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Rafting for the non-swimmer

Cherry Hill, NJ
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Rafting for the non-swimmer

Hello -- our family has never done white water rafting before. Three are good swimmers. My husband is NOT, not ahtletic at all. In fact, he is rather afraid.

Of course, we can go tubing, but is there a rafting trip that is not too adventurous which wouldn't scare the bejeebies out of my husband?

A mild one? With understanding guides? Which tour company?


Cincinnati, Ohio
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1. Re: Rafting for the non-swimmer

Hi Cinerellie - love the name by the way. We went with Rafting in the Smokies


They have different levels of excitement. I originally went on the upper section of the Big Pigeon River trip and they had to pull over and let me out after the first decent. And I can swim. But that was just me - I had a lot going on in life at that time and just saw myself falling overboard and getting hurt, and making everything worse. I saw no way that that skinny guide could lift this overweight lady back into the raft like he said he could. LOL Right - he would have come over with me! LOL The rest of our group - 28 of them - loved it, and my family has gone too since - just without me!

Look into the lower section float trip. We did this out west in the Tetons and it was wonderful.. not scary at all.. even for the non-swimmer.

Columbia, South...
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2. Re: Rafting for the non-swimmer

Rafting can actually be really tame, depending on which section of river you choose and the time of year. Talk to the rafting company about your concerns before you book anything... and pick the EASIEST trip, not the most age-appropriate. If you lean toward the ones that say "age 6 and up", you should be fine for the first time, perhaps even bored. But, sometimes a little boredom can be a good thing!

If it helps any, I'm not sure that swimming really matters much on a rafting trip. You wear a lifejacket and a helmet, and if you happen to fall out in the rapids, you're not supposed to swim but float feet-first instead.

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3. Re: Rafting for the non-swimmer

Above post is oh so correct. Talk to the rafting companies and find out their views on the concerns you have but.....

I swim in normal water situations, rafting(the Ocoee) doesn't require any swimming. You are paddling and guiding the raft over rapids and if you fall out you are gonna float with that huge life jacket on and your head is protected from the rocks with a helmet.

It is really a wonderful trip.

Smokiesgirl gave some great tips on Pigeon River rafting with a more benign course. Hope ya'll try it. Maybe he could start with PF and graduate to the Ocoee another time.

Roselle Park, New...
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4. Re: Rafting for the non-swimmer


Where was the rafting place located? was it one of the more closer places to go to?

Cincinnati, Ohio
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5. Re: Rafting for the non-swimmer

Hi ginger - Yes I think is one of the closer places. They are located in Hartford, NC. Their website will give you good directions to the Big Pigeon River location. They say it takes about 1 - 1 and a half hours from Gatlinburg,depending on traffic. We were staying near the Arts and Crafts Community and it took us bout 45-50 minutes to drive there. I think there are other companies located nearby too, but I am not sure. This website for coupons has a $4 one for raftinginthesmokies:


Have fun! I wish I could relax and enjoy it!

Cincinnati, Ohio
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6. Re: Rafting for the non-swimmer

OOps - the website says Hartford is in Tn not NC. I though someone corrected me one before saying that it was in NC - but I guess not.

Franklin, TN
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7. Re: Rafting for the non-swimmer

You do not have to know how to swim to go rafting. It will be a very enjoyable experience and once your husband gets on the river, gets involved in what he is doing, he will forget about the fear.

My wife was the same way last year, and she would now go back in a second.

Good luck and welcome to Tennessee.

D.S., LA
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8. Re: Rafting for the non-swimmer


Co-worker returned from G'Burg this week & her family did rafting at smokymountainrafting.com. She, her 5 yr. old grandson & pregnant daughter-in-law did the lower section & said it was fun. I can't swim & trust her so we'll probably do that one. She actually said she wished she had done the upper section as it looked more exciting (a few family members fell out) but I think for this non-swimmer I'm sticking to something a little tamer.

9. Re: Rafting for the non-swimmer

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