page for more information.
Can we tip our guide?
We strive to deliver top quality service. If your guide has met your expectations, you may feel free to show your appreciation.
Can we request a specific guide to be on our trip?
Yes, as long as you do so when you are making your reservation. We will try to arrange for this, but can’t guarantee it.
This is safe – right?
We are extremely proud of our safety record, which is unmatched in the industry. Our training programs are ongoing and we are committed to delivering the safest trips possible. However, as with any active outdoor sport, there are inherent risks to whitewater rafting and there are factors that are beyond our control. You will be asked to acknowledge this by signing a liability waiver form before your river trip.
You can read about us and our safety record here.