Trip Leader Information

NWRA Trip Leaders

It is our responsibility to make sure they understand the risk and what to do if they should fall out of the raft and swim.

Adobe PDF NWRA Liability Wavier Form

Adobe PDF NWRA Whitewater Rafting Safety Talk

Fill out a "Trip Roster" for each trip at the put-in.

Adobe PDF NWRA Trip Roster

Guidelines for High Water Whitewater Rafting by Bill McGinnis

Adobe PDF Guidelines for High Water Rafting

Adobe PDF BLM Guidelines Know Before You Go Rafting


Rivers are graded from CLASS I to Class VI in order of their increasing difficulty as shown below:

(If rapids on a river generally fit into one of the following classifications, but the water temperatures is below 50° F, or if the trip is an extended trip in a wilderness area, the river should be considered one class more difficult than normal.)


Moving water with a few riffles and small waves. Few or no obstructions.


Easy rapids with waves up to 3 feet, and wide clear channels that are obvious without scouting. Some maneuvering is required.


Rapids with high irregular waves often capable of swamping an open canoe. Narrow passages that often require complex maneuvering. May require scouting from shore.


Long, difficult rapids with constricted passages that often require precise maneuvering in very turbulent waters. Scouting from shore is often necessary, and conditions make a rescue difficult. Generally not possible for open canoes. Boaters in decked canoes and kayaks should be able to roll.


Extremely difficult, long, and very violent rapids wit highly congested routes which nearly always must be scouted from shore. Rescue conditions are difficult are difficult and there is significant hazard to life in the event of a mishap. Ability to Eskimo roll is essential for kayaks and canoes.


Difficulties of Class V carried to the extreme of navigability. Nearly impossible and very dangerous. For teams of experts only, after close study and all precautions taken.

NWRA Drug Policy (BUI - Boating Under the Influence)

The American Whitewater Association Safety Code is the general safety guideline used by the Northwest Rafters Association. The AW Safety code states in the Group Preparedness and Responsibility section:

Number 6. Drugs. The use of alcohol or mind-altering drugs before or during river trips is not recommended. It dulls reflexes, reduces decision-making ability, and may interfere with important survival reflexes."

The Northwest Rafters Association takes a firmer stance, and has adopted a zero tolerance policy on the use of intoxicants, including, mind-altering drugs and alcohol while on the water, at lunch and before boating on official club trips. NWRA expects participants on club trips to boat sober.

U.S. Non-Motorized Whitewater Fatalities 1999 - 2012

In 2016 Oregon experienced 9 small craft fatalities. It is unknown how many were whitewater related.

Accident Table

First Aid Issues

Medical First Aid Information


Federal law requires the boat operator to submit a casualty or accident report to the State reporting authority when as a result of an occurence that involves the vessel or its equipment.
A person dies
A person disappears from the vessel under circumstances that indicate death or injury
A person is injured and requires medical treatment beyond first aid
Damage to vessels and other property totals $2,000.
The boat is destroyed.

Oregon State Marine Board Accident Report Form ORS 830.490

US Coast Guard CG-3865 Recreational Boating Accident Report Form

American Whitewater Online Accident Report Form