Different Whitewater Vessels

There are many different ways for whitewater enthusiasts to hit the water this spring (assuming the temperature ever rises!). Depending on your needs and preferences, you may find that some different boats are easier to traverse and some are more difficult. On the New River Gorge, many, many, many different types of “seacraft” hit the water, but we’ve made a list of some of our favorite varieties – and what you should know about each of them!



Obviously, this is one that is nearest and dearest to our hearts – but we might be a touch biased. Rafts generally hold 6-8 people, and require teamwork and direction to propel the raft in the correct direction. This can be an exhilarating group activity that often features exciting, adrenaline packed opportunities. Additionally, this type of vessel can be maneuvered slowly along a gentle current, making it a great option for those who are new or nervous with water. Rafts are the inflatable and versatile giants of the self-propelled whitewater vessels. Although they may not be as quick or easy to turn as some of their smaller water counterparts, they do provide a level of balance and interaction that is highly attractive to many whitewater enthusiasts of all levels.



These narrow boats have been used around the world for decades. Their deep history begins with the Native Americans, most notably, the Inuits. They were developed over 4,000 years ago and were initially used as hunting boats in the cold waters of Alaska. Since then, technology has advanced considerably to the light and (usually) highly maneuverable kayaks that we see today. Designs can vary greatly depending on the intended purpose of the kayak, but one thing is for certain across all designs – they are sure to give the rider a breathtaking experience – no matter where they are in the world! Whitewater kayaks are made of hard, smooth plastic allowing them to withstand not only the pressure of the water, but the occasionally bump into a rock or two.



These are a hybrid between a kayak and a whitewater raft. Kids usually love these fun little boats, and they are great for those who would like to explore the water in a slightly smaller group than on a raft. What makes these interesting is that they are similar in shape and size to a kayak, but they are inflatable like a raft. These are some of the most versatile water vessels available to whitewater enthusiasts because of the level of control it offers to the riders. Like many of the larger inflatable rafts, no previous experience is necessary for some trips on the New River in a Duckie.


Whichever whitewater adventure you choose, you can be sure that it will be an adventure filled, memorable day. And don’t forget, even if you go on a duckie today, you can always go on a raft tomorrow!


Do you have a favorite whitewater vessel? Or any tips for those trying to choose their next adventure? Leave it in a comment below!