Whitewater Rafting Difficulty Ratings
Whitewater rafting can be a fun and welcoming adventure for the entire family. However, before you go jumping into some of the world’s most extreme river rafting trips, it is important to understand your skill level.
The levels of difficulty can range from an easy family-outing to advanced competition. One of the main aspects of whitewater rafting is the sense of teamwork established through working together in the navigation of the river. Like all sports, there are some risks when it comes to rafting. Without the proper skills, training, and safety precautions, you can quickly find yourself in dangerous situations on a rafting trip.
One of the best ways to make sure rafters don’t get in over their heads is to be aware of the difficulty ratings in whitewater rafting. Whenever someone participates in rafting, it is important for them to have a realistic idea of what to expect from their trip down the river.
River Rafting Difficulty Scale
The American Whitewater Association created the International Scale of River Difficulty to help travelers understand the difficulty of navigating river sections. The class scaling system does fluctuate often with seasonality, and water flow rate. Because of the seasonal changes, additional parameters of a plus and minus sign are tied onto the class to signal if it is on the upper or lower end of the difficulty class.
Class 1: Easy
Class 1 rivers may include some very small rough areas which require very little maneuvering. If you are a beginner rafter, this is a fun area to start. There are some small obstructions to avoid, but nothing too technical.
Class 2: Novice
This is also a good beginner class, as it requires some basic paddling and navigating skills. Included in this class is the possibility of rocks, rough water, and whitewater that will require some skilled maneuvering.
Class 3: Intermediate
Small drops and moderate waves are present in class 3 rapids. Without the proper gear and equipment, class 3 rapids can be dangerous, with their high-pressure water flow and obstructions.
Class 4: Advanced
A class 4 river will include whitewater, medium waves, with the possibility of rocks, a medium drop and sharp maneuvers may be required. The skill level required for class 4 is exceptional rafting experience.
Class 5: Expert
Class 5 rafting rivers will have whitewater, large waves, possible rocks and other hazards, large volume, and the possibility of a large drop. The skill level for a class 5 river is full mastery of rafting, since precise maneuvering will be required.
Class 6: Extreme and Exploratory Rapids
A class 6 rafting river requires a full mastery of rafting. Even with highly advanced skills in rafting, it is understood in this class that the river still may not be safe.
In a class 6 river run, the rafter will likely encounter very large rocks and large drops that will result in severe impact beyond what most whitewater rafting equipment can endure. The possibility of severe injury in a class 6 river is substantially higher than that of the lower classes.
Prepare for Your Rafting Trip
Along with personal flotation devices, helmets are an important safety feature. Wearing a helmet is a good safety practice, especially to protect from underwater obstructions in the case you are thrown from the raft.
Whether you are a beginner, or an advanced whitewater rafter, Canyon Voyages is your one-stop shop for your next adventure. Offering both gear rentals, and guided rafting trips we have everything you need to enjoy your Moab river rafting adventure.