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Use this chart below to get yourself familiar with the different river conditions and Know when it is safe to be on a river. What does the River Class mean?

International Scale of River Difficulty

 

Class I.

  Easy  

Waves small, passages clear; no serious obstacles

Class II

Medium

Rapids of moderate difficulty with passages clear.

Class III

Difficult

Waves numerous, high, irregular; rocks; eddies; rapids with passages clear though narrow, requiring expertise in maneuvering.

Class IV

Very Difficult

Long rapids; waves powerful, irregular; dangerous rocks; boiling eddies; powerful and precise maneuvering required.

Class V

Extremely Difficult

Exceedingly difficult, long and violent rapids, following each other almost without interruption; riverbed extremely obstructed; big drops; violent currents; very steep gradient.

Class VI

Unrunnable

Don't even try - if you fall in (hopefully with a life preserver and helmet) float down feet first to avoid the rocks hitting your tail bone and try to get to the side to crawl out.

P

Portage

Boats must be carried along the river bank to get around an unrunnable stretch of river.
 
 
 
Flow rates or CFS (Cubic Feet per Second)
CFS is another indication of the condition of the river. 
So it's good idea to have this information too when planning a rafting trip.
A river that has10,000 CFS is going to be a wild ride.

You might also look at the Reynolds Number.
 

 

 

 

 

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