Please note: This post was written by Luther Stephens and was imported from our former blog platform. It has been kept for archival purposes.

Safety, both on and off the water, is the number one priority on all of our trips. Before each trip we gather at the put-in and the trip leader gives a thorough “safety talk” to the group. On both private and commercial trips, safety talks are a great way of making sure everyone is on the same page. The safety talk is also a great time to ask questions, many of which are shared by another member in the group.

One way of viewing a safety talk is this: it’s much like learning to change a flat tire on your car. Every time you go out driving you don’t expect to get a flat, however, when you do get a flat tire it sure is nice knowing what to do about it. That’s what the safety talk is about. It’s about being informed and having an idea of what to do if a problem does arise. We don’t flip boats or have swimmers every time we go out on the water and, in fact, it really is quite rare to have an “out of boat experience”. None-the-less, it is a good idea to be prepared for such events.

Safety Talk Outline

The outline of our safety talk remains the same for every trip we run and we cover the following topics:

1) Personal Responsibility
Always listen to your guide, watch where you are going, and don’t put others in danger with your actions.
2) Lifejackets
Always wear them and tighten them up!
3) Swimming
What to do if you find yourself out of the boat, proper position, don’t stand up.
4) Throw bags
What to do if we throw you a bag, how to hold it.
5) Wraps and highsiding
What is a wrap? Is that a type of sandwich? Nope. What is highsiding and how to do it.
6) Flips
What to do if a boat flips and how to prevent that from happening.
7) Trees
Trees that are in the river are called “strainers”. Why we avoid them and what to do if you encounter a strainer.
8) Safety on Land

Things to look out for on land. Always wear shoes, look out for Poison Oak, unfamiliar territory so be careful!
9) Leave No Trace

Always leave the river and canyon better than how you found it.
10) River Etiquette
There are lots of different users on the river: fisherman, campers, rafters, etc. Be respectful of all visitors and… Have a great time!

Safety is always our number-one priority but a close second is FUN!

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