Kids have fun learning how to stay safe while whitewater rafting - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Kids have fun learning how to stay safe while whitewater rafting

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FAYETTE COUNTY -

With warmer weather expected for the holiday weekend, white water rafting experts are expecting their first big crowd of the season.

59 News visited the New River Gorge National River for their annual Water Safety Weekend presentation. Kids and adults were bursting with excitement on Saturday as they learned how to stay safe while out on the water.

National Park Service Ranger Nate Freier walks through with a hands-on demonstration.

"It's not just for kids, adults came too, they're jumping in the boat, we show them where to sit in the boat and how to attach the life jackets and how to fit them and make sure they're snug on them. We get them in with the paddles so they know what to do with them so they're not waving them around hitting each other," Freier said.

Freier rocked the raft for the kids to give them a grasp for what the waters would feel like.

"Then I showed people how to use these bags. If anybody falls out on the river, this bag has about 50-60 feet of rope. They use this to throw it out to anybody in the water that needs help," he told us.

Not only did kids get a demonstration on the raft, they also were taught how to save someone's life. Kids showed off their excellent aim by throwing the long rope through the center of a large tire. They told 59 News what they enjoyed learning the most.

"I had fun learning with my family and I learned that now I can go white water rafting because I know the rules," explained 10 year old Laura Ballard.

"It's fantastic!" shouted 9-year-old Dylan Thomas.

Why is it exciting to learn how to be safe?

"Because it was fun and I learned a lot of stuff," Thomas told us.

What'd you learn?

"How to get in a raft and save people."

Do you want to go white water rafting now?

"Yeah!"

White water rafting season kicks off this weekend and typically runs until mid-October.