What to Expect on Your Ocoee River Rafting Trip

The name of your craft won’t be The Endurance, but it will be a small raft made of rarified rubber made impermeable to rapids with multi-membrane technology. It’s also self bailing, which means the raft knows how to bilge water the river splashes into it.

And it usually does.

The trip won’t actually last months. It should last no more than five or six daylight hours, and because darkness typically doesn’t go on for more than 12 hours along the Ocoee, you should have no fear of “months of complete darkness” on our trip. Most of the time it’s pretty sunny, so bring sunscreen and dark glasses.

Constant Danger, however…Let’s discuss that.

Safety speach at put in on the Ocoee River in Tennessee


First there will be no icebergs, underwater mines or carnivorous bears. Everyone knows that bears are omnivores and they cannot eat an entire multi-membrane raft.

There will be a lot of water and a bunch of rocks. If we didn’t have them – you wouldn’t visit.

Paddles and Vests

Millions of gallons of river water will surround you on all sides. You’ll have one paddle as well as a brightly colored life-vest. The two go together and you’re not allowed in the raft lacking either one. At some point in the journey you might lose your paddle but you won’t lose the vest because it’s attached to your body. Your body might lose the raft. That’s what the vest is for.

While you think you’re coming along to ride over class III and IV rapids, we’re letting you on our raft because of the paddle. Hold it by the T-grip, so it’s under your control.

We assume you and your party will paddle as much as you possibly can. 12 year olds paddle with less grace than 26 year olds, and still less than a 55 year old so we hold you accountable only to your own ability. Know that some rapids are only passable by the crew (that’s you) paddling through, which means this is a trip where you will be pulling at least some of your own weight.

Guides as a rule don’t paddle. Though you’ll see guides with paddles in hand, their job is to steer your raft on its proper course and keep you safe. They’re quite good at this when you listen to everything they say. Especially the jokes.


In the winter months consider a wetsuit and a jacket, they are complimentary. In the summer you’ll get by with shorts or swimming clothes, but may wish to keep a jacket handy in case you feel cold.

“Bitter cold” doesn’t really happen here.


These make river rafting a hazardous journey. While we know you’re going to have a great time, you’ll need to listen to your guide as your raft approaches a new rapid in the river.


At all times you need to wear shoes, sandals, or even hiking boots for the moments that you enter the river, such as when we embark. The Ocoee’s craggly bottom is pure mother nature with sand, pointy rocks and other bits you don’t want stuck in the feet.

Avoid flip-flops and shoes the river can easily slip away.


Purists not to worry. Your guides are going to wear helmets just so they can make you do it.


If for any reason you arrive in the water alongside your raft, the first advice is to get back in the raft.

If that proves impossible because the raft has moved too far away there are two basic swimming techniques. The first is called the Whitewater Swim Position. Do it by laying on your back with your feet facing downstream and your head up, bobbing out of the water so you can see the way you are floating. If you’re about to hit a rock, put out your feet, which should be touching each other, and bounce off the rock.

Another technique is to simply swim, headfirst, toward the nearest eddy. Hang out and we’ll make sure you get back in the raft.

Falling out happens, but not on every trip. Listening to your guide coach you through the rapids will help ensure you stay aboard and guarantees your return.

Call us today to book your unforgettable rafting trip!