Frequently Asked Questions

About Crab Apple

Crab Apple is unique because of its family ownership and a staff that is committed to relaxed fun and adventure. Crab Apple is a three generation family business with family members being part of every rafting trip since 1983. Family members train each river guide and all staff to ensure that each guest is treated as part of the family and gets the value they deserve from a rafting experience at Crab Apple. We are proud to have become the largest outfitter in New England, but work hard to ensure the personal attention that sets our family business apart from our competitors.

Crab Apple offers unique riverside base camps in The Forks, Maine and Charlemont, Massachusetts that 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. Further, we strive to make sure that all of the the “little things”, such as excellent food, friendly reservationists and a veteran staff that returns year after year are in place to ensure that each trip is a complete and enjoyable experience.

Finally, Crab Apple offers unparalleled experience in running our New England rivers. Guides are trained by family members with a quarter century or more of experience on their home river. Crab Apple also runs more trips each season on the Deerfield and Kennebec Rivers than any other outfitter – more trips means better guides and better rides!

Join Crab Apple for a trip and experience that combines experience since 1983, three generations of family and a well-trained staff that loves the river and believes strongly in delivering fun and value to all of our guests.

River Related Questions

Our rafts have two different capacities, depending on the river trip you choose. Our Maine adventures all have rafts holding 8-9 people. Eight is the perfect number to fill your raft and maximize performance in the rapids. Reservation groups with 6 or fewer rafters may have another group join them in the raft.

In Massachusetts, most of our rafts carry 6-7 passengers and we have a couple of rafts that can handle a group of 8. Rafts perform best when they are full, especially in bigger rapids. Try and plan 5 or more rafters in your group for Massachusetts trips for the best ride – 6 is the ideal number, if possible. Also, if you book your raft full  with 6, 7 or 8 rafters, you will be guaranteed to have a private raft.

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. Comfortable 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: Outdoor performance clothing (Under Armour, Dri-Fit), 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 performance wear are available in our store.

Wetsuits are required in Spring and are free with your rafting trip. During the summer and fall, we make a recommendation based on the day’s weather, but most days we enjoy a great trip in bathing suits/shorts and a light shirt. 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 4XL. Each suit is washed after each use and stored and dried indoors for maximum comfort.

A few ideas:
Suncreen! – apply to areas not covered by clothing and lifejacket.
Bring any special food items needed for specific dietary needs.
On cool days, it is wise to layer more 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.
    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, photographers hike down into the river at multiple locations for great action shots of all trips. Photos of your trip are shown at our base after each trip and photos can be emailed, burnt onto a disk or printed.

First note that we plan for every meal to be served at a Crab Apple base camp, not alongside the river where conditions vary and may be cool, wet, less comfortable and the elements and insects can be an issue.

We offer several river lunches depending on the trip you choose – a fresh, hearty picnic style buffet with homemade desserts or a delicious chicken, fish or vegetarian option barbecue served back at our base or possibly a hot dog/hamburger cookout with salads and desserts. 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.

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 the Guide’s service and expertise has exceeded expectations, then a gratuity can be accepted. Gratuities are kept by the individual, not pooled, and are always much appreciated.

Squirt guns are provided for the Deerfield River Funyak trip. We do not allow squirt guns on guided raft trips.

Pets are not allowed at Crab Apple facilities. We are pet lovers too, but your pet cannot join you on the raft or kayak or be left in the car or in the parking area during your trip.

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 for Corporate Groups, Bachelor(ette) parties and groups of Friends and Family. 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 River – Fife Brook Section have Adult and Children’s prices. Several other trips also include children’s pricing.

Our two most popular river trips, the Kennebec and Deerfield – Fife Brook Section have midweek pricing.
Several other trips also offer midweek pricing.

Absolutely! We sell Gift Certificates for raft trips and lodging. Gift certificates are a great gift idea for special occasions like graduations, birthdays, weddings, etc!

Making Reservations

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.

You can book online through our website or speak with our reservation staff at 1-800-553-7238. The office is coordinated by family members 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.

Reservations cancelled 30 days or more in advance of the trip date receive a full refund less $10pp. No refunds available for changes or new reservations within 30 days of trip date.

Why have a cancellation policy? Our rafting capacity is limited by State Regulations. It is common for us to reach our daily passenger allowance 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 last minute cancellations. For these reasons, we strictly adhere to our cancellation policies.

Quality & Safety Issues

Each participant will be required to sign a waiver of liability before each trip. When COVID began in 2020 we switched to an online waiver. Please contact your trip leader/person who made your reservation about info to E-sign.

