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Ottawa Kayarafting Adventure

If you’ve ever wanted to try whitewater, this is a great way to start. During the 4.5 hour introductory workshop you’ll learn how to read the river.

Paddle and swim rapids—and learn safety concepts.

This activity is built-for-COVID: it’s 100% outside with physical distancing throughout. Read about our COVID precautions

$199(a 16% savings)
Book Now

COVID Guarantee: Change your date or transfer to a friend for free. Read our cancellation policy

reviewsBased on customer reviews

“It was absolutely thrilling. My son and I saw the rapids and we said ‘there’s no way I’m going down those rapids!’

And of course as the day progressed—we were down them—just because we felt comfortable

…because we had these good people to help us out if we got into trouble.”

Norma G., Ottawa Kayarafting participant

Take an adventure day in the city

Explore the water and waves of the Ottawa River

  • Escape—for a refreshing, fun, active adventure
  • Learn whitewater skills and safety concepts
  • Experience and connect with the Ottawa River from a new perspective

Details at a Glance

This 4.5 hour experience runs from 9am to 1:30pm. Join a ‘scheduled departure’ any Saturday, Sunday, or Monday—or book your private group Tuesday through Friday

departs from

Departs from

Parc Moussette, Gatineau
group size

Group size

Up to 10 participants plus 2 instructors
dates

Dates

June 15 to September 15 (Oct 3 for private groups)
activities

Activities

Kayaraft, swim, learn whitewater skills and safety

Activity level

You don’t need any river experience.
Remoteness: In the City!
Physical activity: Active
Whitewater: Class I – II

Who’s this for?

You don’t need any previous river experience or training.

To participate, you need to be:

  • Age 14 and up (age 10 and up for private groups)
  • Physically active, with average swimming ability

COVID safety

COVID Precautions

We built this program from the ground up with COVID in mind: it’s 100% outside; with physical distancing throughout; clean gear; and no need for group transport.

The specific training sites and equipment that we’ve chosen allow you to ‘self-rescue’—with your skilled instructors nearby to coach you along and help you if you need it—while maintaining physical distancing.

NOTE: If you need to cancel because of a reason related to COVID, or if we have to postpone because of COVID, you’ll get a full credit to repeat the program anytime in the next 18 months—or you can give the credit to a friend.

Transmission prevention

  • The whole experience takes place outside
  • We’ll maintain distancing between people at all times
  • Please arrive wearing a mask
  • For safety reasons, we won’t wear masks around the river but we will maintain physical distancing (people who live with each other don’t need to distance)
  • Please bring your mask in a case (such as a ziplock bag) and a small bottle of hand sanitizer on the river—we’ll provide you with a small drybag to keep it in that you can clip into your boat
  • No sharing snacks or supplies, unless it is with somebody you live with

River Safety

The safety of everybody in the group is always our number one priority. The most important factor is our instructors’ years of experience, training, and knowledge of the river.

Many people think of whitewater as extreme. But in fact, with the right approach to decision making, we have a lot of control. Throughout the day, as you learn about how the river works, you’ll see that whitewater is 100% predictable.

Safety practices

  • The Ottawa Kayarafting Adventure always has a minimum of two river instructors—no matter how small the group
  • Our instructors have extensive and current industry-leading safety credentials and certification. Every trip has a staff member with Wilderness First Responder (an 80-hour medical course) and Whitewater Rescue Technician certification—As well, many of our instructors teach those disciplines
  • Each trip carries 2 cell phones. They are always carried by the guides in separate waterproof containers in different boats
  • Each trip carries an extensive first aid kit, river safety equipment, and an AED (defibrillator)
  • All activities are ‘challenge by choice’. It is up to you if you want to participate in a given activity

Of course, river travel and whitewater paddling have inherent risks. We ask that you read through and sign our Liability Release Form before you arrive.

