Rivers are some of nature’s most intense locations. Navigating the rapids in canoe, kayak, or raft can be one of the most thrilling experiences. It is no wonder thousands of people every year pay good money to go on guided journeys down the whitewater rapids of the world.
River sports are incredibly popular. It is a sport that nearly everyone can enjoy. Rivers come in all sizes, called classes. They can be nice and mellow or churning and ferocious or anywhere in between. The adventure is getting down in one piece.
With such a large number of people eager to go rafting, there is a big demand for whitewater rafting guides – a demand that needs young river runners like you. River guide jobs mostly run for the summer season, which usually coincides with college summer vacation. It’s a nice way to escape the heat, get the heart going, and make some money. Plus there are rivers all over the place. You may find yourself cruising on the San Juan River in Utah, or playing in the warm waters of North Carolina’s Natahala, or holding on for dear life on the Montana’s Flathead.
In order to get a whitewater raft guiding job, you need to be a competent kayaker, rafter, or canoer. Rafting guide jobs are the most abundant and possibly the most lucrative. You’ll be working on the river all day everyday. You also will be dealing and directing people, your clients, as you navigate the river with them. And as you do all this, you’ll be traveling through some of the country’s most spectacular terrain.
When you apply for a job, you need to go in with some basic skills. Reading rapids and rivers is crucial, as you’ll be guiding inexperienced people down dangerous rivers.
You also need to know knot skills, river signals, equipment maintenance, wilderness safety, first aid, how to swim, flip lines, how to right a flipped raft, outdoor leadership skills, cooking, and camping abilities.
The best way to master these skills is through experience, but if you want to get it done quickly you may want to attend Raft Guide School. Then you need to find a river outfitter who will hire you. It is best to work on a river you know well because it will help you get the job of your choice, but that isn’t mandatory. Pay is decent and often room and board are included, but check with the outfitter that employs you. Plan on being paid about $1,000 to $1,500 a month or some groups pay by the number of trips you make – figure 2 trips a day at $30 a trip, plus tips.
Pretty much, there is no better way to spend a hot summer day than on the river. Being a river guide is a dream come true – earning money, on the river, playing.