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Whitewater River Chicks holds safety clinic for women at Kelly's Whitewater Park

Posted at 12:24 PM, Aug 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-14 14:24:13-04

CASCADE, Idaho — Whitewater River Chicks hosted a water safety course taught by women for women to help ladies get more comfortable in the water and learn important river safety techniques.

"I started it about six years ago because I wanted to get over my fears of river rafting, whitewater sports and learn how to row my own boat," said Vivian Chan who had a significant milestone this summer when she rowed her own raft down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.

Every summer Whitewater River Chicks holds two sessions, although this year they only had one because high water earlier this summer made it too dangerous, safety is the key component in this clinic.

"It’s really important not to just jump, in if you are going to go to a pool you really got to know how to swim," said Mary Hayes who participated in the clinic. "So if you are going to go have fun on the river, first thing’s first, you need to be safe about it."

The ladies practiced throwing ropes on dry land before they moved to water at Kelly's, the women took turns swimming rapids to get used to being in that position, they rotated through stations where they threw ropes to each other and they worked together as a team to pulll of rescues.

"It’s about getting over some of those fears so the next time we are in the water we are going to feel a lot more confidence," said Hayes. "There’s a lot of people on the river and it might not be me that needs to be saving, it might be somebody so having that confidence makes a difference."

The progression was easy to see and Mary Hayes told us she got a lot out of the course, Hayes bought an inflatable kayak and wants to enjoy the river, but first she wants to make sure she knows what to do if something goes wrong and has a community to enjoy the river with.

"I really think more people need to look into it just because there are so many people out on the river," said Hayes. "Whether it is here, the Boise River it doesn’t matter, safety first is so important."

This clinic is not a certified whitewater clinic, the best option for that remains a certified swift water rescue course, but this is meant to be an introductory course to build basic fundamentals and have a fun time doing it.

"I wanted it to be women specific, to empower women to gain more confidence on the water," said Chan. “I’s ok if you are not the strongest person in your group, but you do need to realize what the dangers are and keep on practicing those skills."