There are some non-discriminating essential eligibility criteria that all participants have to meet. In some cases these responsibilities can be met with the assistance of a companion.
For raft trips each participant must have the ability to:
- Wear all protective equipment recommended/required by industry standards.
- Enter and exit the raft independently or with the assistance of a companion.
- Remain seated and balanced with the use of adaptive equipment, which does not fundamentally alter the activity, if necessary.
- Adaptive equipment cannot impede nor lessen the effectiveness of the safety procedures or equipment.
- No one may be strapped nor belted into a water craft.
- In the event of capsize: get out from under the water craft, remain face up in the water with the aid of a personal flotation device, and identify and make progress to and ascend upon the shoreline.
- For trips including overnight camping: mobility about the campsite independently or with the assistance of a companion.
- Refrain from illegal drug or alcohol use for at least six hours before the trip.
- Participants must be able to access the New River put-in at Cunard with or without the assistance of a companion; this consists of about fifty steps.
- While a bypass road exists we are frequently unable to obtain the gate combination from the National Park Service.
- At least one person in duckies must have the ability to move it through the water in a stable manner.
Physical Condition & Experience
- Whitewater rafting and related adventure activities require individual participation.
- The level of physical activity differs with each trip. As the difficulty level of the adventure increases, so do the risks and physical demands.
- Please discuss your group’s needs and goals with an ACE Adventure Resort Consultant so we can help you choose the right trip.
NOTE: Persons with epilepsy may not participate on horse rides. Please contact our stables at 888-743-3982 for more information.
Minimum Ages & Sizes
- Minimum age requirement is listed with each activity.
- The Lower New minimum height is 60”. This requirement allows a person’s foot to touch the floor and tuck his toes under the raft’s cross tube.
- For the Upper Gauley, the minimum height is 60” (under the age of 18) due to the extreme nature of this river section.
- Minimum chest size of a Coast Guard approved Type V PFD is 24”. Less than 24” and the PFD will not fit snugly, thus the person may not participate.
- Maximum chest size for a Coast Guard approved Type V PFD is 60”.
- Size, maturity, and experience may warrant an age exception. Please call to discuss options.
- For horseback riding, maximum weight is 250 lbs. unless rider is over 6’ tall. Minimum weight is 60 lbs., and minimum height is 50”. To discuss options, email: [email protected]
For your safety, ACE reserves the right to change age requirements, river section, or river if unusual water levels occur.
Medical Things to Consider Before Rafting:
While on your raft trip, you may be several hours away from professional medical help. While many of our guides and Trip Leaders have advanced qualifications, such as Wilderness First Responder, Wilderness First Aid, EMT, RN,as well as Multimedia First Aid and CPR, they may not be equipped to deal with your specific medical problem. Remember that you are responsible for your own safety at all times while on your trip and you must come prepared for dealing with any physical problems you may have.
Please remember that, in accordance with West Virginia state law, you are required to inform both your guide and your trip leader of any medications you are carrying and of any physical or psychological problems that may affect your safety or that of the trip.
We do not administer drugs… even aspirin… because of possible reactions.
Potentially Serious Medical Problems or Conditions
We’ve prepared the following list of potentially serious medical problems or conditions that are frequently found among our rafters. The list is NOT all-inclusive and you should get your doctor’s advice if you wonder whether you are physically and psychologically capable of taking a wilderness whitewater raft trip.
This is a disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to break. Any bone can be affected but of special concern are fractures of the hip and spine.
Women are four times more likely than men to develop osteoporosis. See http://www.nof.org/ for more information.
Rafting involves sudden movements of the raft as it is pushed by waves, bounced over (or into) rocks, etc. People get bumps and bruises and even lacerations from paddles, coolers, D-rings and valves on the raft, etc. Bones can be broken and this risk increases in cases of osteoporosis. Smoking hinders the bones ability to heal. If you have osteoporosis, we recommend that you restrict your rafting activities to the Upper New River.
Physical and Psychological Impairments to Swimming
On rafting trips, people are often thrown from the raft in turbulent water. Rafting is not a good way of overcoming fear of the water. Persons with physical impairments to swimming are at increased risk. ACE provides several trips which are less demanding and, while we do take impaired persons on all river sections, it is only with knowledge and belief on the part of the individual that he or she understands and accepts the greater-than-normal risk.
We recommend against rafting if you are a good candidate for a heart attack.
You should consider not rafting if you have had a heart attack in the last 6 months or if you are male ( 30 -40 ) or female ( 40-50 ) with 2 of the following risk factors or male over 40 or female over 50 with one of the following risk factors:
- Diagnosed high blood pressure
- Diabetic regulating medication
- High cholesterol level or lipid abnormality
- Parent / sibling family history of heart attack coronary bypass or sudden cardiac death before age 55
- Unexplained chest pains, pressure, shortness of breath, palpitations, sweats, exertions, dizziness, or fainting spells
These are wilderness trips and you may be several hours from a hospital. If you feel that you must go on a raft trip, please instruct both your guide and your Trip Leader as to what to do if you have a seizure.
You should maintain fuel and fluid status to minimize dehydration and low blood sugar effects on the brain. Please reconsider rafting if you have had a seizure during the last year or if you are not current on your medication.
Diabetes (brittle and coma)
Persons with brittle diabetes should carry a container of fruit juice in case their blood sugar becomes too low.
Diabetics who are bringing insulin or other medicine should tell both their guide and trip leader what, if any, special arrangements should be made to accommodate their needs.
Persons with uncontrolled blood sugar levels or persons with recurrent hospital visits for elevated or low blood sugar levels should not consider rafting.
