Crafts and Whitewater rivers

 Canoe and kayak resources

Whitewater rivers and Choice of craft

Rowing crafts

include rafts, Sportyaks and dories. They are generally operated with oars mounted on the craft or attached to a frame that is fixed to the craft.

Rafts: As discussed in this book, rafts are inflatable crafts, varying in design from inexpensive one- and two-person single-chamber toys made of vinyl to professional crafts with several air chambers and a cloth fabric coated with a rubberized strong material. The cheap rafts without a fabric base will not stand the wear and tear of river use, nor will they respond adequately to control by oar or paddle; they should not be considered for any kind of river trip above a Class I whitewater rating. They are usually too insubstantial to be inflated to adequate air pressure and do not respond well to rowing. They are sometimes paddled.

Most of the smaller rafts

are equipped with oarlocks of some kind, but many of them are unreliable. If rafts do not come with oarlocksor if they do, but the oarlocks are inadequate—it may pay to build or buy a frame that can be fixed to the raft. Heavy-duty oarlocks made of wood or metal can then be mounted on the frame, giving the rower a better position for powering the craft and controlling its movements. Dories. These hard-hulled, specialized rowboats have been developed for river use. They have heavy rocker, exaggerated bow-to-stern (front-to-back) convexity, flared sides, and a sharp prow, forward part of the boat's hull. They are popular among fishermen, who often equip them with a outboard motor. Since this book deals with muscle powered boats, it will not discuss the use of motors. The dory is powered and maneuvered with a single set of oars.


These dinghies are small, highly specialized plastic rowboats ,also called "plastic bathtubs" designed as one-person fishing boats. They fit nicely into the bed of a pickup truck, and they are lightweight and maneuverable, extremely riverworthy, and fun to row with a single pair of 5-6-foot oars. However, they do not move through the water with any speed and are not recommended for slow-water or saltwater trips. Sportyaks come with built-in oarlocks, but you can improve reliability by adding a metal frame to which a heavy-duty oarlock and even a suspended seat are attached.

Single-handed sailing dinghies - the popular sailing dinghies, builders, a lot of reviews and tech tips

Paddle Crafts:

Paddle crafts include inflatable boats, canoes, kayaks, of two basic kinds: rafts and inflatable canoes/kayaks. They are powered and maneuvered by paddles, either single or double bladed crafts.

In the world of modern boating, there are two basic differences between canoes and kayaks, since both may be decked and look similar: canoes are paddled with a singlebladed paddle, kayaks with a double-bladed paddle; canoes are paddled from a kneeling position or from a seat suspended well above water level, kayaks from a sitting position on a low seat at or near water level. These may seem subtle distinctions, but they are important differences.

Canoes: Canoes are long, narrow, hard-hulled crafts patterned after Native American designs. Aesthetic and practical, canoes come in numerous forms, sizes, colors, and materials, from traditional wood-and-canvas to space-age fabrics. Some canoes are better for still-water use on lakes; others, for moving water in rivers.

The 154 SS Roque River with rugged-polyethylene hull.This Recration Canoe by Old Town (pic below) features a great all around design that features molded-in cup holders, 2 persons contoured seats.

Old Town canoe - Aesthetic and practical

Most people think of canoes as open crafts, but many modern canoes are decked to enable them to operate more effectively in heavy whitewater. People do run Class III and IV. even Class V rapids in open and decked canoes.

XXL kayaks - high weight capacity and stability boats