Age Limits For Whitewater Rafting

Planning a white water rafting adventure with your family comes with a wave of excitement, but one question often surfaces: is there a white water rafting age limit? As you gear up for an exhilarating trip, it’s natural to consider the age limits and safety aspects of rafting. Finding that balance between adventure and ensuring everyone’s safety is key to creating unforgettable memories.

In this blog, we will answer all your questions regarding the age of white water rafting. Let’s get started!

The Age Limit at Raft1

At Raft1, the white water rafting lower age limit is 12. No child under the age of 12 is permitted to go whitewater rafting, even if their parents accompany them. Wondering why? As we go forward, you will see the reasons behind this age limit.

Understanding Whitewater Rapids

If you are familiar with our white water rafting program, you are probably aware that the portion of the Ocoee where our rafting trips occur includes Class III and IV rapids. These generate some serious waves, and the raft can get knocked around, and people can even fall in. While this is great fun for adults, it could be frightening for children.

Smaller kids are more likely to get knocked out of the raft because they’re so light. They could easily get scared by all this bumping around, which is one reason why kids under 12 should not go on rapids this tough.

The Significance of Age 12

You must be wondering: why the age 12 mark? For starters, It has to do with physical and emotional maturity. While 12-year-olds can vary in size, the average is just under five feet and about 90 pounds. They have the size and heft to move comfortably around the raft without worrying about getting tossed. Plus, a 12-year-old can assist with the paddling.

Younger kids may not be coordinated enough to handle a paddle. They may struggle with the guide’s directions for how and where to use it. A 12-year-old should be capable of using it correctly and helping the boat go in the right direction.

Attention span is also critical out on the water. Kids under 12 may not be able to pay attention during a rafting trip that can last several hours which may hamper their safety.

Safety First

Safety Precautions to Take While Rafting Infographic

Speaking of safety, we believe you are never too young to start getting comfortable in the water, with the right supervision and under the right circumstances. With that said, these are not the right circumstances for a child under 12 to ride the rapids. We actively discourage you from lying about their age just to get them on the water. It may not be a good experience for someone too young and can include substantial risk.

Please keep in mind that while completely safe with the right precautions and training. The rapids our families traverse on the Ocoee are no joke. While we provide equipment to protect your body and instruct you on best practices for safety, it’s up to you to listen to those instructions and follow them.

We recommend that you undertake at least one of the many Care courses so that you know what to do in a situation that jeopardizes your child. That’s another reason why we have found that 12 is the minimum age for rafting. Kids of this age have the concentration levels to pay attention to our instructions and to understand why we are giving them. Therefore, it is best to not take younger children on such challenging trips.

The Joys of Family Rafting

Family Rafting on the Ocoee River

All that said, for preteens and teenagers, family rafting trips offer a fantastic experience. It can be difficult for kids of this age to connect with parents – as any parent of an adolescent knows. A rafting trip gives you all a common goal and common purpose to strive for, pulling you together and encouraging cooperation. Other benefits of taking your family with preteens and teens on a whitewater rafting trip include:

  • Testing reactions: See how your child reacts to sudden changes, or towards people struggling on the journey. It’s a chance for lessons on compassion and empathy.
  • Improving life skills: It pushes your children out of their comfort zones. You will meet new people on the trip and become close as you push toward a common goal.
  • Absolutely no phones: Is your teenager glued to their phone? Great news — they won’t be looking at it out on the Ocoee – unless they want to risk losing it to the rapids!

Options for Families With Younger Kids

Do you have kids younger than 12? A rafting trip still isn’t out of the question. You can bring the older kid(s) out to Raft1 while leaving the younger ones behind in the care of a relative. Then give the younger ones their own special time with you doing something more age-appropriate. In fact, everyone wins in this scenario.

Kids love getting the opportunity for one-on-one time with parents. By giving your full attention to different sets of kids, you make them feel special and noticed. You may even turn this into a family tradition, almost like a rite of passage to hit the waves when someone turns 12!

Group Rafting: a Church Family Experience

Every year, we host many youth groups at Raft1. It’s an excellent activity for organizations that want their young people to bond and spend quality time together. Consider the many opportunities for fellowship on this trip:

  • Getting to know others in the group on the ride to Raft1
  • Working as a team in the rafts to steer in the right direction
  • Enjoying a hearty lunch together, surrounded by breathtaking scenery
  • Laughing at all the new shared jokes and funny stories such a day creates

Some kids enjoy the time out on the river so much that they return home begging their families to organize a trip of their own to the Ocoee. And no wonder, since it is really an adventure you cannot get enough of!

Final Word

If your family has children ages 12 and older, this could be the most memorable trip you embark on. It will test you in ways you could not imagine and bring you closer together as a family. White water rafting in Ocoee is an adventure that suits everyone, whether you are traveling solo, or with friends and family.

If you are planning a trip that brings out the best in your children, while also being amazingly fun, white water rafting is just the right choice. RaftOne can provide you with all the guidance you might need to plan such a trip. Contact us today, and leave the planning to us. Just get your adventure mode on, and Book your next trip today!

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