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What To Do If Your Raft Flips Over

November 6, 2013 March 15th, 2020
An extreme rafting trip with Smoky Mountain Outdoors.

Although it is usually a rare occurrence, inflatable rafts do occasionally flip over. If you are rafting in the Smokies with our team there is no need to worry if your raft capsizes! Our guides are all rafting experts with over 20 trips down the Pigeon River under their belts. There are a few techniques we use to get our rafts right side up again:

1. Flip Line

This is the most common trick for re-righting rafts. In this technique, your guide will stand on top of the upside down raft and attach a biner to the side of the raft. A biner (short for carabiner) is a metal clip typically attached to a rope that is used in climbing, window cleaning, construction and (of course) rafting. Once the biner is attached to the raft, the guide will tie some webbing to the biner, hold onto the line and lean in the opposite direction from where the biner is attached. When done correctly, this motion turns the raft over to the right side.

2. Knee Flipping

Knee flipping is great for smaller rafts without much gear attached. To knee flip your raft, you grab onto the webbing on the underside of the raft and push your knees into the outer tube. As you lift your body out of the water and lean back, you will re-right the raft.

3. T-grip re-flip

A T- grip refers to the handle of your paddle. In this technique, you insert the handle into one of the holes you will find around the floor perimeter of your raft. After the handle is inserted, stand on the top of your raft and lean backwards, just like the flip line technique.

At Smoky Mountain Outdoors, our number one priority is safety. All of our guides are certified in first aid and carry a waterproof first aid kit on every trip. We offer both mild and wild rides down the upper Pigeon and Lower Pigeon river, so guests of every skill level can have a fun and safe day rafting in the Smokies. Visit our Rafting Trips page to see all of the excellent packages we have to offer!