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.

Each of our trips has a minimum age. Five years old is our youngest rafter on our Deerfield River Half-Day Family Raft Trip, Funyaks and Kennebec River Half-Day Family Raft Trip.

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.

Cell service on most of our rivers is improving all the time. We carry cell phones for Safety and have good service on many trips but may carry Satellite phones for trips where cell service is not available.

Guests may only carry cell phones in a waterproof case that is safely attached to their lifejacket or piece of clothing. Loose cell phones in pockets are not allowed on trips.

Guests are asked not to make or receive calls during trips as they impact the experience and other sharing it with you on the river.

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.

Rafting on a rainy/misty day is amazing! Fog often settles deep into the river valley and has been described by our guests as “spooky rafting” or “Jurassic Park rafting”.

Whitewater rafting is an inherently dangerous activity with risks that can include serious injury and death.  Please review the below information carefully.

Crab Apple Whitewater strives for safety above all and seeks to minimize risks to the greatest extent possible.  Our whitewater rafting trips require physical exertion and exposure to cold water, heat, wind and rain.  These trips are located in wilderness environments.  Participants may be thrown into the water and if rescue from the water is not possible or is unsafe, ability to self-rescue is imperative.  This may involve both swimming to shore and navigating potentially dangerous terrain to get to a safe location on shore.  Land rescue may take time as guides will not be able to stop until they reach a safe location where the river permits it. Conditions on the river change rapidly, and participants must be able to take an active role in their own safety.   

We strive to allow all individuals to participate in our trips when it is safe or can be made safe for them to do so.  Individuals who are very overweight, not physically fit or have other physical or mental limitations or conditions that may pose additional risks in navigating routine or emergency situations on the river can endanger themselves, other guests and our guides.  Please consult your physician(s) if you have any conditions that could impact your ability to safely participate. 

The following are the basic eligibility criteria for all participants on any Crab Apple Whitewater trip:

  1. Ability to remain seated and balanced while in a whitewater craft while holding on with at least one hand.
  2. Wear a Type V Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (maximum chest size of 56 inches). Wearing leg straps may be required to ensure proper fit.  Where required, properly wear a helmet.
  3. Wear a wetsuit. 
  4. Ability to independently board and disembark a raft.  
  5. Ability to independently navigate shoreline terrain in an emergency situation, including safely maneuvering around and across boulders, rocks, and slippery and uneven surfaces, under low branches, and around vegetation.  This includes the ability to maintain your balance near precipitous ledges or cliffs.
  6. Ability to participate 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) maintain calm and follow instructions given; (c) orient yourself to new “in-river” surroundings; (d) reposition yourself in the water to different positions; (e) receive a rescue rope, paddle, or human assistance, and possibly let go of the same; (f) get out from under an overturned boat.
  7. Ability to assist another passenger who has fallen out of the boat by pulling them back in.
  8. 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.
  9. If taking prescription medications, have the ability to maintain proper dosage by medicating independently, or with the assistance of a friend, family member or aide who will be participating in the trip.
  10. 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 above criteria, if they cannot be met with or without reasonable accommodation, will disqualify a person from participating in a rafting trip with Crab Apple.  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.  Crab Apple’s management and trip leaders are trained in disability identification and reasonable accommodations.  Crab Apple reserves the right, after evaluating any guest’s condition both prior to and on the day of the trip, and in light of any accommodations in place, to refuse to allow any guest to participate if it appears the above criteria cannot be met.


Crab Apple Whitewater is an equal-opportunity service provider and is committed to offering its services without discrimination as to disability, race, religion, gender identity, sexuality, age, or national and ethnic origin.  All employees are trained in providing services without discrimination and maintaining a discrimination-free and inclusive workplace.  

Crab Apple will make reasonable accommodations and modifications to any trip for any persons with a disability in accordance with all applicable laws, so long as they do not fundamentally alter the nature of the trip, or place the participant or others at unreasonable risk.  Accommodations should be designed to ensure that the participant is able to meet the minimum eligibility criteria listed above and to ensure safe participation in the trip.

