Rafting is a kind of recreation, for which an inflatable boat is used. Rafting is conducted on the rivers of different difficulties. This kind of extreme rest has been popular from early 1970s.
Modern inflatable boats are made of many-layered solid rubber or hypalon. They have several independent departments, which ensure the boat does not sink if one of them is torn or damaged. Length of the boat varies from 3.5m to 6m and width – from 1.8m to 2.5m. Single-seated boats which may be 1.5m in length are exception from this rule.
There are different forms of boats. We are using symmetrical boats which are steered by instructors from the back seat. A boat can occupy from 4 to 12 people.
Categories of River Difficulties
First category – easy river without streams and torrents, only slight maneuverability is needed (e.g. river Mtkvari near Mtskheta) for those who are unwilling to make effort and rest.
Second category – rapid river, with several obstacles (stones of middle size). Maneuverability is needed (e.g. river Aragvi in summertime). This can be called rafting.
Third Category – rapid flow, streams and holes of middle size. Good maneuverability is needed (Aragvi, Mtkvari, Rioni during springtime). Moving to the next stage is possible after getting certain experience on the rivers of the second category – subsequently everyone is wet from head to toe.
Fourth Category – strong and rapid flow, torrents, holes and stoppers include certain threats, experience is necessary for maneuverability (Rioni, Tskhenistskali, Mtkvari during springtime). This kind of rafting cannot leave anyone indifferent – after passing the fourth category one becomes a real rafter.
Fifth Category – big streams, there might be boulders or other obstacles in streams, containing certain risks for health and life. Professional experience is necessary (e.g. certain parts of rivers: Enguri, Terek, Mtkvari and Rioni).
Sixth Category – rafting on these rivers imposes serious risks to life. There are several rivers of these categories in Georgia (Terek, Enguri and Rioni). After passing these rivers you can freely call yourself lucky.
Rafting contains several threats and may be dangerous if security measures are not taken. This aspect especially concerns beginners, who raft without professional instructors. The threat can be caused by either natural circumstances or by participants wrong behavior.
As far as commercial tours are concerned, participants of the tour are held special instructions before rafting during which they are explained the rules of sitting in a boat and rowing as well as relevant behavior if they happen to throw in the river and so forth.
Every participant is necessarily given a lifejacket and a helmet. Wearing special rafting boots and costume is preferable.