A special neoprene wetsuit is a must here for three reasons: first of all it keeps your body warm and helps you prevent from hypothermia in the cold water and secondly it protects your body from the smaller scratches that rocks can cause and it also serves you as a bouyancy aid if you swim in the water.
The suit is made of a 3-4 mms thick rubberlike material that traps lots of tiny air bubbles. This doesn’t mean that you don’t get wet under the wetsuit. The material lets the water through, and this water is kept between the suit and your skin and warmed up by your body heat, so you don’t have to wear anything but a swimming suit under the wetsuit to keep your body warm.
It is also important to wear the boots that are made of the same material with extra thick rubber sole.
The two most important areas that your helmet needs to protect on your head are your temples and the nape of your neck. If these vital areas get hurt, it can cause fainting under the water or lead to other extremely dangerous situations. To avoid these injuries the size should be carefully chosen and the helmet has to be fitted correctly so that it can’t move back or forth on your head. And if your helmet’s colour matches your personality, that is the perfect one:o)
Life jacket, PFD
Without a life jacket it is almost impossible to swim in white w ater because there are lots of rocks and rapids that can cause serious injuries. A proper life jacket gives you upper-body protection and the flotation needed to swim safely.
White water life jackets have to have much stronger upthrust than the life jackets that are designed to wear on lakes and calmer waters. Therefore you shouldn’t use a life jacket that is for sailing or surfing! The whitewater life jacket is snugly-fitting and it has strong colour.
There are two types of white water boats: raft boats and trekking or outsider boats. Raft boats are for 4-14 paddlers who sit on the two sides of the boat. The cox is sitting at the back only concentrating on controlling the boat, which is a quite difficult task. Trekking or Outsider boats are for 2-4 paddlers. These boats are much narrower than raft boats are and paddlers take a half-sitting and half-kneeling position in a row. Just as the cox of a raft boat, the most experienced or the strongest paddler who is able to controll the boat is sitting at the back.
Trekking/outsider boats for 2-4 paddlers must be equipped with the following:
at least three independent air chambers
circumferential safety rope
Raft boats for more than 4 paddlers must be equipped with the following:
anti-slip sitting surface
at least five independent air chambers
circumferential safety rope
It might sound strange but apart from the basic function that the paddle serves, it is an important safety equipment as well. With the help of the paddle we can push away ourselves from rocks or other objects in the water and it can help us to keep our boat balanced. And it is also a great tool when it comes to splashing.