You may find yourself in the river without benefit of a raft between you and the water, either because the guide has said you're in a safe rapid to "swim" or because strong turbulence has bounced you overboard. Either way, follow some basic safety guidelines and you'll make the most of it.
• Keep your head and feet up. Lift your legs in front of you so your body is parallel to the surface; this will prevent your feet from getting caught on rocks beneath the surface and provide a shock absorber if you collide with a boulder or log.
• Face downstream. You need to see where you're going, and if there are waves, you can time taking a breath between them.
• Stay toward the middle of the river. The water is deepest there. Use your arms in a backstroke motion to steer if necessary. If your raft is out of sight, guide yourself toward a calm spot where you can safely float and wait for assistance.
• Listen to your guide. He or she will tell you when to approach the raft and on which side, then will haul you in.