One of the most fun ways to gather and socialize with fellow boaters is by participating in a raft up. Whether you are boating in saltwater or freshwater, rafting up is ordinary in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Despite not knowing what it means to raft boats, you have likely seen this from time to time when being out on the water. Just what exactly is a raft up?

What Does It Mean To Raft Up A Boat

Rafting up is a social gathering of boaters. The boats are secured side to side and form a long chain. 

The boat owners and guests have the opportunity to walk from vessel to vessel or jump in the water and cool off while venturing to the shore or a neighboring watercraft. 

It is not uncommon for some of its participants to bring a grill and cook for the whole party during a raft up. Bring along plenty of food and drinks because you never know who will jump on board. 

Where Do Raft Ups Occur

The destination for rafting up is the neatest thing about the experience. Generally, boats raft around sandbars and beaches. 

Beaches and sandbars allow boaters to enter the water with a short swim to land. Rather than being forced to stay on the vessels, raft up participants can spread out, pop umbrellas, layout the beach chairs, and pass a ball. 

Remember, in coastal regions, the currents are strong on changing tides, so ensure the water is safe to enter. Swimmers can quickly become swept away. 

How Do You Raft Up With Another Boat

Rafting up is a simple process when the steps are followed closely. Remember to maneuver the vessel at a safe speed to avoid causing damage or injury.  

Ensure that the water is deep enough to enter without touching the bottom with the motor’s propeller. Always take into account tidal changes in coastal regions, or the vessel can become grounded. 

The largest vessel of the group should be in the center of the back and deploy the anchor with ample scope to avoid the hook from pulling free. 

Once the anchor is set, fellow boaters can begin maneuvering into position. Always keep the largest boats to the center and decrease in size as the line extends outwards. 

Fenders must be deployed before the boats securing side by side. The fenders will avoid damage coming alongside and for the duration of the raft up. 

Slowly drive boats into position and throw the bow and stern line to the neighboring vessel. It is crucial to connect the bow line from one watercraft to the neighbor’s stern and vice versa for the second line. Pull the lines tight to avoid gaps where people can slip between when moving from boat to boat.

The process is now complete, and it is time to enjoy socializing, swimming, food, and drinks. 

What Precautions Should Be Take When Rafting Vessels

There are two major precautions to be considered when rafting vessels. The first is something that cannot be controlled and that is the weather. 

Fast moving storms catching boaters off guard regularly. Imagine scrambling to untie vessels rafted up side by side. The process is long and must not be rushed. Avoid becoming caught in dangerous weather by monitoring conditions throughout the day.

A second precaution is monitoring swimmers in the water when departing the raft up. Without warning, a swimmer may be approaching the stern to climb aboard while attempting to maneuver. Watch for swimmers in the front and the back of the vessel.

Lastly, as mentioned before, currents in coastal regions shift between incoming and outgoing tides. Prepare to make adjustments as necessary and warn swimmers before entering the water of potential swift-moving water. 

Are You Ready To Raft Up With Fellow Boaters

One of the most fun ways to socialize, enjoy the sun, and cool off in the water with all of your great boating friends is to plan and participate in a raft up. While some raft parties are orgazined events, don’t hesitate to call up fellow boat owners and plan your own trip to the beach or sandbar.