There are a number of precautions you can take to avoid pinning hazards. A little bit of arm chair kayaking like reviewing guidebooks and the AW web site often alert you to known river hazards like Initiation Rapid on the Upper Gauley. Some other great sources for this type of information are Boatertalk and your local club's website. When running rivers, get in the habit of breaking down rapids into a series of eddy moves. Don't leave an eddy unless you can see a clear line to your next one. If that isn't possible, get out and scout the rapid. Rapids that have severe consequences, like Crack in the Rock on section 4 of the Chattooga River should have safety set. Build your basic boating skills, especially bracing and rolls. If you are upside down, the river is in control - not you. Learn how to identify obstacles like clam shell shaped rocks, sieves, undercuts, and the potential for strainers. Speaking of strainers, stay away from them and don't play upstream from them. It is usually best to portage man-made structures like breached dams. Dams are made with concrete and rebar. Rebar can quickly puncture and cut through any boat material. It can also snag life vests and other clothing.