Proposal:River Difficulty

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River Difficulty
Proposal status: Abandoned (inactive)
Proposed by: OSM Peter
Tagging: river_difficulty=1-6, may be followed by + -
Applies to: linear
Definition: Adding the International Scale of River Difficulty to Waterways

Rendered as: free text like "WW III+“
Draft started:
Proposed on: 02.10.2008


See tagging scheme put forward on WikiProject Whitewater Maps which is in use.

This proposal is a (different) duplication of that idea. Maybe accidental?

This proposal was put forward in November 2008 now Abandoned (inactive)


Proposed new tag: river_difficulty=1-6, may be followed by + - ==


The International Scale of River Difficulty is a standardized scale used to rate the safety of a stretch of river, or a single rapid. The grade reflects the technical difficulty and skill level required associated with the section of river. The system is used for Canoeing, Rafting, Riverboarding and Rowing:

  • Help river users make informed decisions
  • Encourage kayakers to use rivers that match their skill level
  • Manage risk and minimize injuries
  • Improve the outdoor experience for a wide variety of kayakers

This can be used to create river maps that are especially useful for planning river activities.

Tag Values

river_difficulty=1-6, may be followed by + -

Possible values are: 1-, 1, 1+, 2-, 2, 2+, 3-, 3, 3+, 4-, 4, 4+, 5-, 5, 5+, 6-, 6, 6+

WikiPedia: There are six levels each referred to as "Grade" or "Class" and then a number. The scale is not linear, nor is it fixed. For instance, there can be hard grade twos, easy grade threes, and so on. The grade of a river may change with the level of flow. Often a river or rapid will be given a numerical grade, and then a plus (+) or minus (-) to indicate if it is in the higher or lower end of the difficulty level. Also note that while a river section may be given an overall grading, it may contain sections above that grade, often noted as features, or conversely, it may contain sections of lower graded water as well. Details of portages may be given if these pose specific challenges.

Grade 1: Easy

Grade 2: Medium

Grade 3: Difficult

Grade 4: Very difficult

Grade 5: Extremely difficult

Grade 6: Unrunnable


Can be rendered the same way as the river name.

The grades shall be displayed in Roman numerals headed by WW for White Water.

Example: WW IV-


For details see the WikiPedia page International Scale of River Difficulty.

The german version can be found here.