Whitewater Glossary

Bailer - An open-ended container or bucket used to remove water from a raft.

Chute - A narrow channel through which the flow of water is swifter and deeper than the normal flow.

whitewater rafting Duckie (or ducky) - An inflatable kayak.

Eddy - A current of reverse water flow sometimes creating a small whirlpool.

Gradient - Drop in elevation during the downstream flow of a river. Rate of gradient is usually expressed in number of feet decreased per mile.

Hole - A depression in the river caused by reverse water flow. Also may be called a hydraulic.

Hydraulic - A very large hole with reverse water flow.

Hypothermia - A dangerous lowering of body-core temperature, caused by losing heat faster than it is produced by the body. Hypothermia is a threat when water temperatures are below 60 degrees Fahrenheit or air temperatures are below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pool - An area of flatwater between rapids.

Pool Drop - A whitewater rapid, usually of short duration, that begins and ends with fairly calm water rather than continuous water flow.

Portage - To carry a raft around unraftable or unsafe rapids or falls.

Put-In - The starting point of a rafting trip, where rafts are put into the river.

Rapids - A series of waves and turbulences.

Riffle - A very small rapid or wave caused by a shallow sand bar or rocks extending across a stream bed.

Scout - To visually survey a rapid from the riverbank to select the best route.
Standing Waves - A series of stationary waves caused by water converging at the end of a tongue or a submerged object.

Take-Out - The point where the rafting trip ends and the rafts are removed from the river.

Throw Bag - A small bag containing a coiled rope that is used to rescue rafters in a river.

Tongue - A narrow depression between waves.

Whitewater - Moving water whose surface becomes turbulent or frothy by passing either over rocks, through a narrow river channel, or down a steep gradient.