Please contact us if you have questions about safety. It’s one of our specialties and we enjoy talking about it. As lifelong wilderness travellers, our guides feel more safe on a river than they do on city streets—and our primary goal is that we want you to feel the same way!

Description and outline

What to expect

Experience paddling and swimming in rapids and learn how to ‘read’ the river.

Get an understanding of key safety concepts so you can recognize danger and make good decisions on and around moving water.

For groups—this is a great way to bond during an active, outdoor adventure.

We’ll outfit you with your own packraft, which is a lightweight inflatable kayak. These boats are great for learning because they’re stable and easy to steer.

You’ll gain a foundation that’ll allow you to safely expand into more river activities, from wilderness canoe trips, to packrafting expeditions, to fishing around rapids, and more!

Prep

  • Register and pay online
  • Start your learning with a 30 minute online mini-course with videos, a safety briefing, and sign your digital waiver

Your day on the river

  • Go to Parc Moussette, in Gatineau (minutes from downtown Ottawa). There’s free parking and it’s accessible by bike path
  • Your session goes from 9:00am to 1:30pm
  • Meet your instructors (please arrive 15 minutes early)
  • Meet the group and intros
  • Suit up with top-quality gear that we’ll provide for you
  • There are nearby public bathrooms and changing areas
  • You’ll get right into the action and into the water!
  • We won’t take a long lunch break but we’ll do a couple of 15-20 minute breaks to refuel (bring your food and water bottle) and use the bathroom
  • The 4.5 hours will fly by

TOPICS COVERED

Skills

  • Swim in whitewater
  • Shallow water crossing techniques (wading)
  • Paddle rapids by packraft (inflatable kayak)
  • Whitewater maneuvers
  • Surf waves (or at least attempt to!)
  • Inflatable kayak self-rescue (flip and get back in)
  • Intro to technical safety gear: whitewater PFD, knife, whistle

Knowledge

  • River hydrology (understanding the water moves…so you can ‘read’ rapids) and basic terminology
  • River hazards and decision making
  • Internationally recognized river signals (hand and whistle)
  • Safety principles
  • How to safely ‘rig’ (tie stuff in) to a boat

What’s included

  • 4.5 hours of professional instruction with 2 Boreal River Rescue instructors and up to 10 participants
  • 30 minute online learning (to complete beforehand)—you can do it on your phone—covering river hydrology and whitewater safety principles
  • Equipment provided:
    • kayaraft (inflatable whitewater self-bailing kayak) and paddle
    • helmet and PFD (lifejacket)
    • small drybag (to store your lunch, water, hand sanitizer, etc.)
    • wetsuit:
      • From June 15th to Sept 1: summer-wetsuit (1mm) top and bottom
      • Before June 15 and after Sept 1: 4mm wetsuit

What to bring

The weather and water temperature in the summer in Ottawa are warm.

We’ll provide you with a summer-wetsuit (1mm) top and bottom. It’s a good idea to bring at least one complete layer of merino wool or synthetic clothing to wear under your wetsuit

Remember: avoid cotton—it doesn’t dry and doesn’t insulate when it’s wet.

Please also bring a pair of surf shorts or quick-dry shorts to wear over your wetsuit—they’ll help protect our wetsuits when you sit!

Your packing checklist:

  • Face mask (we wear these when we first meet, until we’ve screened everybody and reviewed COVID safety—we don’t wear them on the water for safety reasons and because we can maintain distancing)
  • Small bottle of hand sanitized (70% alcohol content)
  • Water bottle with 1L of water*
  • Food for snacks / lunch*
  • Sunscreen
  • Optional: sunglasses or prescription glasses (If you wear glasses—please bring a strap, or the river may take them!)
  • Closed-toe shoes that you can get wet (lightweight trail running shoes or running shoes are best)
  • Long-sleeved quick-dry shirt
  • Long underwear or tights
  • Undergarments, sports bra
  • Surf shorts / bathing shorts (please wear these over the wetsuit to protect the wetsuit when you sit)
  • If you get cold easily, you can “layer up” some more with thicker layers of merino wool or fleece (no cotton)
  • Change of clothes and footwear for your way home and a bag for your wet clothes

*Arrive hydrated, caffeinated (if that’s your thing), and well fed with a proper breakfast

Have a private group?

