As with any summer, people enjoy being outside and experiencing the warm weather on the water. This summer promises to be no different as whitewater enthusiasts flock to West Virginia for some of the best boating in the country. In the fall, “Gauley Season” releases in September and October will cap off a great year of Class Vs on the Gauley River.
While the Gauley River alone attracts more than 35,000 paddlers each year, whitewater rafting is an extreme and dangerous sport. In a study of rafting injuries over a two-year period, the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources reported that the most frequent injuries to rafters were facial injuries, knee injuries and arm and wrist injuries. The most common complaints were lacerations and sprains, although two deaths were reported in the two years.
Whitewater rafting can be dangerous, but it can also be an enjoyable experience if the right precautions are taken. Pick a rapids guide that will protect your safety by practicing safety measures with you before entering the rapids and use rescue kayaks with trained guides for emergency rescues. Choose guides who have experience on the river where you are boating. Before boating on challenging rapids, such as Class IV or Class V rated rapids, learn how to safely enter and exit the boat, to rescue others that have fallen out, and how to be rescued if you fall out. Finally, always wear an appropriately sized life jacket and do not let go of your paddle, as it also serves as a flotation device, and can be used to pull yourself or others back into your boat.
If you have been injured in a boating accident, it is important to work with an experienced boating accident attorney. As with any personal injury case, you only have a limited amount of time to file a claim.