Float trip etiquette

By: Tyler Zaring, Sports Editor

Source: ozarkoutdoors.net

With the summer coming to a close and the float trip season all but over I have been able to make it to two different float trips with vastly different experiences. For many in mid-Missouri traveling to Leasburg and or Steelville is a summer tradition to join family and friends on a weekend camping and float trip.

While the two trips I took were with completely different groups of people and on two completely different rivers and events on the river. The Bull Float Trip put on by 93.7 The Bull is a large four day event with concerts at night and a float trip in rafts during the day on Saturday. This year marked the 15th time the float trip has happened and it is a big one.

With very little room to maneuver your raft most people drop their paddles for food and drinks to sing their favorite songs with more than a thousand of their closest friends. With this large of an event there are many people to watch and see some do’s and some things maybe you shouldn’t do.

One of the shouldn’t do people is the guy wearing a speedo. While you may think you look good and want to show everyone that you workout on a regular basis, no one, I repeat no one wants to see all of that. To go along with this guy’s arrogance is his probably fatter friend who decided to bring a bear helmet like a mascot of a sporting team. While everyone is laughing at you during the day as you chug through the eye of the helmet maybe this wasn’t the best choice. By the end of the day you vow to be back next year and do it all again with maybe even a few more people to follow in your tracks, so maybe this was a good choice.

Someone that you always want to be in your canoe or raft is the person who went out of their way before the trip to make everyone a delicious treat. This person always brings jello shots and instantly becomes the best friend of everyone on the trip. If they are not in your friend group you are hoping that you hook up with another group that has this float trip delicacy. While these are great, not every time you go on a trip are they present as it was in my friend group trip with canoes. The Bull Float had no shortage of jello shots and other groups of people were not shy in throwing them around to other groups that they didn’t know.

One person who is the worst type of person to have in your group for a float trip is the person who doesn’t pack enough to drink for the whole float trip. These people usually are found asking the other people in the raft or canoes to borrow one or two and that they have more at the camp site. Which starts the question as to why they don’t have them to begin with.

The first thing you do for a float trip is choose whether or not you are going to be riding in a raft or in canoes. While canoes are how the natives boated around in the olden days we have been given the advance of technology and rubber rafts that can fit up to ten people. If you have more than six people you can get a raft and it is just as cheap as using canoes. Canoes are cumbersome and for the less advanced are easily tipped losing all of your stuff into the water and making the canoe hard to tip back over to get the water out of it. Rafts are the best choice for groups that don’t want to have to paddle and do more work.

With rafts you can sit in the raft and drink without having to pick up a paddle. While these can drag more on the rocks when the rivers are low they are easily pulled out by one or two people getting out and just pushing or pulling it out of the shallows. Overall float trips almost always come out successful but you want some of these people and things on your trip to make it the best trip ever and some of the other people you want to stay away from so as to not make the trip uncomfortable for anyone in the group.