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Boating

How to Go White Water Rafting

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The feeling of gliding over the water with the cool breeze blowing across your skin and the melodic movement of the waves beneath your raft is breathtaking. White water rafting attracts extreme sports enthusiasts and adventure-seekers all the time with its exciting rapids and wild nature. It’s relatively simple to do, and there are offerings all around the country. But if it’s your first time going white water rafting, here are some tips that can help.

1. Pick an Appropriate Trip

Some rafting adventures are more advanced than others, with larger rapids and waterfalls. Choose a course that you’re comfortable with and that meets your adventure level.

2. Wear Sunscreen

Being out on the water and under the sky for long periods puts you in sight of the sun at all times. Even if the sky is cloud-covered, sunburn happens. Packing sunscreen and applying it before you set out on the water will save you from burns and later discomfort.

3. Have the Proper Clothes

What you wear matters. You don’t need to buy a fancy wetsuit, but you shouldn’t just wear a swimsuit either. With water, there’s always the chance of getting wet, so you want to wear something that will fit under your lifevest and also cover the skin. Long- and short-sleeve tee shirts are always good options. Be wary of cotton though, as once it’s wet, it can take a long time to dry.

Sneakers work if you’re in a pinch, and they’re better than flip-flops, but the best footwear options are sand shoes and strapped sandals.

Sunglasses will shield your eyes from the sun, but they can also easily fall off. If you decide to bring sunglasses, make them a pair you’re okay with potentially losing.

Among all the questions people ask before going rafting, what to wear might be the most integral to your enjoyment on the water.

4. Balance Yourself in the Raft

To stay seated and balanced as the raft bounces over the waves, be mindful of your seating position. Your feet should be tucked under the side of the air tube that runs around the raft, and you should be sitting on the outer edge. Sitting this way will keep you and the raft balanced.

5. Listen to the Guide

Guides are experts and have been rafting on the river longer than you have. They know its quirks and curves. By following their instructions, you can ensure that you’re prepared with the knowledge of how, where and when to paddle. They’ll be instructing you throughout the trip on how to navigate the turns and rapids, and they’ll show you how to stay in your seat. If you don’t listen, you may find yourself in the water.

6. Paddle With the Team

To get anywhere on the trip, you go with your team. Paddling faster or harder won’t help if it’s not in sync. The guide will teach you how to row at points throughout the trip, but it’s up to you and your fellow rafters to match your strokes.

Strokes should be even with oars, dipping far enough down that enough water is moved and pushed back by the paddle.

7. Be Prepared to Swim

Even when you listen to the guide and paddle perfectly, rafting doesn’t always go according to plan. If you find yourself out of the raft and in the water, it’s important to know what to do. Your life jacket should keep you above water, and your helmet will save your head from knocking into anything solid after you fall in. Once you’re above water, look for a rescue line or paddle that you can grab to get back on the raft. If none is near, just keep swimming.

If someone else falls out of the raft, you should know how to help them. Be ready with your paddle or rescue line to pull them back to the raft and to safety.

Embrace the Adventure

White water rafting is an adventure not many people get to experience. By keeping an open mind and an open ear, you can make sure your first trip is a great success. You’ll be planning your next one in no time!

6 boating tips for beginners

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Whether you’ve just purchased your first boat, or want to get a feel for being out on the water before you sign on that dotted line, everyone starts as a boating beginner. It can be intimidating – piloting a boat is just like driving a car, except it’s completely different. If you want to start your captaining journey, here are six boating tips for beginners to get you started.

  1. Start with Training

You wouldn’t get behind the wheel of a car without some training, so why would you do the same with a boat? The best tip that we can give you is to get some training first. This doesn’t have to be official training – you can just as quickly learn what you need to know to safely pilot a boat from a friend who spends a lot of time on the water. The critical point to take away from this tip is that you shouldn’t head out onto the water alone with no training.

Make sure you check what your state’s boating rules and regulations are. Some states require you to have a boating license while others only need a valid drivers license to be able to pilot a boat.

  1. Don’t Forget to Check the Weather

There’s nothing worse than heading out on the water on what appears to be a sunny day, only to find yourself trapped in a squall. Check the weather every time before you head out. NOAA is an excellent resource for boaters because they provide weather information on land and the water. Check things like water temperature, weather forecasts, and wind speed to help you determine the best time to head out and explore your local waterways.

