How to make Whitewater Rafting Safe for the Entire Family

Whitewater rafting: it’s the ultimate summer sport for anyone who wants to try something different. Combining the beauty of Montana’s landscapes, the splash of pristine rivers, and the experience of working together as a team, river rafting is a great way to see Glacier National Park in a unique way.

If you’re considering bringing your family to Montana for some swiftwater this summer, here’s what you’ll need to know about keeping the whole crew safe:

Whitewater Rafting 101: “Know Before You Go”

The first thing you should know about staying safe during your Glacier Park Rafting experience is that you won’t have to do much.

When you book a trip with Great Northern Resort, you get access to highly experienced guides that know how to navigate the river and know all the “rafting safe” protocols. (In fact, we take safety so seriously we teach it in our Raft & Guide School). As soon as you arrive at the resort, we’ll outfit you with life jackets, provide a comprehensive safety talk, and answer any questions you might have. Our mission is to help you create an unforgettable adventure while also limiting risk.

With that in mind, here are a few things you can do to prepare:

  • Be Honest About Physical Limitations. If you have an injury or health condition that might affect your ability to participate, let your guide know. If you’ve just had rotator cuff surgery, for example, paddling may inflame the injury. The guide’s job is to help you stay safe on the water, and communication is a critical part of that.
  • Understand Classifications. Rivers and rapids are classified into six categories – Class I is easy while Class VI is expert-level only. Classifications may change depending on weather and river levels. When you go out on a family trip with professional guides, you’ll be hitting  Class II and Class III rapids, mostly. These are just big enough to be splashy and exhilarating, but still very safe for everyone involved.
  • Understand What to do if you Fall Out. If you’re nervous about falling from the boat during a whitewater raft trip, talk to your guide. While falling into the water may sound scary, it can also be a fun and exciting experience. If you do happen to fall in – most guides will instruct you to, number one, get to the waters surface, and then position yourself as if you’re sitting in an armchair; head up and feet forward.
  • Know What to Wear. If you’re heading out on a raft trip, reference our “What to Wear” page before you go. As a general rule, we recommend a swimsuit or quick-dry shirt, shorts, a hat or visor, and sunscreen. No flip flops please! We recommend water shoes, or waterproof sandals with a strap on the back so they don’t come loose.

World-Class Rafting & Rafting Safe at Glacier Park Rafting

There’s no better way to see Glacier National Park than from the beautiful Flathead River. This summer, come give our iconic red rafts a spin. Our experienced guides will help you navigate the rapids and create memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime all while rafting safe this summer.

Contact us today to learn more or to book your trip now! Want to find work as a river guide? We also offer a raft and guide school to teach you the ropes!

What You Can Read Next