What it takes to be a raft guide

By Mild to Wild   •   February 11, 2012

Having been a raft guide in Colorado for the past four years, I can honestly say it is one of the best seasonal jobs you can have as an outdoor enthusiast. If you have a passion for the outdoors and can handle the physical demands of rafting, it can be one of the most gratifying and exhilarating job experiences in your lifetime!

Lower Animas RaftingIn order to get started on this road of adventure you first must be 18 years of age or older and complete a state certified training program offered by several different companies throughout the United States. The state of Colorado requires 50 hours of on river training with an instructor and that you be certified in CPR and First-Aid. Over the coarse of these 50 hours you will learn how to maneuver oar and paddle boats, how to give a safety speech and all the river hazards you need be aware of before you get on the river. The training will also include river safety, how to properly use a throw bag and flip a boat if the situation arises. You will go over the responsibilities and procedures of a multi-day trip, and how to entertain and take care of your customers.

Taking care of our guests is one of the biggest priorities of being a raft guide. This not only includes keeping them safe, but keeping them entertained and establishing a friendly relationship with them from the get-go. The vast array of people you get to meet and share this outdoor adventure with is one of the best parts about rafting, so it’s important to be sociable and congenial. Overall, being a raft guide has been one of the best experiences of my life, but I wouldn’t have been able to be successful without on river training, medical certifications, and my outgoing personality.

– Zach Butler, River Guide since 2009
For information on Mild to Wild’s 12 Day comprehensive whitewater guide course click here.

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