How COVID-19 Has Affected Whitewater Rafting This Summer

Against the background of a round compass in a yellow inflatable boat rafting sit four men in helmets and life jackets. People are holding paddles and work together.

Whitewater rafting is a fun activity for you and the whole family. However, the current pandemic has changed what sorts of outdoor activities are and are not allowed. Let’s take a look at how COVID-19 will affect whitewater rafting this summer.

Social distance on the water

Just because you’re on the water doesn’t mean you can stop social distancing. As you likely know, it’s important to stay six feet apart from others at all times. Clearly, you’ll be within six feet of those on your raft. Therefore, the people on your raft should be family members of the same household. When you encounter other rafts, don’t get too close to them to make conversation. Stay a good distance apart and yell if you need to communicate. When you’re heading back to shore, don’t crowd along the beach and interfere with others. Treat the process like airplanes parking at a terminal; everyone takes their turn and nobody gets too close to one another. Remember, the best way to combat COVID-19 is by social distancing, so keep up your good practices while whitewater rafting.

Disinfect your raft

Between uses, it’s essential that you disinfect your raft. Even though it might seem like nobody else has come in contact with the raft, you never truly know. The last thing you want is to reuse the same raft that has been in contact with a carrier of the virus. Disinfect the raft with cleaners and sanitizing solutions. Here, you can kill two birds with one stone. After disinfection, lay the raft out in the sun to dry like you normally would. For your next trip, the raft will be good to go and free of any traces of the coronavirus. Even better, alternate rafts if you have a spare one. This will give the first raft ample time to rid itself of the virus while you enjoy the rapids with the second one.

Check whether rafting sites are open

Some states have been hit harder by the coronavirus than others. States that have been mildly affected are likely open for whitewater rafting. Just practice social distancing and you should be good to go for the most part. On the other hand, states that have been severely affected might not permit whitewater rafting at all. It really depends on how quickly the state is reopening. You’ll want to check the county’s website online to see what types of outdoor activities are permitted. Keep in mind that whitewater rafting is different than just visiting the river. It’s possible that a quick visit is okay, but rafting is not.

Limited numbers of rafters

For the sites that are actually open, there’s a good chance that the river will be limiting the number of whitewater rafters allowed at one time. There’s nothing worse than getting to the site and finding out that there’s a huge crowd and line to get in the water. You’ll definitely want to scope out things beforehand and see how busy the river is. If you go on a weekday morning, you’ll likely have a better chance at rafting than if you go on a weekend afternoon. Think about when tourists are most likely to be rafting and plan your schedule around that. For private rafting locations, you can probably make a reservation ahead of time. This is a very good idea. As we all know, these times are full of uncertainty. You should jump at every opportunity to make things certain when possible.

In conclusion, COVID-19 will have a large effect on whitewater rafting this summer. It largely depends how the pandemic plays out, but there’s no doubt that there will be more restrictions than normal. Before heading out to the river, make sure your rafting falls within rules and regulations.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.