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Old 04-05-2011   #11
pocatello, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 471
If you tighten up the chicken line how can the entire crew stick a leg between the raft and the line to avoid being tossed out? You Colorado boys don't know how things are done west of Utah.

Welcome to rafting.

seriously though. tighten that baby up.

common scenarios:
Practice flipping and getting back in in a big eddy. I have numerous rafting friends who have never flipped and have never practiced. I tend to flip a few times a year and seeing my former guide friends freak out when that baby dump trucks is priceless. Seeing them be unable to climb on top is also a treat; unless the fan is still being bombarded by excrement....
Practice without a flip line too, using a paddle t-grip or a strap.

In 15 years I have never had to do an on-river patch job. I have had to remove and clean/replace valves and pressure relief valves. have the tools, have the knowledge. Knock on wood.

Differences from kayaking: it takes forever to get where you want to go. get there early and watch your momentum. noobs tend to get where they want to go, stop rowing, then drift on past their line because of momentum.
You can't roll. being upside down sucks big time.
Fortunately it is pretty hard to flip a raft. they are big, wide and heavy. this applies both ways, getting worked and getting back sunny side up.

I have flipped on the Main salmon twice, the NF payette cabarton run, the alpine stretch of the snake, and a few other runs. It gets easier every time to get it back together so intentinal flips on class III are invaluable.

Outfitters on day stretches tend to 'push' always going forward to get where they want to go. Private boaters and rational people learn to pull to ferry etc. you are way stronger this direction and it gives you way more time to set up. This may not be true in the grand canyon, but it will be in most local rivers.

anyhow my preferences for a mid sized raft with a rowing frame:

Waist salamander throw bag. about 6' of line tucked in the front pocket with a biner that i use as a flip line.
full size throw bag in rowing cockpit
oar retainers made of p-cord
another throw bag in the front compartment
spare oar tucked into frame straps nice and snug. No dangles.
drybag with repair kit, hat, poly layer, splash top.
Pin kit (as mentioned numerous times)
small k-pump

Idaho requires a spare life vest on each boat in most cases. I usually strap it around a frame bar as padding.

research rivers: join the idaho whitewater yahoo group. very knowledgable rafters who are pretty forthcoming.

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Old 04-05-2011   #12
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,906
You won't need the thwarts shown in the boats as the frame makes them redundant and they just take up space that you'll need for chairs, tables, a tent you could stand up in, coolers filled with filet mignon and hors devours, firepans, shelters 30 people could stand under, and the other essentials.

Fiya's got it nailed about momentum - when you're setting up on a line to enter a rapid, remember that compared to that kayak, a raft is kind of like a freighter. They take a bit of effort to get moving but continue going after you've stopped rowing. Start setting up VERY early and don't overdo it.

And of course, its always good to have a good safety talk before launching and know your before you get on the water.


Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 04-05-2011   #13
rg5hole's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 06
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 450
munter hitch and a carabiner

I've never boated before, but I have posted a lot on Mountain Buzz!
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Old 04-05-2011   #14
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Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 15
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Originally Posted by Andy H. View Post
You won't need the thwarts shown in the boats as the frame makes them redundant and they just take up space that you'll need for chairs, tables...
Thanks for the good advice Andy. Unfortunately with this older Momentum raft, the thwarts are permanently attached. If anyone can offer advice on whether they can be unglued and replaced with a removable system, I'm all ears.

And if CPR looked as sexy as that video in real life, everyone would be doing it! LOL!
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Old 04-05-2011   #15
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vancouver, Washington
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,146
I think for that raft it has a rubber thwart attachment. If you can get this off with a hair dryer to loosen the glue that would be the way. then clean, abraid, and reattach using a removable thrwart attachment kit.

I think what everyone is saying that this boat (as configured) is a gear boat and you don't need the thwarts -- could instead use their volume to hold drybox, coolers, ammo cans, whatever. Are you ever running paddlers? If you have no intention you can very carefully cut the rubber down the middle and it will leave a black piece on the thwart and a black piece on the boat. Then it might be easy to heat and strip off the old glue.

Also, in case of flip and fully loaded I'm not sure its really possible to re-flip midstream as that's a half ton of weight in the boat. Probably could be done but I doubt with one person.

Practice climbing on the boat maybe but reflips are probably paddler boat experiences.

Instead practice jumping on your buddies boat so you can follow the boat downstream and pull it into a shallow eddy where it can be flipped with a couple of pushers and one person pulling a rope .
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Old 04-05-2011   #16
Hotchkiss, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 60
Casper Mike,
Can you elaborate a little as to what you mean by tugging the D-rings the wrong way with the raft frame? Thanks
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Old 04-06-2011   #17
SimpleMan's Avatar
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: '05
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 394
Cut your chicken line off. Commercial boats need 'em for fat tourists. You shouldn't. My $.02 is to flip your raft on purpose once or twice in a nice flat stretch of river and climb on top, re-flip, and repeat. Better to know you can do it before you're all adrenalined out in your first genuine flip. And if you're running cool sh*& it will happen. This applies to frame rigs and paddle boats. We call it carnage training, and do it every spring to refresh. Have fun.

I second the set up early tip. Always looking at the next rapid/turn/obstacle.
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Old 04-06-2011   #18
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 557
One safety thing that's important is your river running strategy. You can't really eddy hop that effectively with rafts, so it's important to have a large distance between boats. Try to zig zag boats from river left to river right so there is always a good line of communication between boats. The biggest issue i've seen with rafting is groups getting clumped up, and then there is not enough room or time for everyone to stop in time to scout, or whatever is needed.

Water reading also changes a lot, because you are so much slower than in a kayak. Moves have to be planned really far ahead. And the raft builds up a lot of momentum, so you can easily over shoot lines.

I learned all this the hard way. now I teach river rescue/safety classes for private rafters just like yourself.

Nick Wigston
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Old 04-06-2011   #19
Solgear's Avatar
Moab, Utah
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 24
For thwarts that are sewn in, you can cut the threads (carefully) and the 2 pieces peel apart without putting a hole in the stitched pieces that hold the thwart to the tubes. Then clean it up, abraid it, and glue on some bat attachments available through NRS or some similar company.

Take a river rescue course of some kind for good practice and ideas you might not have thought of.

I really like William Nealy's book... Kayak or Slim Ray and Les Bechdel's "River Rescue"
Solgear (801) 560-9588
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Old 04-06-2011   #20
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SE, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,098
If you take a swim in big water, grab a breath in the trough of the wave, not at the crest, which will always splash right into your mouth as you're sucking air.

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