Frequently asked questions about Ocoee River whitewater rafting

Is there an age limit for the Ocoee River?

The Tennessee requires that all rafters on the Ocoee be at least 12 years of age.

The Ocoee is rated class III and IV.  What does this mean?

International Scale of River Difficulty
Class I- Easy few or no obstructions; fast moving water with riffles; risk to swimmers is slight.

Class II- Novice wide clear channels; occasional maneuvering; rocks and medium-sized waves are easily missed by trained paddlers; swimmers are seldom injured; assistance is helpful but rarely needed.

Class III- Intermediate  rapids with moderate, irregular waves which may be difficult to avoid and capable of swamping a boat; complex maneuvers in fast current and narrow passages require good boat control; large waves, holes and strainers may be present but are easily avoided; powerful current; scouting advisable; swimmers are unlikely to be injured but assistance may be needed to avoid a long swim.

Class IV- Advanced intense, powerful rapids; turbulent water; may involve long, unavoidable wave trains, holes or constricted passages demanding fast maneuvers under pressure; may require “must” moves above dangerous hazards; risk of injury to swimmers is moderate to high; group assistance to swimmers requires practiced skills.

Class V- Expert  long, obstructed, turbulent rapids; drops may contain very large unavoidable waves, holes or steep congested chutes with complex demanding routes; several of these factors may be combined at the upper level of this class; rescue is extremely difficult; above average rescue skills are essential. Risk of injury is real.

Class VI- Almost impossible difficulties of Class V are carried to the limits of navigability; very dangerous; risks are high and rescue may be impossible; for teams of experts only under favorable conditions. Risk of injury is high.

Do I need whitewater rafting experience to go on the Ocoee?

No experience necessary. Our highly trained guides in each boat will instruct you and give commands for you to follow. Relax and have fun.

What do I wear?

For the summer shorts or a bathing suit or swim trunks and a T-shirt are best.  Shoes that will stay on your feet are required, which can be river sandals, old tennis shoes, or nylon topped water shoes.  No Flip Flops or other shoes that won’t stay on your feet!  For the cooler weather we recommend synthetic fabrics such as polypropylene or nylon or synthetic fleece.  We have some “spray gear” to keep off the splash and if it is really cold we have wet suits at the outpost –all free to our guest.  

What else should I bring?

A change of clothes, a towel, sunscreen and shower items are recommended.

What about the weather?  

We do go rain or shine. You are going to get wet anyway and why not have a bunch of fun in the rain?  A baseball cap under your helmet will help keep the rain out of your eyes. Lightning – Usually thunder storms are intermittent and brief, passing through the area quickly. Exposure on the river is minimal due to the surrounding mountains and trees. We may delay our trips at the Outpost or at the river put-in if a storm is occurring at those trip times.

High water — If the river reaches a level that exceeds safety, the Ocoee River managers will close the river to rafting.  

What time should I arrive?

We recommend arriving about 15 to 20 minutes prior to your trip time to allow for restroom visits and completing your waivers.

How many people to a raft?  

Our Ocoee rafts are the highest quality 8 person NRS rafts available. Our normal seating is six customers and one guide per raft.  Our goal is to fill every raft to six customers. If you have fewer than six people you will probably be combined with other customers to fill the seats. If you have more than six you group will be broken down to fit in additional rafts. We always strive to make the most logical seating with consideration to our customer groups.

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