Is the Ocoee Safe?

Rafting | Raft One

Many times I have been asked is the Ocoee safe?

My response is always the same….

You are safer on the water than on the trip to get here- no matter how you travel- plane, bike, walking, AND DEFINITELY CAR (Your chances of dying in an automobile crash are 1 in 100 over the course of a lifetime).*

Most of the apprehension about rafting stems from not knowing what to expect. Fear may cause you to doubt that you are making the right decision and you may begin to question why you are doing it at all. Maybe it’s your friend’s birthday & “everyone’s going”, or maybe it’s your kids begging you to go.Maybe it’s on your  “bucket list”. Whatever the reason you probably feel like this:

The fact is it’s more likely that you will die from an asteroid/comet hitting Earth (1 in 200,000)* than rafting.

You are more likely to die from lightening (1 in 135,000)* or tornado (1 in 130,000)*.

Unfortunately, rafting does rank higher than the danger of dying from a vending machine crushing you (1 in 112 million)*, but you can’t win them all. All joking aside…….

The Ocoee River is dam controlled and runs at a fairly consistent flow during scheduled releases. This means that RaftOne’s guides get to know the river in training better than most guides on free flowing rivers. We adhere to a strict training program that exceeds what the USFS and TN State Park requires on the Ocoee River.

Through all my experience and research, I have found that whitewater rafting today is a very safe sport when done within your limits and with a commercial outfitter.

With that being said, let’s look at what the facts are. Most whitewater deaths each year are in the “private boaters” segment of the population. Meaning that these are individuals that own their own gear & equipment. They provide their own instruction, safety, and rescue.

The National average is 6-10 deaths per 2.5 million user days. Meaning each person’s visit for some portion of a day. Many commercial rafting deaths (25-30%) are associated with heart conditions or heart attacks (as reported by American Outdoors). 

Knowing your personal limits will allow you to confidently participate and will help to keep you safe.  River classisfication  are a good way to judge whether the Ocoee would be right for you. Ask questions when booking your trip or read our website for tips. The reservationists are knowledgeable and can help you make an informed decision. Be upfront with your guide about your skill level and limitations. Injury, although not common on commercially guided rafting trips, does occur.   However, most injuries happen in the raft and are associated with bumping into others and equipment. These are mostly T-grip / paddle related injuries. The Clark Law Office group is ready to deal with any of such cases.

So, how can you help to prevent injury or death in whitewater rafting?

Don’t go….

READ  Beginner's Guide to Rafting on the Ocoee River

But what fun is that?

Be honest with yourself about your abilities and health. Pay attention and follow the guides’ instructions. Work as part of a team.  This will help to not only make your trip safer, but also more enjoyable.

Extra reference: Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyers.

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