Have you ever wondered how to get trained and licensed to be a white water rafting guide? How you could spend your days rafting with awesome people on rivers all around the world? Here is your opportunity. Glacier Raft Company and The College of the Rockies run an annual 10 day raft guide school in BC.

It's instructed by our professional guides, and it runs from mid May to early June in Golden, British Columbia. If you complete the course, you have the opportunity to earn Professional and Recreational Raft Guide Certification.


Glacier Raft Company guide giving a safety talk before the rafting trip begins

Senior guide Kris giving the morning safety talk before rafting the Kicking Horse River


The College of the Rockies (COTR) is an internationally recognized Adventure Tourism education provider and Glacier Raft Company has been commercially rafting rivers around British Columbia since 1982.

Glacier was one of the first outfitters to raft the Kicking Horse River and our priority has always been river safety and providing the best possible customer experience.

The relationship with COTR and Glacier Raft Company ensures the highest quality certification instruction in the rafting industry.


Details of the Raft Guide Training School in Golden, BC

The course is divided into 3 components and you can take them all consecutively within one year, or space them out over multiple years.

1. Rescue Canada: Swiftwater Rescue Technician Level III

2. Raft Guide Skills Level 1

3. Raft Guide Skills Level 2


One of our guides rigging his raft to be put on the water

Rigging rafts in the morning before putting on the water


Our raft guide training program will be extensive. It will cover swift water rescue training, oar and paddle guiding, dry land training, customer service and a number of other skills.

Training will take place on a number of rivers in the heart of the Purcell Mountains and Rocky Mountains to learn about the unique attributes of different water systems. These could include the Kicking Horse River, Columbia River, Kootenay River, White River, Toby Creek, Kananaskis River and Blaeberry River.


Raft hitting big rapid on Kicking Horse River

Getting some good splash on the Kicking Horse River

skills and SUBJECT AREAS

This course trains you for a typical day at a commercial rafting operation and it will focus on developing your skills to prepare you for employment in the rafting industry.

Subjects that will be covered include:

  • river hydrology and dynamics
  • rescue scenarios
  • river navigation
  • emergency management training
  • expedition planning
  • riverside support
  • logistics
  • equipment repair
  • food preparation
  • scouting
  • overnight river camping
  • radio communications
  • guest relations


Two guides scouting the White River in British Columbia

Scouting a river feature to determine the best rafting line to take



  • *whitewater guide life vest with rescue belt & pig tail (type V PFD)
  • *safety whistle (fox 40 or similar)
  • *3 mill farmer john wet suit
  • neoprene gloves & socks
  • *sturdy river shoes
  • *splash top
  • *splash pants
  • river thermal underwear (fleece, polypro or merino wool)
  • swim shorts for over wetsuit
  • *river helmet
  • *waist throw bag
  • *flip line (buy or make your own)
  • river sandals with heal strap
  • *sunglasses and strap
  • ball cap/sun hat
  • backpacking sleeping bag (rated to -15C)
  • sleeping pad
  • water bottle
  • gear duffel bag
  • sunscreen
  • headlamp
  • clothes and warm layers for camping
  • camping hygiene kit
  • dry bags of various sizes
  • *2 locking carabiners
  • *1 non-locking carabiner
  • *attachable river knife
  • *secondary knife or scissors
  • *five meters of static climbing cord and tubular webbing
  • multi-tool knife (Leatherman style)
  • rite-in-the-rain log book & pencil



  • dry suit
  • neoprene shorts and shirt
  • neoprene scull cap


Drying raft gear after a fun day of white water rafting in a raft guide school in BC

Drying gear after a full day on the water in our raft guide training school, BC


Upon successful completion of the written and practical exams you will receive:

  • BC River Outfitters Association Guide Certificate
  • Raft Guide Skills Level 1 - 40 hrs
  • Raft Guide Skills Level 2 - 40hrs
  • SRT Level III - 40hrs


To register for the course please contact the College of the Rockies in Golden, BC

College of the Rockies, Golden Campus
golden@cotr.bc.ca | www.cotr.bc.ca/golden
1305 South 9th Street, PO Box 376
Golden, BC, V0A 1H0
Phone: (250) 344-5901 | Fax: (250) 344-5745


Learning to give a safety talk is one element of the raft guide school in BC



Q. Will Glacier Raft Company offer guide employment after training?

A. No. If your skills are of high caliber Glacier may host you through our apprentice guide program. The Kicking Horse River does require a high skill level.

Q. Where can I work after the course?

A. We will prep you for class II/III rivers. Each river has unique characteristics and you will most likely will have to run familiarization trips to qualify for each new river. Your certifications will be recognized internationally but experience and mileage is key when it comes to advancing in river raft guiding.

Q. What certifications are required to be a raft guide?

A. This will vary between companies, but wilderness first aid, swift water rescue and a provincial raft guide certification are standard

Q. Do you accept student financing or grants?

A. Yes, the College of the Rockies accepts all types of funding, however it is your responsibility to ensure that 100% of the funding is submitted and deposited in order to finalize registration and guarantee participation.

Q. What is your pass rate?

A. We will coach you to the best of our ability to help you be successful, but it is up to you to demonstrate the skill sets required to pass the certifications.

Q. Is raft guiding a safe job?

A. Raft guiding is adventure sport employment and with this type of employment there are potential risks. Your training and skills are essential to mitigate the risks to protect you and your clients.

Q. Where is COTR Golden located?

A. COTR is located in downtown Golden, BC, approximately 3 hours west of Calgary.

Q. Is accommodation provided?

A. We will be doing lots of camping away from Golden, but there will be nights spent in town, as well. There is a hostel and public campground, and the College campus has shower facilities and wifi.


If you still have questions about our raft guide school in Golden, BC, or would like to speak to a whitewater raft guide to get their take, you can contact us by emailing trips@glacierraft.com

Know anyone who wants to be a raft guide? Please feel free to share this with them too.

We hope to see you on the river soon!

Cheers from the whole Glacier Crew and the College of the Rockies.