FAQ's for Whitewater Rafting
About Crab Apple
First, let us answer a question we hear frequently:
Crab Apple is family owned and operated with family members being part of every trip. Since 1983, we have worked hard to maintain an atmosphere and a staff that is committed to treat each guest as the most important guest of the year. We have grown to become the largest outfitter in New England. Our riverside base camps in Maine and Massachusetts are unmatched in New England. Our equipment emphasizes safety and personal comfort - rafts and inflatable kayaks that are the perfect size for each trip, clean wetsuits and comfortable life jackets. Also, the "little things", such as excellent food, friendly reservationists and a veteran staff that returns year after year. Finally, experience - Crab Apple runs more trips each season on the Deerfield and Kennebec Rivers than any other outfitter. More trips means better guides and better rides!
River Related Questions
SPRING because of higher water, bigger rapids and LOWER PRICES. Spring also brings a beautiful array of color and blooms.
SUMMER because water levels are guaranteed on our DAM CONTROLLED RIVERS and the water warms to 70 degrees and higher.
FALL because the water is still comfortable, the crowds are gone and the foliage is spectacular!
In other words, there is no "best" time to raft. All three seasons offer special features.
YES! Our rivers are dam controlled and we get guaranteed release schedules on each of our rivers.
These releases guarantee good whitewater throughout our season.
Comfortable swim wear and flexible, secure footwear (sneakers, river sandals, water shoes) are the basics.
Cap or visor, sunscreen and sunglasses (with strap) are also good ideas. Running shorts worn over swim wear maximizes comfort for women.
Important Clothing for Spring / Fall and cool / rainy days:
- For feet: wool or fleece socks. Very important in Spring!
- For torso and legs: wool, fleece, synthetics (capilene, polypropylene), windbreaker, wind pants to shed the water
- Do not wear cotton if cold or raining—cotton cools the body when wet!
- Fleece socks, wetsuit gloves and polypropylene are available in our store.
Wetsuits are required in Spring and Fall. During the summer, we make a recommendation based on the day's weather. If you don't own your own, we rent wetsuit jackets ($10), overalls ($10) and boots ($5) or all three for $20. We maintain over 400 wetsuits sized from Youth Small (50 lbs) to XXXXL. Each suit is washed after each use and stored and dried indoors for maximum comfort.
If you are joining a commercial outfitter for a rafting trip, you have a shorter list of "to bring" items than if you are on a private trip. The outfitter will typically provide food and drink, all rafting equipment, etc. that you may need during your trip. On a commercial trip think of the items to bring in 3 categories – things to wear on the river, things to wear after the trip and what to take on the raft.
It is wise to bring more warm clothing than you think you might need on the river. For after the trip, bring a towel, change of clothes and shoes. $$$ - Each of our three locations houses a fun store where you may purchase pictures of your trip in addition to a fine selection of apparel and souvenirs. In Maine, our pub and restaurant will also be open for relaxing after trips. In Massachusetts, our snack bar will be open for a drink or snack on our deck overlooking the river.
Rapids and rivers are subjectively rated Class I through Class V for commercial rafting. Ratings depend on the volume of water, elevation drop in the river, type of watercraft, ease of rescue and recovery and a paddler's experience. To simplify this for our guests, we can divide them into three groups:
- Family/Introductory—an introduction to rafting, option for families with younger children.
Trips range from Class I - III.
Examples: Deerfield-Fife Brook Section, Dead River—Summer, Half-Day Family Raft Trips.
- Adventure—for guests already familiar with whitewater or new paddlers who are gung-ho and ready for a real thrill.
These trips range from Class III-IV and may include a Class V or two.
Examples: Kennebec, Deerfield-Monroe Bridge, West, Miller's
- World Class—trips for guests who preferably have whitewater experience.
Rapids will be long, continuous and will range from Class III - V.
Examples: Dead River High Water, Go For It trips
In Maine, our trips are both photographed and videotaped. Our videographer kayaks down the river with the rafts and gets spectacular footage every day! Both the photos and video are shown in a large, comfortable viewing area at our base after the trip. In Massachusetts and Vermont, photos of your trip are shown at our base after each trip. Our new digital photography set-up is awesome! We also print all of our pictures from both locations "in-house", guaranteeing higher quality for our guests.
