So, you're all set for an epic stag do. The lads have been invited, the accommodation is booked, the pubs and clubs are lined up, and the grand finale is a white water rafting trip. You are on course for some serious fun and adventure, but it's wise to be aware of the pitfalls which can put a dampener on the party. Here are five tips for making sure that your adrenaline pumping ride down the rapids doesn't turn into a trauma scene from Casualty:
- Booze is likely to feature strongly on a stag do, but it doesn't mix well with stomach-churning whirlpools and bouncing off rocks. Don't forget that white water rafting is an adventure sport and unless you take safety seriously, it can be dangerous. If people get completely wasted the night before, they are unlikely to enjoy the trip (that's if you can get them out of their beds at all!) Also, any drunken mucking about in the raft is going to have serious consequences, so do as your professional guide tells you.
- Find out in advance if anyone in the party cannot swim. They can still go white water rafting, but your fellow rafters and your guide will need to know so they can be kept safe. Life jackets should be worn by everyone (as well as helmets), whether they can swim or not, in case they are knocked unconscious or dragged under by the current.
- Whether you are staying in the UK or going abroad, give yourself a break and book your rafting trip with an experienced outfit with lots of local knowledge. They can sort out accommodation, transport and entertainment for you, saving you a lot of hard work and research.
- If you are going to a country which has water-borne diseases such as dysentery or intestinal parasites you need to be very careful or you could end up with a very sick group of people, just in time for the wedding! Unless your guide tells you it is safe, never drink the river water.
- Even if the rafting trip is a secret, make sure that everyone brings the right kind of gear. Swimming trunks or clothes that can take a battering are best. You don't want anyone wimping out because they don't want to spoil their best T-shirt. A pair of old trainers might be useful too, but all the safety equipment should be provided by your guide, and if it's cold they'll have wetsuits too.