Fun rapids and stunning scenery in the Sulphur Gates Canyon just outside Grande Cache.
Keeping Kids Safe and Happy
Every parent has been there, you’re trying to do a really cool or fun thing with your kids, and it’s not going as well as you envisioned. Or you’re really nervous about the risk. But we’ve always been kid-aware. When owner Gina started the business, her kids were only 6 and 9. They came on the river all the time, and she needed to know they were safe. Gina also has a life-long fear of water, so that makes her a lot more aware of risks. As the company founder, she set the direction for our safety policies and guest care, and well, she’s a mom! You could say our approach to safety and fun with kids on the river is Mom-Approved!
When you raft with us, we make sure it’s fun and safe. You just get to relax. And there’s something magical that happens on a river. The sights, sounds… it even smells amazing. Kids are usually entranced, but during float when they might get bored, we tell them riddles or jokes and teach them about paddling. Plus we have a secret weapon guaranteed to bring the fun – WATER GUNS!
Why our trips are safer and more fun:
- We use rowing frames on our boats, which means the guide has greater control of the raft than with just a paddle.
- Handling kids is part of our training, and most of our guides have experience working with kids.
- Cookies and hot chocolate finish every trip! Even us big kids love that!
- YUP, WATER GUNS!! On the slow sections, we pull them out and soon everyone is acting like kids.
Want to Know More?
A big part of rafting safely is the equipment:
- Full wetsuits and jackets in a wide selection of sizes to fit kids.
- Helmets designed for whitewater with ABS shells and EVA foam liners.
- Extra layers for kids: they get cold fast, so we make sure they’re warm.
Over 23 years of paddling rivers with kids means we’ve dealt with most situations! We often manage large groups doing multiple activities and camping – and we handle the food, too! We’re prepared and ready for most anything.
- We believe everyone should be able to go rafting, including kids with special needs.
- We teach school groups about river safety, as well as take them rafting.
- We’re an approved Scouts Canada activity provider.
We’re one of the most reputable companies in Western Canada: we’ve logged 23 years of safe operation on six rivers rated from class 1 to 4+. Our founder, Gina Goldie, is president of the Professional River Outfitters Association of Alberta and on the executive team of the BC River Outfitters Association. In 2019, she oversaw updating the Alberta Rafting Safety Standards and in 2020, she co-authored the Covid-19 Best Practices for River Outfitters in both provinces.
Our owner, Johannes Zwart, has taught Swiftwater Rescue since 2001 and has been a Raft Guide Examiner certifying guides since 2005. Besides our own staff and members of the public, he has certified members of the Canadian Forces, the Canadian Rangers and Search & Rescue.
Do you have a wetsuit small enough?
- Wetsuits and jackets start at children’s size 6 and we have a wide selection of sizes.
- Kids have to weigh close to 50 pounds, as whitewater PFDs (lifejackets) are rated that way.
How safe is rafting?
- Rafting is statistically less dangerous than recreational bicycling or skiing*
- We’ve rafted without serious incident since 1998 and we have an extensive Risk Management program.
- Check out our ‘Is Rafting Safe?’ page for more information.
What if it rains or they get cold?
- In some ways, rafting is the BEST outdoor activity to do when it is raining because you’re dressed to get wet!
- Whitewater trips go rain or shine, but we add more layers when it’s raining and cold.
- In cases of hard, sustained rain, we cancel and refund our trip.
Do my kids need to know how to swim?
- Many of our guests can’t swim and some are afraid of water.
- Kids under 13 sit in the middle where it’s safer.
- We teach everyone what to do if they fall out of the raft.
- Our lifejackets are designed to keep you safe, even in rapids.
The Best Part is the Giggling
Taking the kids out in the raft always creates some wonderful and hilarious memories. I am glad they are looking out for the adults, safety first!