  1. Requests for accommodation should be made at the time of booking, but in no event less than 30 days prior to the date of the trip.
  2. For school or other groups, the event coordinator will have the primary responsibility of identifying and informing us of any required accommodations that will be made or are that are being requested.  Alternatively, the trip coordinator must notify participants of their responsibility to do so in accordance with this policy.
  3. Crab Apple will respond to all requests for accommodation within 7 days of notification, either approving the request or requesting more information.  Requests for accommodation will not be denied until Crab Apple and the requester have had the opportunity to engage in an interactive dialog about the request and possible ways to meet it.
  4. Crab Apple will attempt in all cases to provide a decision on requests for accommodations at least 7 days prior to the scheduled trip; however, from time to time it may take longer to coordinate service providers or arrange other accommodations.
  5. If a participant requires more individualized (but not specialized) assistance, Crab Apple may be able to offer an additional guide, staffing and scheduling permitting.  Notifying us as soon as possible of such a request will best allow us to attempt to schedule the additional staff.
  6. Meals are served on some trips.  Guests should notify us of any allergies at the time of booking or at least one week prior to the scheduled trip, and we will make arrangements to ensure that non-allergenic food is provided, where possible. 
  7. Service animals are welcome on all Crab Apple properties and at all portions of trips; however, they cannot be accommodated on boats due to safety risks to participants and risk to the animal.
  8. For our hearing-impaired guests, we are happy to offer print materials that cover the content of our safety briefing.  Please just ask us if you require these materials.  
  9. We will not charge extra for an interpreter or aide to participate in the trip, if the guest requires one.  We are also happy to help connect guests to qualified interpreters or aides in the area; however, please be aware that this often requires significant lead time to make sure an appropriate person can be scheduled.  Please also understand that due to our relatively remote location, options may be limited.  
  10. If it is not immediately clear that a guest can meet the minimum participation requirements, or that reasonable accommodations can be made, Crab Apple reserves the right to request additional information or a meeting or phone call to review the situation with the guest, parent(s), guardian(s), trip coordinator or other decision-maker.  If the guest or representatives do not helpfully participate in this process and/or timely provide any information requested, Crab Apple reserves the right to deny participation, or to deny the request for accommodation.

Individuals with concerns about this policy or the practices or protocols of Crab Apple Whitewater in accordance with this policy may contact the Maine Human Rights Commission at 51 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04330.  Tel. 207-624-6290.  Email [email protected].  Website  

Complaints of discrimination may be filed with the Maine Human Rights Commission within 300 days of the date of discrimination.  See  

Crab Apple, in providing public accommodations, is bound by the following laws:

5 M.R.S. §4591. Equal access to public accommodations

The opportunity for every individual to have equal access to places of public accommodation without discrimination because of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry or national origin is recognized as and declared to be a civil right. 

  5 M.R.S. §4592. Unlawful public accommodations

This section does not require an entity to permit an individual to participate in or benefit from the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages and accommodations of that entity when the individual poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. For the purposes of this section, the term “direct threat” means a significant risk to the health or safety of others that can not be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices or procedures or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services.   

It is unlawful public accommodations discrimination, in violation of this Act:   

1.  Denial of public accommodations.  For any public accommodation or any person who is the owner, lessor, lessee, proprietor, operator, manager, superintendent, agent or employee of any place of public accommodation to directly or indirectly refuse, discriminate against or in any manner withhold from or deny the full and equal enjoyment to any person, on account of race or color, sex, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry or national origin, any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, services or privileges of public accommodation, or in any manner discriminate against any person in the price, terms or conditions upon which access to accommodation, advantages, facilities, goods, services and privileges may depend.  

For purposes of this subsection, unlawful discrimination also includes, but is not limited to:  

A. The imposition or application of eligibility criteria that screen out or tend to screen out an individual with a disability or any class of individuals with disabilities from fully and equally enjoying any goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations, unless the criteria can be shown to be necessary for the provision of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations being offered;   

B. A failure to make reasonable modifications in policies, practices or procedures, when modifications are necessary to afford the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations to individuals with disabilities, unless, in the case of a private entity, the private entity can demonstrate that making the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations;  

C. A failure to take steps that may be necessary to ensure that no individual with a disability is excluded, denied services, segregated or otherwise treated differently than other individuals because of the absence of auxiliary aids and services, unless, in the case of a private entity, the private entity can demonstrate that taking those steps would fundamentally alter the nature of the good, service, facility, privilege, advantage or accommodation being offered or would result in an undue burden;   

D. A private entity’s failure to remove architectural barriers and communication barriers that are structural in nature in existing facilities and transportation barriers in existing vehicles and rail passenger cars used by an establishment for transporting individuals, not including barriers that can be removed only through the retrofitting of vehicles or rail passenger cars by the installation of a hydraulic or other lift, where the removal is readily achievable;  