Hemophilia is a genetic disorder of the blood-clotting system. This disorder can cause the person to bleed freely. On a raft trip, we are not prepared to provide emergency care for this disorder. If you insist on rafting, you must instruct your guide and Trip Leader how to deal with an incident.
The hearing impaired must realize that they must watch the paddler in front of them and mimic that paddler’s actions. For example, when the person in front changes from a forward to a back stroke in response to the guide’s command, the hearing impaired person must also make the change. If possible, hearing impaired persons should sit directly in front of the guide.
On occasion, we do take blind paddlers on the river. A blind paddler must understand that your risk, should you fall out of the boat, is considerably higher than that of a sighted person.
Blind persons, not being able to anticipate hits, are more likely to fall out of the boat. Blind swimmers can not determine exactly where to swim to safety and are at much greater risk during a whitewater swim.
You should get your doctor’s advice and permission to raft. Remember to tell the doctor that rafters are likely to be severely jostled and even thrown out of the raft. Extended rough swims, including bouncing off rocks, are common on river trips.
Bee Stings (other allergies)
Because we are not allowed to administer drugs due to possible reactions, we don’t carry Epi-pens or any other drugs to deal with bee stings. If you are allergic, we strongly recommend that you bring multiple quantities of whatever medicine you use. Because you may become separated from the rest of your party, carry at least one dose on your person and give the others to your guide and Trip Leader. Bees will usually be most prevalent at Lunch.
We recommend that you do not go rafting if you have severe asthma. If you decide to go despite this warning, you should bring a minimum of two full relief inhalers. You should keep one on your person and give the other to your guide. Do not bring a single inhaler and give it to your guide as you and your guide (and inhaler) might become separated during a long swim.
Normally, when you inhale, your chest wall expands, increasing lung volume and breathing capacity. Air flows freely through the airways. With asthma, airways become partially obstructed and trap air in the lungs. Asthma is an inflammatory disease and airway constriction, swelling, and damage to the lining of the airways are often the result of this inflammation.
More than 14 million Americans have asthma and nearly 6,000 die from it each year. Aspirin and other non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs can worsen an asthmatic condition and cause sudden severe attacks. Tylenol-type drugs are apparently OK. Some medications for high blood pressure, glaucoma, migraine headache, heart, thyroid or liver conditions can also aggravate an asthmatic condition. Beta-blockers can cause airway restriction.
Cold weather activities such as skiing, hockey, scuba diving and whitewater rafting are very likely to aggravate asthma. Eighty to ninety percent of asthmatics have difficulty breathing during vigorous exercise. These attacks, called Exercise Induced Bronchospasm (EIB), are most likely due to cooling of the airways and drying of the airways from loss of water. Breathing cold, dry air seems to make attacks worse. Symptoms may peak about 5 to 10 minutes after cessation of exercise and will usually take 20-30 minutes to go away. The attacks can occur even if the proper medication is being properly taken.
Prevention of Asthma Attacks:
- Do not smoke. Smoking irritates and inflames your airways. Breathing secondhand tobacco smoke can trigger an attack.
- Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water daily.
- Use anti-inflammatory preventers on a regular basis. These are slow-acting and may take hours or even weeks to work. Corticosteroids are known to be the most effective preventers but they must be used on a regular basis and do not have immediate effects. This means that these preventers have no value in an emergency.
- Have the victim stop all activity.
- Keep the victim in an upright position. Sit them with legs crossed and elbows on the knees. This will help relax the shoulders and may help the breathing. Do not lay the victim on his or her back.
- Talk to the victim in a reassuring and calm manner.
- Supply the appropriate medication from the victim’s inhaler.
We do not carry inhalers! Generally, give 6 to 8 puffs from an inhaler. Repeat every 4 minutes if little relief is noticed. It is more detrimental to withhold the medication than it is to not supply it when needed. Bronchodilators/relievers are used to relieve the bronchoconstriction. It has been shown that frequent, regular use of bronchodilators may actually worsen asthma.
- In case of respiratory arrest, begin CPR.
- Do not drink a lot of water, just the normal amount.
- Do not breathe warm moist air from a shower.
- Do not breathe into a paper bag held over the nose.
- Do not use over-the-counter cold remedies without the advice of your doctor.
The above information is from selected web sources. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information. We recommend that you see your doctor or, at least, do your own search.
RESPONSIBILITY & SAFETY
Your Responsibilities Under The Law
The West Virginia Whitewater Responsibility Act (WV Code 20-3B-1 through 5) imposes the following duties on participants in whitewater expeditions:
- Prohibits the use of any alcohol or illegal drugs before or during any raft trip. Prohibits harmful or negligent conduct or interference with safety of others on the trip.
- Requires each participant disclose, prior to the trip, any known health problems, medical disabilities, or prescribed medicines.
- Participants must also inform ACE of any personal injury or illness sustained while on the trip.
- ACE does not provide accident insurance. You may want to purchase trip insurance before leaving home.
Keeping You Safe – Safety is always our number one priority
- Commercial whitewater adventures and related high-adventure activities are proven to be safe, but all such activities have their inherent risks.
- ACE and its affiliates assume no responsibility and cannot be held liable for personal injury or property loss.
Liability Indemnification Form
- Before an activity, each person is required to sign a liability indemnification form.
- This form includes a photographic “model release.”
- Each participant is required to attend a mandatory safety briefing before each activity.
- A copy of the liability indemnification form will be mailed upon request.
- Minor’s Liability Indemnification Form
ALL persons under the age of 18 must have an ACE release form signed by at least one parent prior to participating in ANY activity. (If possible, BOTH parents should sign the waiver.) Without a signed waiver, the youth may NOT participate in ANY ACE activity.
If a minor’s parents are not attending an activity, we will mail the form upon request. Or it is available <here>