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4 May 2016

Rafting Communication Tips

Rafting Communication Tips

Author: SuperUser Account  /  Categories: Uncategorized  / 
Lessons Hydra River Guides Has Learned from 30 Years on the Kicking Horse River

When you go on a rafting trip, Hydra's guides will have a set of commands that they will use to communicate with the crew. They will go through them with you in a safety briefing before you depart, but for your knowledge, we have included some of the common commands that our river guides will use on your trip.

Forward Paddle
You should hold the paddle with your dominant hand on top and move it in a backwards stroke so the raft will begin to move forward.

Back Paddle
You should hold the paddle with your dominant hand on top and move it in a forward stroke so the raft will begin to move backwards.

Paddle Easy
You need to slow down the raft so your guide will ask you to “paddle easy” to move at a more relaxed pace than usual.

Paddle Hard
When you hear this command, you need to get those muscles working! You need to paddle briskly and with power.

Left Turn
Your guide wants to execute a left turn, so only people on the right side of the boat will forward paddle to accomplish this maneuver.

Right Turn
Only people on the left side of the boat should forward paddle to complete a right turn.

Over Left
Your guide needs everyone to move to the left side of the raft when they use this command. This is usually in response to an obstacle or to rearrange the weight in response to the current.

Over Right
If you hear this instruction, everybody in the raft needs to be on the right side of the raft.

Hang On
When you are in Class 3 or 4 rapids on the Classic or Ultimate Trip, you may hear the guide call out “hang on!” This means you need to stop paddling immediately and hang onto the ropes around the raft.

Get Down
Everyone in the raft should try to get on the floor of the raft and secure themselves by hanging on.

These commands help keep people safe by allowing for clear communication. These simple commands and consistent meanings ensure that the everyone on the raft raft acts as a unit and there is no room for misunderstanding. If you have questions about your rafting trip and what to expect, please feel free to call Hydra River Guides at 1 (800) 644-8888 or e-mail your inquiry to


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