River Etiquette

Respect the quiet zone. This is the most important thing you can do to maintain good relations with residents.


  • Keep your group's rafts together. The maximum group size is seven rafts.
  • The downstream boat generally has the right-of-way. If you are intentionally playing or surfing, yield to oncoming rafts.
  • Ask for permission before you pass a slower group. Pass only in a safe stretch of river.
  • On busy weekends
    • There will probably be a continuous line of rafts ahead of you. Stay in the current line and don't pass at all. Passing won't save much time, and only increases contact and congestion.
    • Try to create space for your group by slowing down whenever other groups are not right behind you (is space or time the more important factor?).
    • If you want to re-enter the river current, look back upstream and wait for a break in the traffic.
    • If you are a slower moving group on the gorge, eddy out below Fowler's, above Satan's and above Lower Haystack to allow other groups to pass.
    • If you are going to waterfight in the gorge, move your group out of the current line


  • Maintain at least 30 seconds between your group and the group ahead of you. At the top of a rapid, this is 150-200 feet (old version language).
  • Group size regulations require enough space for another boat between two groups of the same outfitter. Define spacing by time, or distance at several key points.
    • Chili Bar - your company's group ahead of you must be out of sight before leaving Chili Bar pool.
    • Meatgrinder Rapid at lower (<1400 cfs) releases: allow the last boat in the group ahead of you to get beyond the wrap rock above rhino rock before your group enters the rapid.
    • Trouble Maker - the last boat of the group ahead should clear gunsight rock before you enter the tongue at the rapid's entrance.
    • Highway Rapid at fish flows: allow the last boat in the group ahead of you to get beyond the top section of the rapid before your group enters the rapid.
    • Fowler's Rock - the last boat of the group ahead should be out of sight before your enter the tongue along the gravel bar at the top of the rapid.
    • Satan's Cesspool - the last boat of the group ahead should be beyond lost hat before you leave the calm water of the pool.


  • Never water fight in the quiet zone. If people try to start a water fight, move your rafts far enough apart to discourage the water fight.
  • Noise while surfing blue house eddy or playing games in Coloma lake must be kept at conversational levels.


  • Know and use the five basic hand signals (stop, OK, eddy out, swimmer, point positive)
  • Set upstream safety whenever lines are in the water.
  • Except in emergencies, get close enough so you do not have to yell.


Think about positive communication, consideration of others, and consequences of what you are doing.