Whitewater Rapid Classification

Rafting or kayaking on whitewater rapids is exhilarating. For those who are new to the thrill and even for those who are diehard enthusiasts, knowing what to expect from the river goes a long way in enjoying the ride. This is why rapids are classified according to the degree of difficulty and level of danger they represent for the average rafter.

Though not an exact science, internationally accepted standards rate rapids on a scale of one to six.

Class I

This classification means the moving water only has minor waves and few obstructions throughout. This is the perfect setting for a beginner.

Class II

Although the rapids may require some degree of clever maneuvering, the waves are still relatively small. The channels are generally clear and with a little skill and muscle, Class II rapids can be conquered by a determined beginner.

Class III

This is where the real adventure starts. These rapids have high waves that are irregular and surging in places. There are also narrow passages that will challenge a rafter’s abilities and determination.

Class IV

These rapids have frequent turbulent waves and often constricted passages that require experience and deft maneuvering skills to conquer. Class IV rapids usually requires some amount of scouting.

READ  Age Limits for Whitewater Rafting

Class V

This is strictly for the able-bodied and strong of heart, arms, legs and guts. Class V rapids often need to be scouted from the shore and are extremely difficult to maneuver. The rapids are frequently violent and unpredictable, and there is a significant risk to life and limb.

Class VI

Do not even attempt Class VI rapids unless you are a whitewater expert. These types of rapids are not open to commercial rafting.

While these classifications give a clear indication of the amount of skill and degree of danger involved in a particular stretch of water, they are by no means rigid. Water levels as well as certain events such as landslides and ice storms can affect the classification of some rapids.

Aside from whitewater rafting on the Ocoee River, we offer zip line canopy tours, mountain biking and cabins for rent for a party of two or two dozen. When you’re ready to have the time of your life, try whitewater rafting with us. It’ll be the adventure of a lifetime – we guarantee it!

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