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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, new to the forum, trying to find out some info on what is required to have in the raft to raft in colorado, life vest, what class, throw bag, first aid, etc? Also commerical gear requirements in a raft? Is there a web site that I can get this info, does the state have one? Just picked up a new raft and looking forward to doing some rafting and fishing.


Super Moderator
4,836 Posts

river safety​
• The river is powerful and always changing.​
Be familiar with current conditions​
Know the section of river you are boating.
• Your
skills and experience must equal the
river and its conditions.
• Don’t be bashful – if you want to scout a
scout a rapid if possible.
• Know and
be aware of river “signs”

– both natural and man-made: holes, wrap
rocks, undercuts, rock sieves, horizon lines
across the river, low head dams as well as
fi cant rapids and “strainers” (trees in
the river).
Watch your surroundings, this includes
the weather.
Be aware of your limitations and those of
your fellow boaters and of your equipment.
• Always
consider the consequences – an
accidental swim is always a possibility.
Boating alone is not recommended. Two
or more boat parties are safer.
• You and everyone in your party should

fi rst aid and CPR
. What if you
get hurt?
Be prepared for self-rescue and the rescue
of others should an accident occur. It is up
to you and everyone in your boat to be able
to help each other.
• If you are involved in an
accident, please
report it to:

Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area
307 West Sackett Avenue
Salida, CO 81201
(719) 539-7289
Emergency 911​
safety gear​
Wear a properly-sized PFD (life jacket)

designed for whitewater river use​
Helmets are a must for all canoeists,
kayakers and river boarders. They are
recommended for rafters in Class IV and
higher whitewater.
• Equip your kayak with
broach loops in
addition to existing grab loops.
• Always
use good, quality equipment.
Carry a
fi rst aid and patch kit, an extra PFD,
a spare oar or paddle, a pump, a bailing
device and bow-stern line.
Have rescue
: rescue ropes/throw lines, a knife,
carabiners and a whistle.
Dress for a possible cold water swim and
changing weather. Wear pile or
fl eece (no
cotton). Protect your feet with sturdy
footwear that won’t come off in the river.
Carry extra clothing, food and water.
• Bring a
wetsuit or drysuit – and wear it
when conditions merit. Hypothermia is a
risk any time of the year while boating on
the river.
• State law requires that
all boats be labeled

with the owner’s name and address. In
addition, please add your phone number.
If we​
fi nd your boat it’s easier to return if

we know how to reach you.

Super Moderator
4,836 Posts
Most private boaters use a Class III whitewater vest, guests on commercial trips are required to wear a Class V vest with a neck pillow. Throw rope, chicken line, first aid kit, and pump/patch kit are all recommended, but not required by anyone...spare paddles or oars are a good idea too...

1,235 Posts
There's 2 ways to look at it:

1) For a lot of winners, all you're required to have is something that floats, like a raft... otherwise it's swimming.


2) You can have common sense, practice, and training. The gear/protocol lists above are excellent examples. I'd advise going down to the Grizzly Creek putin and checking out the various "boats" that launch. Talk to the ones who obviously know what they're doing and silently judge the others. Go to the Fork putin's too as you may have better luck finding someone who isn't either a commercial outfitter or a PFD-less accident waiting to happen.
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