Steps to Become a White Water Rafting Guide

If you love whitewater rafting, then you may want to consider becoming a white water rafting guide. It is quite easy to become a white water rafting guide; if you have the endurance and experience you are well on your way. There are several things you have to do to become a guide for white water rafting. It is important that you understand the steps involved.

Step 1: Look for Rafting Companies

The first step to becoming a white water rafting guide is to look for a reputable rafting company where you will feel comfortable working.  There are several rafting companies in the country that you can check out. Generally, these companies have specific requirements when it comes to hiring a rafting guide. However, the general process is basically the same.

Step 2: Filling Out the Application Form

Like any other job, you do need to fill out an application form to become a white water rafting guide. The application form will generally ask you questions pertaining to your experience as a white water rafter. The form may vary per rafting company, but essentially, you will be assessed according to your experience level. If you do not have enough experience with white water rafting, then you may want to enroll to a river guide or river rescue training course prior to your application.

Step 3: Undergo Training

No matter how experienced you are, almost all rafting companies require rigorous training for all their guides. The length of training you will undergo depends largely on the company. However, you can expect to undergo 10 to 12 weeks of training, most of which are done in a white water river. The training process includes maneuvering the boats or rafts, raft rigging, signals, and reading white water. You can also expect to train white water rafting in higher class rapids like Class IV and V and the safety procedures you will need to survive them.

Step 4: Rescue Training

You also need to undergo rescue training. Basic training also includes righting a flipped boat, rafting safety procedures and strategies for self-rescue, as well as executing steering strokes and how to swim rapids. In addition to these, you will also need to learn how to “unwrap” a boat and rescue swimmers. Another part of the rescue training is equipment repair and maintenance and safety put-in talks.

Step 5: Camping Skills

Beside rescue and white water river training, you also need to undergo basic camping skills. As a guide, you are often expected to act as tour guide for the visitors who sign up. So, knowledge on basic camping skills are needed including cooking meals in a wilderness setting and care and use of rafting equipment in between trips.

Step 5: Wilderness Training

Since you will be working in locations where preservation is important, you also need to be trained and prepared for river conservation and wilderness camping skills that emphasizes Leave No Trace ethics. Some rafting companies also include local and river history to give you an idea on your work environment.

Step 6: Passing the Release Trip

After you have undergone all the training, you need to pass your release trip before you become a full-fledged guide. A release trip requires a trainee to guide a raft with customers and a senior guide—pretty much like a practical exam.