At Outward Bound Sabah, rafting is usually used in one of the following ways:

  • As part of the final expedition on Challenge Course
  • As part of a one day jungle walk / one day raft combination on shorter course
  • As a separate one day activity itself

It is done in the Papar River which has rapids up to Class III in times of high water. During most times, the rapids would be considered Class I or II which is ideal for beginners.

You may read the International Grading Scale of River Difficult for explanation of the classes.

Instead of a rubber boat, we use the inner tube and bamboo lashed together to form a raft that will be used on this river. This practice is very beneficial for the participants as they will work together to build a strong and practicable raft for their own group. Everyone will be involved in this process which at the same time will enhance the level of teamwork, brainstorming, decision making and leadership, to name a few.

Rafting is a good opportunity for individuals to practise skills in stressful situations. It allows the group to make tough decisions when tackling the rapids.

Raft Building Exercise

This exercise is done on the Kawang River Bank or the beach front. The group will be given a timeframe to discuss, plan and build their raft by using the inner tubes and bamboo or blue plastic barrels and wooden spars, that can accommodate all the group members to cross the river safely.

Aims:

  1. Management of multi-faceted project
  2. Planning
  3. Presentation skills
  4. Creativity
  5. Management of human resources, equipment, technical skills allocation, finances and time
International Grading Scale of River Difficulty
Class Description
Class I Moving water with a few waves and small ripples.
Class II Easy rapids with waves up to 1 meter and wide, clear, channels that are obvious without scouting. Some maneuvering is required.
Class III Rapids with high, irregular waves often capable of swamping an open canoe. Narrow passages that often require complex maneuvering. Rapids may require scouting from shore. Boaters in kayaks should have the ability to Eskimo Roll.
Class IV Long, difficult rapids with constricted passages and often turbulent waters. Scouting from shore is necessary, and conditions make rescue difficult. Generally not possible for open canoes. Boaters in kayaks should have the ability to Eskimo Roll.
Class V Extremely difficult, long and very violent rapids. Highly Congested routes which always should be scouted from shore. Rescue conditions are difficult, and there is significant hazard To life in the event of a mishap. Ability to Eskimo roll is essential for boaters in kayaks.
Class VI Water is at the extremes of navigability. Nearly impossible and very dangerous. For teams of experts only. Close study must be made ahead of time and all precautions taken.

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