Raft Guide School FAQs

What do raft guides do?

Raft guides are responsible, first and foremost, for the safety of the guests in their rafts. Guides help rafters with safety gear, do pre-trip instruction, guide the raft down the channel during the adventure and make sure guests have an awesome experience! Most guides are outgoing, enjoy talking to people and have a great sense of humor.

What experience do I need to sign up for Raft Guide School?

No experience is needed to register for RIVERSPORT Rapids Raft Guide School. It is designed for people who enjoy outdoor adventure and are eager to learn about whitewater rafting.

Is Raft Guide School free?

RIVERSPORT Rapids Raft Guide School is not a free course. Like lifeguard training, it is an investment you make in yourself. Cost is $175. Upon completion of the course and a successful season of employment, you will be reimbursed $100.

Is any special gear required for Raft Guide School?

You will want to dress to get wet. For warm weather, a bathing suit, board shorts and tshirt or similar gear will work fine. You’ll need water shoes, old sneakers or sandals with a heel strap. A rash guard/quick drying clothing is also recommended.

 If the weather is cool, a rain jacket and quick-drying leggings are recommended. Avoid cotton clothing and jeans during cold weather; they will only make you colder.

While in Raft Guide School, RIVERSPORT Rapids will provide you with a whitewater specific Personal Floatation Device (PFD), whitewater specific helmet, and paddle. Splash jackets, splash bottoms, and booties (footwear) are available as foul weather gear options.

We also suggest bringing sunscreen, a towel, a change of dry clothes & shoes, and an eyeglasses strap (if needed).

What will I learn in Raft Guide School?

Over six days you will learn everything you need to know to be a successful raft guide including hydrology, knots, CPR/First Aid, basic swift water techniques and self-rescue, paddle strokes and much more. Student guided runs on the whitewater channels will provide great hands-on learning experiences.

After I complete Raft Guide School, am I guaranteed a job at RIVERSPORT Rapids?

Raft Guide School is part of the interview process to become a raft guide at RIVERSPORT Rapids and completion does not guarantee a job. You will be evaluated throughout the six-day course on your skills as a raft guide and your fit within the organization. Upon completion, instructors will determine if you are qualified to begin the check-out process. Once check out has been accomplished, all prospective employees must complete a successful background check and drug screening.

What is the check-out process?

The RIVERSPORT Rapids Check-Out Process is a three-step qualification you must complete before being selected as a raft guide. The first step is riding along with experienced RIVERSPORT Rapids guides to learn and practice your skills. Three ride alongs are required before the first step can be completed. You may repeat this as often as needed until you are comfortable moving onto the next step, the check-out run. On the check-out run, you will be the actual guide with real guests. You must pass two check-out runs and have the required gear and equipment for the final check out, a flip drill. The flip drill ensures that you are able to maintain control of and right a flipped raft.

If I become a Raft Guide, what gear will I need?

To become a RIVERSPORT Rapids raft guide you must purchase the required gear before you complete your second check out. This is all standard gear required for all raft guides around the world. Raft Guide School attendees receive a 30% discount at the RIVERSPORT Rapids Outfitter Store.

  • Whitewater specific helmet
  • River knife
  • 2 locking carabiners
  • Flip line
  • Whistle
  • Throw bag
  • Waterproof/Water resistant watch
  • Secure footwear (no flip-flops)

Once you are hired, you will need to purchase a staff PFD & Guide Shorts. You may either buy these two items up front or we offer a payroll deduction option.

What is the pay scale for raft guides?

The pay for a raft guide begins at $10/hr.

How many hours per week can a raft guide expect to work?

RIVERSPORT Rapids raft guides will work anywhere from 4 to 40 hours per week, April through September. Raft guides can also be cross-trained to work in land Adventures and as dragon boat steerers. Your personal availability and your on-the-job performance will determine how many hours you are scheduled for each week. We plan to hire 50-70 raft guides in 2016. We hope you will join the team!