Were smack dab in the middle of Winter. Do you know where (how) your whitewater raft is doing? If you’re like most rafters, probably not. It’s mid-winter who wants to get out on a cold river?
Not me, but this is a good time to check in on your raft and see how it’s faring through the Winter. After all Spring is only a few short months away.
Here’s a list of mid-Winter checks you should do on your whitewater raft:
1. If your boat is deflated and rolled up, you should flip it onto the other side. Just like humans, if it’s in the same spot for a long time, it can develop wear spots just like we develop bed sores.
2. Be sure the raft isn’t sitting in a wet spot (eww). Rafts love the water, but in Winter water can freeze and that can damage valves and even the raft thwarts and tubes. Wipe off any wetness with a dry towel. Wetness can breed mold which just doesn’t belong on a whitewater raft!
3. If your raft is inflated check to make sure the tubes are somewhat equal in inflation. You don’t want one a lot fuller than another, it can lead to a blown baffle. Inflate the less inflated one to match.
4. If you’re inflated raft is hanging, check to make sure there aren’t any wear spots forming. Sometimes a raft will deflate a bit and widen out as it does so; pushing up against straps and ropes.
5. If you have gear inside the boat, like coolers or dry boxes, take a look inside and make sure no mice are living there. Mice can destroy boxes as well as rafts, be sure these little beasts don’t have access to your precious baby.
If you find evidence of mice living in your raft, get rid of them. Pull your boat out, inflate it and spray it down. Put mouse traps and poison out.
Doing a mid-winter raft check shouldn’t take more than a few minutes but it’s time well spent. It could be the difference between a great whitewater rafting season and a completely missed rafting season. Neglect has killed more whitewater rafts than Blossom Bar rapid.
Have some more raft care tips? Post them in the comments section.