This summer, as you pack your days with outdoor activities, consider taking a ride through Hells Canyon, courtesy of River Adventures. Jet boats are similar to regular boats, but they are faster and can handle shallow waters better. This extra maneuverability makes them ideal for river tours. No matter what sort of boat you choose, though, safety is the top priority on the water. Learn how to stay safe while on a jet boat tour before you set foot on board!

Preparatory Measures

The night before your aquatic expedition, check the weather forecast and plan accordingly. If the weather is going to be chilly, dress in light layers (and remember that it will be even cooler on the water). If it’s going to be extra sunny, bring some shades and a brimmed hat that will shield your eyes from the sun. If the forecast predicts rain or other inclement weather, consider whether that changes your plans. Contact the tour company and ask whether they cancel jet boat tours for stormy weather. Rain or shine, you will probably want to pack a raincoat or windbreaker anyway.

You are going to get wet—there is no avoiding it. Keep that in mind as you plan your adventuring ensemble—and remember that cotton is extremely absorbent. Consider wearing a bathing suit under your civilian gear. Wear a light t-shirt and shorts, and go for waterproof sandals instead of shoes and socks. Spending too much time in soaking wet clothing is a recipe for skin rashes, yeast infections, and trench foot.

Basic Safety

Children under the age of 12 are required by law to wear Coast Guard-approved life jackets. If you are reading this, you are likely older than 12, but you should wear a life jacket anyway. Buckling that jacket on sets a good example for any kids on board. Older kids might feel self-conscious if they’re the only ones on the boat who are required to wear a life jacket. They’ll feel more confident wearing theirs if you’re wearing yours!

A life jacket is a crucial safety device for you, too, no matter how strong a swimmer you are. The river is unpredictable, even in seemingly nice weather, and it is dangerously easy to get swept up in a current. No matter what, it is wise to have a backup in place, if not two. Keep a personal flotation device nearby, especially if you are boating with younger kids. Every jet boat should have one Coast Guard-approved life jacket and one personal flotation device per passenger.

Before you step foot on the boat, your tour guide should tell you what to expect on the jet boat ride. Pay close attention as they go over safety procedures, and always know the locations of additional safety devices. If you have any medical conditions that may impact your experience of the jet boat ride, let the tour company know ahead of time. For example, it is inadvisable to go on a jet boat tour if you are pregnant. If you frequently experience motion sickness or vertigo, it is best to remain on dry land. Whatever the situation, River Adventures can advise you on whether or not a jet boat ride is safe for you.

Do not bring anything delicate or breakable on the boat. Any beverage bottles should be plastic, not glass. If you smoke, do not do so on the boat, and leave behind your lighter and any other items you don’t want to get wet. Avoid eating a heavy meal or drinking a large amount of alcohol before your jet boat ride.

Are You a Strong Swimmer?

A ride on a jet boat is much more turbulent than a tour on, say, a pontoon boat. Water sloshes in and out of the boat as the captain maneuvers it, and when the waters are rough, you’re bound to get even wetter.

Jet boats are remarkably safe and maneuverable. Their specially designed engines run inside the boat, while other motorboats have an external engine at the back. They work well on quick turns; it is highly unlikely that the boat will capsize, but in the event that you wind up in the water, you’ll need to stay afloat. As you enjoy your outdoor adventures this summer, log a few hours in the pool to keep your swimming skills in top shape.

Do a Little Research

Get to know your tour guide and boat captain ahead of time. This way, you will have a better idea of what kind of a ride you’re in for. Some captains have a calmer, smoother style, while others like to take advantage of a jet boat’s natural maneuverability—which could be great if you love a splashy ride!

Make sure your tour guide is as passionate about safety as you are. Tour guides on the Hells Canyon jet boat rides offered by River Adventures are dedicated to the well-being of every passenger. We are committed to providing you with a safe and wild ride.

Gauge Comfort Levels

Before you step on board, take a quick poll amongst the family and friends with you: is everyone still excited to go on the ride? Is everybody feeling well?

A panicked or ill passenger does no favors for the captain, the tour guide, or the other passengers. If your young niece has been feeling brave all day but begins to wail at the sight of the boat, let her stay with a trusted adult on land. If your friend had a heavy lunch and thinks he might get motion sickness, trust his instinct and let him sit it out. Everybody on the jet boat should be prepared and excited for the ride!

A jet boat tour is a fantastic way to enjoy the outdoors this summer, and Hells Canyon is the perfect destination. As you cruise the river and soak up millions of years’ worth of natural history, follow these tips on how to stay safe while on a jet boat tour and ensure a good time for you and everyone else on the jet boat ride!

How To Stay Safe While on a Jet Boat Tour