Face Your Danger
Before inflatable rafts, commercial river trips, and designer life jackets: if you wanted to go down any river, you went in a wooden boat. The most successful design to emerge out of these early days was the cataract boat. The original 1930's design was sixteen feet in length and five feet wide with a pronounced rake, fore and aft, a broad stern, and flat bottom. When the water got rough, the boatman rotated stern first and faced their danger.