We offer two river lunches depending on the trip you choose - a fresh, hearty picnic style buffet with homemade desserts or a delicious steak, chicken, fish or vegetarian option barbecue served back at our base. We take great pride in the fact that the food at Crab Apple is one of the highlights of our trips. Each meal is prepared fresh daily and includes homemade salads, desserts and seasonal options like soups and cider. Please make us aware of any dietary needs for someone in your party and we will gladly accommodate.
Loved my guide - can I leave them a gratuity?
We hope and expect that you have had a great time with your Crab Apple river guide. As in any service industry, if you feel that their service and expertise has exceeded expecations, than a gratuity can be accepted. Gratuities are kept by the individual, not pooled, and are always much appreciated.
Money Saving Ideas
Rafting rates are lower in the early and late season on many of our trips. Weekday rates are lower than weekend rates. You can save money by rafting with us two or more days in a row. Group leaders can earn FREE trips by bringing a group of friends or family or lower each person's ticket price depending on the number in your group. Finally, check out our Internet Specials for upcoming discounts and special offers.
Yes. We offer a choice of discounted rates or free trips based on the number of people in your group. See our Group Outings page for details. We also offer discounts for YOUTH GROUPS. Check out our Boy and Girl Scout, School, College, YMCA, Recreation Department, Summer Camp and Religious Youth Group Programs.
We run a family business and are sensitive to families' needs. Our two most popular river trips, the Kennebec and Deerfield - Fife Brook Section have Adult and Children's prices. Several other trips also include children's pricing.
Absolutely! We sell Gift Certificates for raft trips, snowmobile rentals and lodging. Gift certificates are a great gift idea for special occasions like graduations, birthdays, weddings, etc!
There is no simple answer to this frequently asked question. Some of our trips sell out months in advance, some never sell out. State regulations limit the number of passengers we can carry, so early reservations ensure a spot on your desired trip date. However, if you are looking for a last minute trip, we can often accommodate you.
Please do! Our guides look forward to taking their favorite crews down the river again and again. But please remember that your favorite Crab Apple guide may already be requested or have other commitments preventing from making any guarantees.
Speak with our reservation staff at 1-800-553-7238. The office is coordinated by Sharyn and Carrie, so be assured that this part of the process has family members involved also. We feel that this opportunity to ask questions and get information from our staff is important.
Payments for trips can be made by MasterCard, Visa, personal check or money order.
Late cancellations and no-shows are ineligible for any type of reimbursement. Our rafting capacity is limited by state regulations. It is common for us to reach our daily maximum and have to turn new reservations away. When we accept and confirm your reservation that portion of our limited capacity is then unavailable to other groups. Many of the costs associated with your trip are committed long before you arrive - food, staffing, vehicles, etc. are all booked in advance. These costs are unrecoverable for cancellations. For this reason, we strictly adhere to our cancellation policies.
Quality and Safety Issues
Each participant will be required to sign a waiver of liability before each trip. Please call our office at 800-553-7238 and we will be happy to mail or fax one to you or click on this liability waiver link and print the form.
No drugs or alcohol are permitted before or during a trip. Violators of this policy may not raft, and no refund will be given. All of our facilities hold liquor licenses and due to state laws no other alcohol will be permitted on Crab Apple property.
Always bring medications which you may need on the river or during your stay - asthma inhaler, bee sting kit, etc. Any medications can be kept dry and safe in our first aid kits on the river.
Pregnant women, persons with a heart condition and anyone with a medical problem that could be affected by the heat, cold, exertion, excitement, etc. of a raft trip should not raft. We reserve the right to refuse anyone the opportunity to participate in any of our adventures because of a medical, physical or size limitation that we feel might expose them to extreme risk. Contact our office with questions concerning these policies.
Because there is limited cell phone service on most of our trips, we carry Satellite Phones and cell phones only on trips with good service. Crab Apple is among a small group of outfitters to offer this service in Maine, Massachusetts or Vermont.
Each of our rafting facilities is smoke free. In Maine, our lodging facilities, pub and restaurant are all smoke free.
Raft trips will not be cancelled due to weather unless Crab Apple deems that travel to the river from base camps or safety on the river will be compromised. Cancellations would be decided the morning of a trip at Crab Apple and full refunds issued.
Top Whitewater Rafting Safety Tips for a Guided Rafting Tour.