FAQ's for Whitewater Rafting

First, let us answer a question we hear frequently:

Several outfitters run the same rivers and rapids as Crab Apple, so what sets Crab Apple apart from the others?

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

When is the best time to 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. top

Will there be enough water for my trip?
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. top

What should I wear?
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.


Will I need a wetsuit?
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. top

What to Bring with you when Going Whitewater Rafting?
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.

Wear on the River:
Avoid all cotton items as cotton stays cold when wet…
Wear quick dry shorts/bathing suit
Synthetic shirt for warmth and sun protection – long sleeve and layers if cool or raining
Sturdy footwear – sandals with straps (no flip-flops), sneakers, wetsuit boots
Hat to protect from sun
Outer layer of wind and waterproof pants and jacket if cool or raining
Early season/cold water trips – add warm hat and socks.
Consider renting a wetsuit from the outfitter

Wear After the Trip:
Dry set of clothes, shoes and socks - warmer gear if cool after trip.

What To Take in the Raft:
Small tube of sunscreen that fits in a pocket.
Water bottles – preferably with carabiners to attach to raft.
Snacks, if not provided by outfitter

What else should I bring?
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. top

What do rapid classifications mean?
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:


Will my trip be photographed or videotaped?
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. top

What is for lunch?
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 yoiur party and we will gladly accommodate. top

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

How can I save money?
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. top

Do you offer group discounts?
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. top

Do you offer family discounts?
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. top

Do you offer midweek discounts?
Our two most popular river trips, the Kennebec and Deerfield - Fife Brook Section have midweek pricing.

Several other trips also offer midweek pricing. top

Do you sell gift certificates?
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! top

Making Reservations

How far in advance do I need to make 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. top

Can I request my guide?
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 us from making any guarantees. top

How do I make reservations?
Speak with our reservation staff at 1-800-553-RAFT(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. top

How do I pay?
Payments for trips can be made by MasterCard, Visa, personal check or money order. top

What are your reservation and cancellation policies?

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.


Online reservations follow the same cancellation and reservation policies as reservations made by phone.

Reservations made more than 60 days in advance of your trip date require the following deposit within 7 days of your phone reservation:

  • In Maine $50 per person per river trip.
  • In Massachusetts $40 per person per river trip.
  • For Maine Lodging $40-$70 per person per night.
  • The balance of your trip is due 60 days in advance. Reservations made within 60 days of the trip date require payment in full.
  • Cancellations: Written notification is REQUIRED. Ten (10) dollars of EACH person's payment is non-refundable. Full refund, less ten (10) dollars per person, if we are notified sixty (60) days before trip date. NO refund if we are notified less than sixty (60) days before trip date. Monies forfeited may not be applied to any balances that may be due.



Quality and Safety Issues

Will I need to sign a Liability Waiver?
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. top

What is the alcohol and drug policy?
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. top

Should I bring my medication? Can I take it on the raft?
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. top

Is my child too young to raft?
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. top

Are there any physical limitations?
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. top

Does Crab Apple carry cell phones on the river?
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. top

Can I smoke at any Crab Apple facility?
Each of our rafting facilities is smoke free. In Maine, our lodging facilities, pub and restaurant are all smoke free. top

Will trips run in the rain?
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 Safety Tips for Outfitted Trips
Top Whitewater Rafting Safety Tips for a Guided Rafting Tour. Click here to view. top

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