by Julie K. Trevelyan
What boat did you or will you ride in, and why on earth does it have that particular name? The histories behind Holiday’s boat names are varied and in many cases fascinating. They provide extra river rafting lore that add even more depth and interest to your whitewater rafting vacation. The following boats were named after men who all had a hand in shaping commercial river rafting years before it became the recreational choice it is today for thousands of adventurers.

Norm –

Norm Nevills became a boatman in the 1930s. After he married his equally river-loving wife, Doris, they took their honeymoon on the San Juan River in an unusual craft: a raft Norm built himself out of an old horse trough. River: Green and Colorado Rivers

Emery –

Emery Kolb made his mark as a Grand Canyon photographer. His other claim to fame, spurred on by his brother, Ellsworth, came from a notable 1911-1912 rafting expedition down the Green and Colorado rivers. He and Ellsworth operated Kolb studio, situated right on the rim of the Grand Canyon by the Bright Angel Trail, for 75 years. River: Green and Colorado Rivers

Ellsworth –

Fascinated by risk-taking, river running, and moving pictures, Ellsworth Kolb was known as the more daring of the brothers. Part of his early claim to fame was the motion picture he and Emery shot of their Grand Canyon rafting trip in 1912—the first time such a trip was ever filmed. River:  Colorado River Rafting

Bus –

Back in the 1930s, Bus Hatch started to run Utah rivers, particularly the Green and Colorado. Known for living large and having plenty of fun on the water, his legacy continues today in a family-run operation. River: Green and Yampa


Wm. Ashley –

A fur trapper and explorer, General William Ashley floated the Green River in 1825.  The most challenging rapid on the Green River, Ashley Falls, was so named by John Wesley Powell in honor of one of the river’s first runners. River:  Colorado and Green




Julie TrevelyanWritten by Julie Trevelyan.

Julie is a freelance writer and wilderness guide in southern Utah. She especially enjoys books, coffee, yoga, wild country, horses, and dark chocolate.

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