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Rafting businesses busy despite river dangers

Posted at 7:10 PM, Jun 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-06 01:20:35-04

Despite recent rescues and deaths in the Kern River, business is booming for rafting companies in Kernville.

"We've almost tripled what we were doing 2 years ago," said Tom Moore, president and co-owner of Sierra South Sports. "Of course we had no water two years ago, so it's easy to get better than that."

Moore says he and his team have been busy, running rafting trips since mid-March and expecting business to continue to be good.

But to some, the river has earned the nickname "Killer Kern", a name Moore doesn't agree with.

"I hate that moniker," he said.

To deal with the danger of faster-moving water, Moore and his team have been training daily to deal with the swift currents. They also add an extra safety raft on their runs, just in case.

His customers are also outfitted with a special Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Moore says people get into trouble when they wear the wrong kind of jacket, or when they don't wear one at all.

If people are concerned with the danger of the river, Moore recommends waiting to raft until July or August. He also says that going with a professional is a must.