Contact us to book a group of family & friends or colleagues for a private session

Rapids in the city — map

$199(a 16% savings)
Book Now

COVID Guarantee: Change your date or transfer to a friend for free. Read our cancellation policy

reviewsBased on customer reviews

What are people saying about Ottawa Kayarafting?

  • travelPV Avatar
    travelPV
    5 star rating
    23/09/2021 - TripAdvisor

    Our group of women had a fantastic and envigerating day with Boreal River Adventures. Our three guides were very... read more

    l_onaf312 Avatar
    l_onaf312
    5 star rating
    07/09/2021 - TripAdvisor

    What a great experience for water lovers. The guides were super encouraging and respectful of each participants level of comfort.... read more

    shaundrao Avatar
    shaundrao
    5 star rating
    06/09/2021 - TripAdvisor

    Shooting white water rapids was on my bucket list - done! - fabulous - accommodating- knowledge - very skilled -... read more

  • chelseabrian Avatar
    chelseabrian
    5 star rating
    26/08/2021 - TripAdvisor

    What an amazing experience. This could be called packrafting 101 considering the amount of learning offered prior to and during... read more

    Mychelyn Avatar
    Mychelyn
    5 star rating
    22/08/2021 - TripAdvisor

    Excellent communication in French and English. Easy to find location, great facilities for washroom, shower etc...
    Classes are geared for...
    read more

    mcewan007 Avatar
    mcewan007
    5 star rating
    22/08/2021 - TripAdvisor

    An amazing intro to whitewater experience with the perfect balance of learning and fun all while enjoying really unique views... read more

  • Michaela_Sa1 Avatar
    Michaela_Sa1
    5 star rating
    15/08/2021 - TripAdvisor

    So much fun and also a great activity if you are not very comfortable in water. An amazing team is... read more

    gabrielled858 Avatar
    gabrielled858
    5 star rating
    11/08/2021 - TripAdvisor

    J'habite tout près de la rivière et pourtant, je n'avais jamais pensé me joindre à l'une des activités organisées. Je... read more

    LeGrandOrange Avatar
    LeGrandOrange
    5 star rating
    10/08/2021 - TripAdvisor

    Progressive training builds up confidence so that you are doing the unthinkable by the end of the half-day session. The... read more

  • O7098ZFmelaniea Avatar
    O7098ZFmelaniea
    5 star rating
    20/07/2021 - TripAdvisor

    I've lived in Ottawa for many years, and never knew you could have this much fun on the Ottawa River!... read more

    619elsv Avatar
    619elsv
    5 star rating
    19/07/2021 - TripAdvisor

    My son and I were very blessed with a wonderful Ottawa River experience. Great organization and expert instructors Wella and... read more

    jennifersG5001DS Avatar
    jennifersG5001DS
    5 star rating
    26/06/2021 - TripAdvisor

    So completely amazing! We decided last minute to to the white water kayaking experience and are so pumped that... read more

  • Alex1233214 Avatar
    Alex1233214
    5 star rating
    22/06/2021 - TripAdvisor

    Super, super fun! Highly recommend!! We went out on the water, learned swimming technique and went through rapids! Super awesome day!

    jamessF4955VP Avatar
    jamessF4955VP
    5 star rating
    22/06/2021 - TripAdvisor

    Boreal's Kayarafting course was the perfect introduction to reading and then riding
    on intro-level (Class 1) whitewater, and all within sight...
    read more

    FirstTimeKayarafter Avatar
    FirstTimeKayarafter
    5 star rating
    02/11/2020 - TripAdvisor

    Had a great experience with Boreal River Adventures! We went kayarafting on the Ottawa River with a group of youth... read more