Essential Eligibility Requirements

Essential Eligibility Criteria

Orange Torpedo Trips, LLC

The following are physical and mental eligibility criteria for all participants on any Orange Torpedo trip.*

  • Ability to comprehend written and verbal information regarding boat types available, and to make a rational assessment of risks and physical requirements associated with each craft for you as an individual and your dependents; and to assume the risks of your assessment and participation in a particular type of boat.
  • If choosing a raft, having the ability to remain seated and balanced while in a whitewater craft and holding on with at least one hand.
  • If choosing an inflatable kayak, having the ability to follow verbal and visual commands and the physical ability to sit up in the boat and paddle while following a guide through whitewater.
  • Wear a Type V Coast Guard-approved personal floatation device (maximum chest size of 56 inches). Wearing leg straps may be required to ensure proper fit. Where required, properly wear a helmet.
  • Ability to independently or with the reasonable assistance of a companion, board and disembark a boat four to ten times each day. This may require stepping into the boat, and then maneuvering your body over and across tubes and fixed objects into a seated position.
  • Ability to navigate shoreline terrain, including safely maneuvering around and across boulders, rocks, and slippery and uneven surfaces, under low branches, and around vegetation unaided or with the assistance of a designated friend or family member. This includes the ability to maintain your balance near precipitous ledges or cliffs.
  • Ability to independently swim in whitewater or swift currents while wearing a PFD. This includes being an active participant in your own rescue, including having the ability to (a) keep your airway passages sealed while underwater, and regain control of your breathing when being submitted to repeated submersion under waves or currents; (b) orient yourself to new “in-river” surroundings; (c) reposition yourself in the water to different swimming positions; (d) swim aggressively to a boat or to shore in whitewater; (e) receive a rescue rope, paddle, or human assistance, and possibly let go of the same; (f) get out from under an overturned boat.
  • Ability to swim 100 yards in flat water while wearing a PFD.
  • Ability to assist another passenger who has fallen out of a raft by pulling them back in.
  • Ability to follow both verbal and non-verbal instructions given by guides in all situations, including during stressful or dangerous situations, and to effectively communicate with guides and other guests.
  • Ability to carry personal dry bags and other personal gear (as heavy as 20-30 pounds) uphill from the boats to your camping location and back the next morning, independently, or with the assistance of a friend, family member, or guide. (This only applies on multi-day trips)
  • Ability on trail-oriented trips to hike without assistance for miles on rough and uneven trail with steep cliff drops off the side.
  • The ability to maintain your own safety in an environment where allergen exposure and cross-contamination may occur.
  • Ability to manage all personal care independently, or with the assistance of a friend or family member.
  • The ability to manage all personal medications, including dosing and administration, independently or with the assistance of a friend or family member.
  • Ability to remain adequately fed, hydrated, and properly dressed so as to avoid environmental injuries such as hypothermia, heat related illness, sunburn, and frostbite.
  • The ability to participate in a group setting, in a remote environment, without negatively impacting or jeopardizing the health or safety of the other trip participants or crew.

While Orange Torpedo Trips is committed to inclusivity and making river adventures accessible to the broadest collection of people possible, the above criteria, if not met, will disqualify a person from participating in a river trip with Orange Torpedo Trips. The criteria exist for your own safety and that of all trip participants. None of the criteria are meant to discriminate on the basis of any physical or mental disability, and are applied uniformly to all potential trip participants, irrespective of the presence or absence of any disability. Orange Torpedo Trips is committed to making reasonable modifications to any trip for any person to help ensure they can participate, so long as those modifications do not fundamentally alter the nature, or significantly increase the risks, of the trip.

For children of any age participating in river trips who may need assistance from an adult, these criteria will be modified to allow the child’s parent to provide minimal assistance with tasks as needed.



The following paragraphs are meant to further inform all potential participants of the expectations for all participants in order to promote a safe, enjoyable experience for everyone on a trip. There may be requirements, whether physical or mental, that are not specifically applied “essential eligibility criteria,” but that help our guests understand the reality of being on a wilderness river trip.

Our primary goal is to mitigate the risks associated with adventure trips in a wilderness environment. The trip involves physical exertion and exposure to the elements, including cold water and the potential for heat, sun, wind, rain, and snow. We have experience accommodating people with a wide range of physical disabilities and/or health conditions. However, individuals who are overweight, lack conditioning, or have other physical limitations or ailments that interfere with the realistic encounters on a wilderness river can endanger themselves, other guests, and the guides. Please consult your doctor if you have medical or health conditions that could impact your ability to participate in this outdoor adventure.

It is very important that each trip participant take an active role in their own safety.

You will likely encounter wilderness conditions that you are unfamiliar with, and those conditions may change rapidly. It is critical to pay attention at all times, to be aware of your surroundings, and to avoid taking unnecessary risks. Even a non-life-threatening injury in a wilderness setting can become a major emergency for you and can endanger the entire group. Swimming alone or hiking alone is discouraged. Excessive alcohol consumption or illicit drug use is not tolerated. Using common sense and following both the explicit instruction and the lead of your guides can go a long way towards keeping yourself and the group safe. Some obvious things to avoid in camp and on shore (by way of example) are: approaching wild animals, not paying attention to what is above or around your tent site that could harm you, not paying attention to hazards such as poison ivy and rattlesnakes, and walking near precipitous ledges.

River trips, particularly those involving whitewater, are inherently risky. While the risk of a trip is part of what makes it an exciting adventure, you must be entirely respectful of the risk that such a trip poses. It is important that you are confident in your swimming ability, and your ability to stay calm in the event you become a non-voluntary swimmer. Your odds of becoming a non-voluntary swimmer change with the classification of a rapid, boat selection, and environmental factors. Choosing an inflatable kayak greatly increases the likelihood that you will become a non-voluntary swimmer. On class IV and greater whitewater, the probability that you will become a non-voluntary swimmer, regardless of your craft choice, is significant. While choosing a lower classification trip reduces the odds of a non-voluntary swim, it is always possible even on class I and II trips, regardless of your craft choice.

A swim in whitewater is much more difficult and physically draining than swimming in flat water. Swimming in cold water can cause a gasping effect on your respiratory system. This can be overcome by focusing on your breathing and calming yourself down. Swimming in cold water will also much more quickly sap your energy and decrease muscle function than swimming in warmer water. While our guides are highly trained and will do their absolute best to rescue you, a successful rescue is greatly hampered by a swimmer who is unprepared for a swim in whitewater, who fails to actively participate in their own rescue, and who is not able to follow directions while under stress. You will receive a detailed orientation talk at the start of your river trip, but you can get a better idea of what to expect by watching a version of an orientation talk here:

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