Rivers are filled with various obstacles. Many obstacles like holes, waves, and falls make the very rapids we find challenging and fun. Other obstacles like low head dams, sieves, undercuts, and strainers are features we really want to avoid. Scouting, either from the boat or on shore is one of the most important precautions we can take to avoid becoming another statistic.

A major part of this course is devoted to teaching you about various river obstacles you are likely to encounter and how to recognize them.   Various articles in this section provide pictures of the above features.  Take time to look at them closely so you can recognize them yourself.  Ask yourself, why a certain feature might or might not be dangerous.  We will also show you a number of features; some dangerous, some not on the second day of our course. Learn how to spot potential trouble from the shore as well as from your boat. As you get more experience, you will find it easier to recognize hazards and exactly how water interacts with them.