So, you are looking for a way to get off the couch and into nature, to take advantage of the nice weather, and the awesome Oregon rivers —whitewater rafting makes perfect sense. Only, you are a little worried about how safe of an activity it is, and wonder what to expect.

Oregon river rafting trips can be suitable (and a ton of FUN) for everyone, aged five and up, and all skill levels. The trick is simply to be prepared, and know the golden rules of safety. There was a time when whitewater rafting was considered a dangerous sport for extremists and nature enthusiasts, but the truth is the sport has gone mainstream and can be enjoyed by anyone looking for a taste of adventure.

As a premier rafting trip company,High Desert River Outfitters (HDRO) is all about providing clients with a positive experience, so we’ve put together a list of 5 tips that will make a pro out of any potential rafter.

1.        Choose a professional rafting outfitters

The first step in planning your river rafting trip is finding a licensed company that can guarantee you guides with professional experience and safety training. Qualified guides can help you plan a safe trip that matches your skill-level and optimize your day of adventure, accordingly. They will walk you through the trip with detailed guidelines to ensure you are armed with the knowledge, and gear, required to have a successful trip.

2.       Listen to your guide’s instructions

Your guide will give you specific details about your trip, point out any potential dangers and offer advice on how to avoid such dangers.  You will be told about safety measures, and be given tips on how to avoid trouble, and how to get out of it, so that you can rest assured that when you get on the water, you are ready for anything. This will make your trip less stressful, and way more enjoyable!

3.       Always wear protection

Lifejackets and/or personal floating devices (PFDs) come with every rental —use them! Although river rafting is generally a safe and fun experience, as with anything else, accidents can happen. Swimming techniques for whitewater rivers are a little different, and having a PFD is the surest way to avoid any unnecessary harm to anyone. You will also be wearing a helmet. Like riding a bike, safety should always come first.

4.       Know the techniques

Your guide can kindly offer you tips on how best to hold the paddle, how to avoid tipping  or flipping the raft, and how to swim in whitewater (if necessary). If you are a first-timer, you may be surprised by how much the raft rocks, the sensation of hitting rocks, or even become overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the whitewater itself. But don’t panic. If something doesn’t feel right, remember what your guide said, and follow those instructions. By the end of the day, you’ll feel like a pro and be ready to hit it all over again!

5.       Dress appropriately

You will get wet. It’s inevitable. Your trip will be that much more comfortable if you dress in clothes that you don’t mind getting wet. Beachwear, summer casual, water shoes; dressing appropriately will keep you in good spirits, and let you focus your attention on the fun at hand, and the amazing scenery.