Why Wet Planet? Because we have a higher standard!
Wet Planet was created by whitewater professionals who believed in rising above current industry standards to provide a higher level of guest service and risk management.
Currently, Wet Planet continues to set the bar higher for the Pacific Northwest's commercial whitewater industry. From our staff training to our equipment choices, the following are all areas in which Wet Planet sets the standard:
The core of the Wet Planet experience is our staff. From the folks making you espresso in the shop to our river guides and instructors, we have the most experienced and highly trained staff in the region. Period.
We can't even begin to summarize our staff's incredible experiences on rivers throughout the world. We had to devote a whole section of our site just to describe our incredible team members. Check out our staff and their immeasurable whitewater experience.
Our Commitment to Risk Management
We are committed to providing the highest level of risk management. It is our promise that we will never compromise this commitment for financial reasons. We follow through with this commitment by maintaining the following standards:
Organization on the River
At Wet Planet, we place an emphasis on organized river travel. Our guides and instructors are trained in river etiquette in order to ensure that our trips run smoothly. The most notable result is that our trips are, in river terms, tight. This means that all of the rafts in a trip stay within sight and within communicating distance of each other.
For our guests, this means that you are close to your friends in other rafts and your experience on the river flows smoothly. For our guides, it means that every guide is in position and ready to respond to any raft in need of assistance. Our guides remain in contact with each other through the use of paddle signals and routine check-in points. This ensures that each guide is aware of any situations within the entire group.
Our effective organization also minimizes our impact on other river users and maintains a respectful relationship with the broader river community.
Part of executing a well organized trip is maintaining a suitable maximum trip size. We have trip size limits for each of our rivers, based upon the number of rafts that we can effectively manage while providing a pleasant experience in each river corridor. At Wet Planet, we will not add people to a trip indefinitely to increase our pocketbook. This only makes your experience worse, as well as the experience of other river users.
Communication and organization during river travel are also topics covered on our whitewater kayak courses.
On all of our guided raft trips and kayak instruction courses, our guides and instructors carry complete rescue kits. We bring fully-stocked First Aid Kits that receive regular inspections, repair kits (pumps and patches for rafts, parts for kayaks, etc.), and pin kits consisting of ropes, slings, carabiners, prusicks, and pulleys. This equipment allows us to perform advanced rescues or recover pinned boats. While most of this equipment is hopefully standard at all whitewater companies, Wet Planet raises the standard with our use of modern communication equipment, see below.
During any river emergency, it is essential that we can quickly and efficiently communicate with outside sources. At Wet Planet, we take advantage of modern technology. On river trips where there is cell phone coverage or quick access to roads, we carry cell phones. On all other trips, we carry a satellite phone. At Wet Planet, we use the Globalstar Qualcomm 1600 satellite phone system. This ensures that no matter where we are in the world--from the Klickitat wilderness to Peruvian canyons--we have the ability to quickly contact and communicate with outside resources in an emergency situation.
Kayak Support Boaters
On our smaller raft trips with only one raft, a kayak support boater paddles along with the trip. A kayak support boater is a kayaker that travels with the raft, maintaining a close position to help with any problems. If a person falls out of the raft, the support boater can quickly get to that person and assist him/her back to the raft on the back of the kayak. This is the case on all of our one-raft trips, regardless of the difficulty of the water.
We feel that having two guides in separate boats we are better prepared for any possibility while out on the river.
Our kayak support boaters are not just raft guides with a day off. They are professional kayakers capable of providing support and rescue during challenging whitewater trips. Like our class V guides, they possess extensive First Aid and Swiftwater Rescue training. With two support boaters on the water, Wet Planet is committed to minimizing the risk faced with challenging whitewater.
Number of Guests Per Raft
Although most of our rafts are capable of holding a seventh guest in the rear compartment next to the guide, we limit our rafts to six guests at any time we are running class IV or higher whitewater. While many companies attempt to fill the seventh spot or place smaller children in the center of the raft in efforts to fit more people on a trip, Wet Planet believes that properly loaded rafts play a vital roll in the positive experience our guests expect from us. None of our guides would want to be in that stern compartment next to someone else while careening over Husum Falls. You shouldn't have to do it either.
If there are more than six people on a trip with class IV whitewater, we take more rafts. If you have a group of seven, we can split you up into two smaller rafts (the use of various raft sizes is another area where we set the standard...read more below), providing a positive experience for everyone.
The Wet Planet Headquarters is changing the face of Northwest commercial whitewater. We believe that your experience with us begins the moment you arrive at our headquarters and continues until you head back home.We are the only headquarters in the region to provide all of the following:
- Private parking
- Changing rooms
- Hot shower
- Camping for our guests
- A full service espresso bar with smoothies, snacks and pastries
- Printed pictures of your trip
- Any last minute items, such as sunscreen or sunglasses, that you might have forgotten
- Picnic and BBQ areas
- Plenty of space to relax alongside the river
For more on our headquarters, check out our headquarters page.
Part of managing the risks and providing an outstanding experience on any whitewater trip is maintaining professional equipment. At Wet Planet, we use high quality equipment that is replaced on a regular, rotating basis in all aspects of our operation.
We are setting standards in the industry by utilizing a wide range of rafts for our guided rafting trips. We believe that the number of guests on a trip, any special needs they may have, and the type of whitewater being run should determine the size and style of raft used, rather than the other way around. We have a fleet of rafts that can handle almost any possibility:
12 foot Sotar Elite: This high performance raft is like a sports car for those smaller trips (2 to four people).
13 foot Aire 130D: With a tapered bow and stern, smaller tubes, and lots of rocker, this is a very maneuverable raft that will hold up to six people. Great when facing challenging whitewater where you need a raft that can move quickly or for providing an exciting ride on easier whitewater.
13.5 foot Aire 135: Slightly more spacious raft without the tapered bow and stern. Great raft for six larger people or when you want a little more stability in your ride.
14 foot Custom Sotar: Slightly larger rafts custom built with larger than normal tubes. These rafts are great when we have high water days and want the most stability possible or when guests are looking for a dry ride.
14 foot Sotar Oar Rig: This is our custom Sotar outfitted with a frame and oars. We use this raft in situations where we have guests that want to experience whitewater river travel but are unable to paddle themselves. With this setup, the guest has a comfortable seat, and the guide takes care of all of the rowing. This raft is also excellent for hauling gear and food on our longer trips.
We use a range of kayaks with modern designs on all of our kayak instruction courses. With a variety of sizes and designs, we have kayaks that will meet the needs of all of our students. Our instruction fleet includes kayaks from Jackson, Dagger, Wavesport and more.
- Personal flotation jacket
- Booties for your feet
- Paddle jacket
- Fleece sweater
Our Commitment to Our Environment
Part of the ethic behind Wet Planet includes operating our company in an environmentally responsible manner. We hope to inspire others to do the same through both education and setting a positive example.
In 2010 Wet Planet became the first tour operator in the Columbia River Gorge to receive an Eco-Certification through Sustainable Travel International.
This certification helps our clients differentiate us from other "green" businesses. STI holds their Eco-Certified business accountable in areas such as energy consumption, waste management, community involvement and impact on local economy. To learn more, check out Our Planet page.
We are also partners with Leave No Trace, Inc. and, where possible, use organic cotton and environmentally friendly dyes in our t-shirts, serve espresso from organically grown coffee, and follow the principles of minimal impact wilderness travel.