  1. Practice Loading and Unloading Your Boat

Driving with a boat trailer attached to your car or truck can be easy – if you’re driving forward in a straight line. Learning to back up your trailer down a boat ramp is tricky and requires practice. The last thing you want to do is damage your boat or back your vehicle so far down the ramp that you end up stuck in the water and need of rescue.

Practicing loading and unloading your boat can also keep you from making enemies at the boat ramp. Everyone wants to get out on the water as quickly as possible, and if your inexperience is holding up the line, you won’t be making any friends.

  1. Properly Tow Inflatable Boats

Depending on the size of your boat, you may not be able to get everywhere you want to go – especially if your boat has a deep keel. Inflatable boats can provide you with extra mobility if you find an island or a river mouth that you want to explore while you’re out, but you need to know how to tow them properly to prevent damage to your boat, your inflatable craft or even yourself.

An inflatable should always be attached to at least two points on your main craft. It’s recommended that you have d-rings on the port and starboard sides to keep the inflatable stable and prevent it from drifting in your wake. Three-point connections are better – they add another D-ring in between the other two points for added stability – but not every boat is equipped with all of these tie-down points.

  1. Don’t Skimp on Safety Equipment

There’s no way to avoid it – purchasing and maintaining a boat is an expensive hobby. You might be tempted to cut corners to save a few dollars here and there by buying used equipment or financing parts that you can’t afford outright. One thing that you should never skimp on is safety equipment.

Even if you can swim, life jackets can save your life. Drowning is the number one cause of death in boating accidents, and 83 percent of those who drowned after an accident weren’t wearing life jackets. Make sure you have life jackets on at all times – and have enough of them for everyone who boards your boat.

  1. Make Sure You Have Everything You Need

If you leave something on shore, especially if you’re heading way out in the ocean, getting a replacement can be nearly impossible. Write out a checklist before you leave the ramp to ensure that you have everything you need to enjoy your deep-sea exploration. Include things like food, water, clothing, towels (if you’re planning to go swimming), a first aid kit and of course, sunscreen.

We all started as boating beginners once. Don’t let that keep you away from the water. Start by finding someone to teach you the basics and move forward from there.

Why You Should Go Exploring on the Water

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Summer may be coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take advantage of these last few weeks of warm weather before it gets too cold to spend time out on the water. If you haven’t gotten out on the water this summer or your boat has been languishing in dry dock, why should you spend some time exploring out on the water before the weather gets cold?

Victorian Prescriptions

If you went to the doctor in Victorian England for anything from a common cold to mental health issues, you’d probably get the same prescription: sea air and regular dunkings in cold sea water.

In theory, nearly drowning in the cold water triggered your body to release adrenaline — revitalizing you and healing a variety of different maladies.

While there are plenty of conditions that really wouldn’t benefit from repeated near-drownings, that doesn’t mean being on the water doesn’t have its benefits.

Benefits of Exploration

A number of studies have found that people who live near the coasts, regardless of their country of origin, are generally happier and healthier than those who live farther away. We’re even willing to pay more for waterfront property. According to real estate data, just being able to see the water from a house or apartment increases the property’s value by 116 percent.

Why does being near or on the water make us happier?

If you ask 10 different people that question, you’ll get 10 different answers. For some, it’s because large bodies of water like the ocean are endless and powerful and it helps to put things into perspective. You’re small compared to something like the ocean, and that makes your problems small. Small problems are easier to manage.

Others state that the water helps to calm them down, or helps them separate themselves from the crazed hustle and bustle that makes up most of our lives. It can even help some people fall asleep, which is why white noise machines with rain or river sounds are so popular.

How to Get Started

If you’ve never piloted a boat before in your life, heading out on the water might seem a bit intimidating. But you don’t need to be a pirate or a ship’s captain to explore the waterways near your home or even farther away. Start small. You’re not going to pilot a yacht with no experience, no matter how good the yacht’s insurance is.

Get a hang of piloting a boat by starting with something small, like a dinghy with a little outboard motor or even a rigid inflatable boat if you’re using it to hop between islands.

Whether you’re heading out on the lake or trying to circumnavigate the world, getting out on the water can be a great way to feel happier, get your head together, or just shed the stress of a rough day at work. Just go to the beach and spend some time listening to the waves — you might be surprised by how much better you feel afterward!