What are the Rules & Regulations?
Tell me more about the Release of Liability Form?
All adults must sign our form assuming responsibility for themselves, their children, all minors in their group, and all property taken on the trip, both rented and private. Parents or legal guardians who will not be accompanying their minor child on our trips must sign our waiver in advance of the trip showing their consent for their child to participate in this activity and their understanding of the risks and responsibilities that go along with that participation. The form should be downloaded in advance or obtained in person or by mail from our office. NO waiver, NO Rental, NO Exceptions!
What is in the safety orientation?
Our twenty-minute orientation, which everyone must observe in its entirety without interruption, has been designed by professional paddlers and educators to give you the basic skills you’ll need to have a safe and pleasant experience on our rivers. Some of the things we’ll tell you about during orientation include:
Are the trips guided?
Remember our trips are self-guided. You have to be able to take care of yourself on the river. Come expecting fun and relaxation, particularly on our easier trips, but be prepared for some challenge, even if it’s just getting in and out of your boat on a steep and slippery bank! People who are unprepared for spills or incapable of moderate physical exertion should not undertake this activity. You will need to be able to help load and unload your (76 lbs.) canoe and carry it over short distances. Of course, you’ll have to be able to paddle it down the river. In selecting your trip you need to consider the skill level of the least experienced members of your group. Only the people in the boat can control it. Don’t ruin your day by picking something too tough for all to handle.
Do I need to be able to swim?
Because of the inherent dangers of all water sports, we suggest that all non-swimmers stay home.
What is the minimum age?
The minimum age is six years old. Children under age 10 should always be accompanied by a parent or guardian. All customers regardless of age must be able to maneuver the boat their are paddling. Young children usually lack the strength and maturity that is needed to carry, maneuver, and paddle the boat safely in a rapid. They generally don’t understand our orientation and safety talk. Parents or legal guardians who will not be accompanying their minor child on our trips must sign our “Parent/Guardian Permission Form” in advance of the trip showing their consent for their child to participate in this activity and their understanding of the risks and responsibilities that go along with that participation.
Group Discounts (Any Day or Tubing Trips)
10% off any activity with 15 or 29 people.
20% off any activity with 30 or more people.
Group discount requires trip leader to collect all waivers and turn them in with a single payment.
Group discounts don’t apply to multiday river trips as they are already discounted.
The American Whitewater Affiliation Scale of River Difficulty?
Class I: Easy. Fast moving water with riffles and small waves. Few obstructions, all obvious and easily missed with little training. Risk to swimmers is slight; self-rescue is easy.
Class II: Novice. Straightforward rapids with wide, clear channels which are evident without scouting. Occasional maneuvering may be required, but rocks and medium sized waves are easily missed by trained paddlers. Swimmers are seldom injured and group assistance, while helpful, is seldom needed.
Class III: Intermediate. Rapids with moderate, irregular waves which may be difficult to avoid and which can swamp an open canoe. Complex maneuvers in fast current and good boat control in tight passages or around ledges are often required; large waves or strainers may be present but are easily avoided. Strong eddies and powerful current effects can be found, particularly on large-volume rivers. Scouting is advisable for inexperienced parties. Injuries while swimming are rare; self-rescue is usually easy but group assistance may be required to avoid long swims.
Class IV: Advanced. Intense, powerful but predictable rapids requiring precise boat handling in turbulent water. Depending on the character of the river, it may feature large, unavoidable waves and holes or constricted passages demanding fast maneuvers under pressure. A fast, reliable eddy turn may be needed to initiate maneuvers, scout rapids, or rest. Rapids may require “must” moves above dangerous hazards. Scouting is necessary the first time down. Risk of injury to swimmers is moderate to high, and water conditions may make self rescue difficult. Group assistance for rescue is often essential but requires practiced skills. A strong Eskimo roll is highly recommended.
Class V: Expert. Extremely long, obstructed, or very violent rapids which expose a paddler to above average endangerment. Drops may contain large, unavoidable waves and holes or steep, congested chutes with complex, demanding routes. Rapids may continue for long distances between pools, demanding a high level of fitness. What eddies exist may be small, turbulent, or difficult to reach. At the high end of the scale, several of these factors may be combined. Scouting is mandatory but often difficult. Swims are dangerous, and rescue is difficult even for experts. A very reliable Eskimo roll, proper equipment, extensive experience, and practiced rescue skills are essential for survival.
Class VI: Extreme. One grade more difficult than Class V. These runs often exemplify the extremes of difficulty, unpredictability, and danger. The consequences of errors are very severe and rescue may be impossible. For teams of experts only, at favorable water levels, after close personal inspection and taking all precautions. This class does not represent drops thought to be unrunnable, but may include rapids which are only occasionally run.
What about bad weather cancellation?
We won’t put a boat on the river by itself when the combined air and water temperature is under 100 degrees or when the water temperature in the James is under 55 degrees, the Maury 50 degrees. We always reserve the option to move your trip to another if the conditions on your reserved choice are unsafe or the water is too low. We will also move anyone we deem not up to the trip reserved to an easier, safer trip. Remember that the more challenging a trip is, the more opportunity there is for injury or property damage. Customers are responsible for themselves, those in their group, and all personal and rented equipment.
Are dogs allowed?
It has been our experience that many dogs do not enjoy a day on the river as much as people think they would. However, we will allow dogs to be taken on the river with some limitations. Please call our shop for details. This must be disclosed at time of reservation so we can arrange a custom, private shuttle.
Do you sell used canoes?
Yes, Twin River Outfitters sells off a portion of its canoe fleet every year. Prices range from $325 – $425, per canoe and vary depending on condition. Call 540-261-7334 for latest details.
Shuttles for private paddlers?
The Upper James River Water Trail website is a great resource of general information for private boaters. We are always happy to talk to customers about booking a trip and are happy to answer general river questions. Our website will answer 99% of all routine questions when you are planning a trip. Please make sure to read through it prior to calling our shop as it almost always has the answers you are looking for. We can’t make recommendations beyond what is on our website because we don’t really have the time to interview private boaters to determine what is suitable for their skill level. We also have no control over what they eventually opt to run and how well equipped they are for that run. We do not want to make decisions about what is appropriate for people we don’t know, won’t meet, and will not be in a position to screen. Additionally, most of the property along the river banks are private property. The arrangements that we have with landowners cannot be extended by us to non-customers. Note that any island big enough to have suitable camping is deeded to someone and is private property. When planning your trip to our area, be sure to get the permission of landowners for access and camping – We have! You should also know that crossing railroad property to access the river is a class IV misdemeanor with a minimum fine of $250.00. Our facilities and space are very limited here, and most of the time we can’t accommodate people who are just looking for advice. We welcome your visits and will assist when we can, but obviously weekends and holidays are pretty frantic around here just seeing that our customers are tended to. Lastly have a safe and fun day on the river.
Twin River Outfitters has a small fleet of white water rafts and when water levels permit can be a great option for many parties. Rafts offer a very stable and safe paddling platform in higher water levels making it a great when taking small kids or novice paddlers. Rafts can hold two to six paddlers allowing for a unique group river experience. Rafts require at least two adult sized customers to paddle. They work best when the James River is above 3.0 feet or higher on the Buchanan river gauge. We typically have these water levels from April through early June. Rafts also work great for spring overnight camping trips.
Weight Limits / Physical requirements
Our maximum weight limit is 325 lbs. Additionally, customers must be able to swim and physically be able to get in out of rental equipment without assistance and able to self rescue if required.
What to Bring?