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River Rafters Encouraged to Use Guides on North Platte

The side of a mountain isn't the only place rocks can be dangerous they can cause just as many issues when located under the water. Just like most fun activities, there is some danger involved while rafting.
Throughout the summer many people will head to the river thinking they'll have no troubles navigating the North Platte.
Jonathan Murphy, a frequent rafter, "We don't real have any problems, it's pretty tame water."
This is a common misconception from a distance, or height, the Platte may look slow and easy, but from close up it's actually moving very quickly. This just one bit of info needed to float the river. Casper Fire-EMS officials say learning all the nuances of the trade takes time.
Craig Kidder, Capser Fire-EMS Public Information Officer, said, "take that time to get that extra experience, or take a class."
Kidder recommends going on the river with a certified guide who has taken classes. Although it might cost you a few extra bucks, one river guide puts the cost in perspective.
Luke Keil, a certified river guide, said, "Your life is obviously always worth more money."
Rivergoers do understand losing a life to the tides is possible and they do take some safety precautions.
Murphy said, "The kids, we get them the life jackets, they're not real strong swimmers."
But life jackets aren't only for children or weak swimmers
Keil said, "You can be a good swimmer and hit your head, and good swimmers die"
Which is why it is beneficial to travel with an experienced rafter who knows what to do when things go from bad to worse; experience Keil has plenty of.
Keil said, "I probably been down the river, The North Platte, 15 hundred, two thousand times."
In all of those trips down the Platte every person who traveled with keil returned to shore safely.
At the of the day Kidder says that is everybody's goal.
Kidder said, "If we can make one person go home that wouldn't have otherwise made it home; our job is done."
Kidder and Keil both say everyone should wear a life jacket all the time, and as always those are available for free at all Casper fire stations and at The Pump House.


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