Windham Boy Scout Troop 805 recently had an exciting overnight rafting trip on the Kennebec River at Three Rivers Whitewater Rafting in The Forks, Maine.
Kevin Day, an assistant Scoutmaster for 805, said he knew the rapids could throw a person out of the raft, but he did not expect it to happen.
"Our day on the river started with an exciting, yet tense situation,” Day began. “The first set of rapids we encountered were so strong that one of the rafters behind us was thrown from his boat. He was able to float down through a dangerous section of the river using his lifejacket, but was unable to reach his guide for rescue.
Day continued, “Fortunately, one of the Troop 805 rafts was in a back-eddie close to the rafter. The Scouts and Scout leaders were able to pull the man into their boat and rescue him. They floated down river and returned him to his boat where he got medical attention for cuts and scrapes on his legs. And this was all in the first ten minutes of the trip!"
Boy Scouts on the trip were Aiden Day, Kevin Ingalls, Dean Preston, Tyler Lewis, Owen Watson, Ezra Stevens and Tucker Labbe.
The scouts camped out in two, eight-man cabins and played Frisbee in the big field at the camp. After a campfire, they settled into their bunks.
The next day, the rafting over 14 miles of the Kennebec River began. The first river section the Scouts rafted was called “Taster,” because it gives you a little taste of how the whitewater feels.
Next, the troop went down “Big Mama.”
One Scout, Aiden Day said he got a thrill on this stretch.”Big Mama was harder, but was one of the most fun ones. I was in the front along with Owen Watson and on that run we got splashed a ton! One time I even went flying in the air, but managed to stay on the raft.”
Paul Preston, an assistant scoutmaster, said he enjoyed the start of the trip the most.
“My favorite part of the day was at the beginning when we went down the stairs with our raft, seeing the river and seeing everyone’s anticipation to go down the river,” he said.
According to American Whitewater, a non-profit organization, the incidence of commercially guided rafting fatalities is estimated to range from one death per 250,000 person visits for an individual raft trip.” There have only been 10 reported deaths in Maine from whitewater trips since 1975.
Acute rafting injuries are most often due to contact with another rafter’s paddle or other equipment. The next most common injury is the rafter hitting an object while “swimming.”