When the entity can demonstrate that the removal of a barrier under this paragraph is not readily achievable, a failure to make the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations available through alternative methods if alternative methods are readily achievable; and   

E. A qualified individual with a disability, by reason of that disability, being excluded from participation in or being denied the benefits of the services, programs or activities of a public entity, or being subjected to discrimination by any such entity;   

2.  Communication, notice or advertisement.  For any person to directly or indirectly publish, display or communicate any notice or advertisement to the effect that any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of any place of public accommodation are refused, withheld from or denied to any person on account of race or color, sex, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry or national origin, or that the patronage or custom of any person belonging to or purporting to be of any particular race or color, sex, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry or national origin is unwelcome, objectionable or not acceptable, desired or solicited, or that the clientele is restricted to any particular race or color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry or national origin. The production of any communication, notice or advertisement purporting to relate to any place of accommodation is presumptive evidence in any action that the action was authorized by its owner, manager or proprietor;  

3.  Denial of lodging; children, exception.  For any person who is the owner, lessee, proprietor, manager, superintendent, agent or employee of any public accommodation for lodging to directly or indirectly refuse or withhold from or deny to any person that lodging on the grounds that the person is accompanied by a child or children who will occupy the unit, unless the total number of persons seeking to occupy the unit exceeds the number permitted by local ordinances or reasonable standards relating to health, safety or sanitation.  

This subsection does not apply to the owner of a lodging place:  

A. That serves breakfast; 

B. That contains no more than 5 rooms available to be let to lodgers; and  

C. In which the owner resides on the premises;   

4.  Participation.  For a covered entity:  

A. To subject an individual or a class of individuals, on the basis of a disability or disabilities of the individual or class, directly or through contractual, licensing or other arrangements, to a denial of the opportunity of the individual or class to participate in or benefit from the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations of that entity;   

B. To afford an individual or a class of individuals, on the basis of a disability or disabilities of the individual or class, directly or through contractual, licensing or other arrangements, with the opportunity to participate in or benefit from a good, service, facility, privilege, advantage or accommodation in a manner that is not equal to that afforded to other individuals; and   

C. To provide an individual or a class of individuals, on the basis of a disability or disabilities of the individual or class, directly or through contractual, licensing or other arrangements, with a good, service, facility, privilege, advantage or accommodation that is different or separate from that provided to other individuals, unless this action is necessary to provide the individual or class of individuals with a good, service, facility, privilege, advantage or accommodation or other opportunity that is as effective as that provided to others.   

For purposes of this subsection, the term “individual” or “class of individuals” refers to the clients or customers of the covered public accommodation that enters into a contractual, licensing or other arrangement;  

5.  Integrated setting; programs or activities not separate or different.  For a covered entity to not afford goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages and accommodations to an individual with a disability in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of the individual.  

Notwithstanding the existence of separate or different programs or activities provided in accordance with this section, an individual with a disability may not be denied the opportunity to participate in programs or activities that are not separate or different;  

6.  Association.  For a covered entity to exclude or otherwise deny equal goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, accommodations or other opportunities to an individual or entity because of the known disability of an individual with whom the individual or entity is known to have a relationship or association;  

7.  Administrative methods.  For an individual or an entity, directly or through contractual or other arrangements, to utilize standards or criteria or methods of administration:  

A. That have the effect of discrimination on the basis of disability; or  

B. That perpetuate the discrimination of others who are subject to common administrative control;   

8.  Service animals.  For any public accommodation or any person who is the owner, lessor, lessee, proprietor, operator, manager, superintendent, agent or employee of any place of public accommodation to refuse to permit the use of a service animal or otherwise discriminate against an individual with a physical or mental disability who uses a service animal at the public accommodation unless it is shown by defense that the service animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others or the use of the service animal would result in substantial physical damage to the property of others or would substantially interfere with the reasonable enjoyment of the public accommodation by others. The use of a service animal may not be conditioned on the payment of a fee or security deposit, although the individual with a physical or mental disability is liable for any damage done to the premises or facilities by such a service animal. This subsection does not apply to an assistance animal as defined in section 4553, subsection 1-H unless the assistance animal also qualifies as a service animal; and  

9.  Unlawful public accommodations.  For any public accommodation to designate a single-occupancy toilet facility as for use only by members of one sex. A single-occupancy toilet facility may be identified by a sign, as long as the sign does not indicate that the facility is for use by members of one specific sex. For the purposes of this subsection, a “single-occupancy toilet facility” is a restroom for use by one user at a time or for family or assisted use and that has an outer door that can be locked by the occupant.  


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