Silly Questions Rafters Have Asked Their Guides
Guiding the Olympic Course of the Upper Ocoee

Silly Questions Guests Ask Raft Guides

Fast Fred Rafts

Family style rafting fun on the Middle Ocoee section of the Ocoee River with Fast Fred Ruddock

Silly Questions Some Guests Have Ask River Guides

Does the river loop back here?

Well now, this is not Disney World, Six Flags, Dollywood, or the Whitewater Center. Nature carved this river and it strictly runs down hill following the laws of physics.

I can swim. Why do I need a life jacket?

The personal flotation device is required by Tennessee law and enforced by Tennessee State Park rangers. In addition to helping you float the PFD also provides from impact protection.

Have you ever seen a raft pop?

I have personally observed a few rookies damage tubes and cause partial deflation of the outer tun or floor. These events are rare and generally on occur when raft wander well off the desired lines or routes.

Have you ever fallen out?

Yes, all guides have fallen out and swam at some point. Falling out and swimming is part of rafting as does happen.

I want to paddle the whole time, especially going down rapids?

It is great that you want to participate. However it is very important to follow your guides paddle command both for safety and fun. Failure to follow defeats the purpose of having a guide and increases the inherent risks of rafting.

What happens if the boat falls off the track?

The Ocoee is a natural riverbed and not part of a man-made amusement park. There are not tracks and riverbed is natural with the exception of the Olympic Course.

Which way is downstream?

Downstream is the direct the water is flowing.

Isn’t the take out the same place as put in?

No, the take-out for the Middle Ocoee if five miles downstream of the put-in. The takeout for the Full River trip is ten miles down stream of the put-in.

Why would someone want to be stuck in a raft when they could be in a kayak?

Most kayaker would much rather kayak than raft. However it take a significant commitment to gain the skills require to navigate the Ocoee River successfully. It also requires a moderate investment of about $2,000 to acquire the equipment need to kayak the Ocoee River.

When does the tide come in?

Ha ha, the Ocoee River is located 2,120 feet above sea level. This there is no tidal rising or falling of water.

Yo what happens when the coffin gets closed?

The guide holds onto the raft to aid in recovering the equipment he or she is responsible for. As a result the guide will not be acting as a life guard due to this obligation. This is one of the reason why it is critical to follow all paddle commands to avoid flips and swims.

What is a dump truck?

A dump truck occurs when the entire crew is ejected buy the guide manages to hang on

Why do rafts flip?

Soft thwarts, hard tubes, bad behavior of guide or guests

Why did we get stuck on a rock?

Well that could be combination of factors. Your guide might be day dreaming. Or the crew might be day dreaming or otherwise slow to follow paddle commands. Or maybe the raft is loaded really heavy and is dragging on the riverbed.

How do I flush the toilet at the put in?

There is no need to flush vault toilets.

Why are the trees taller the further they are from the river?

This is a rather odd question. Could it be perception of the trees growing along the slope?

How long does it take to get all of the way back to the put in?

If you are a private boater it takes as long as loading the shuttle vehicle and driving back to the put-in. The drive from the private boater take-out to the put-in is less than six miles.

How deep it it here?

Guests often as how deep the Ocoee River is and the answer varies depending upon the location. In general the Ocoee River is typical of a shallow and technical southeastern river.

Is it true what they say about raft guides?

I don't know. What do they say?

Why are these PFDs all wet?

During busy days in the peak season all the Personal Flotation Devices might be in sue during the day and some folks will get wet ones in the afternoon. But don;t worry at my outpost we clean and sanitize the PFDs after every trip.

Why are we going backwards?

Maybe you guide is scared and does want to see what's coming. Or maybe the guide thinks the crew might be scared if they saw what was coming. Or more seriously maybe the raft hit a rock or strong eddy line and spun backwards. Sometimes it is better to just go with it rather than chancing hitting a rock or big hole sideways.

How do we get back to where we started?

If you are a private boater you will need to set shuttle. If you are taking a commercial rafting trip you will not be returning to the put-in but rather will return to the outpost after you trip.

Why do some rafts get stuck on rocks so often?

Thanks a good question that could have more than one answer. It could be the guide is really green and doesn't know the river. Or maybe the crew is not following paddle commands, or perhaps a very heavy crew in a raft dragging over shallow rocks in some of the lines.

Do we go down the waterfall?

Read the signs at the top of the dam. If you really want to run the dam you guides will be waiting at the ramp below LOL!

Does the Ocoee River have Class 5 rapids?

No, there are no Class V rapids on the Ocoee River. The Middle Ocoee is a Class III river at level commercially rafted. The Upper Ocoee contains six Class IV rapids those being Mikey's, Blue Hole, Callahan's, Godzilla, Humongous, and Roach Motel.

A young boy asked me while pointing upstream... Why are all the rocks going that way.

The law of gravity comes to mind but this was an odd question. Some kids need more time outside.

Fast Fred Ruddock in Ecuador overlooking Otavalo

Got Questions About Ocoee River Rafting Or This Blog Article?

I am Fast Fred Ruddock and I would be happy to give you honest answers to your questions about rafting or the Ocoee River. You may email me directly with your questions for concerns at fastfredruddock@gmail.com and if you would like to come rafting with me be sure to check out Fast Fred Rafts for the latest details.


I began rafting when I was young during the 1970 with my family. We had several of our own rafts between my parents, grand parents, aunts, and uncles. My family loved playing in the water; I grew up rafting, sailing, and surfing. As I grew older and technology improved I began to get serious about kayaking and creek boating as well. I became an ACA certified kayak instructor and have shared the sport with countless others over the years. Living along the banks of the Green River in North Carolina I have access to some of the best world class rapids to hone my skills.

During my long off-season from rafting I primarily travel solo through Latin America. Ecuador is likely my favorite country to visit but I also enjoy Peru, Guatemala, and Mexico. Working as a river guide in the southeast during summers in North America I don't earn a lot of money and live close to the federal poverty level. In spite of this I live a rich life on a frugal budget. If you would like to learn more about traveling in Latin America or maybe some frugal travel tips visit Fast Fred Travels.



Curious about how I can travel so light or what I use on the river? Want to know more about the gear I carry abroad on my extend trips in Latin America or while rafting and kayaking? Here's your chance to dig into my Amazon shop for an inside look. If you make purchases via this shop I will get a very small commission but it will not increase your price what so ever.