Adventure, travel and exhilarating days on the river are all parts of being a raft guide, and the adventure tourism industry is always seeking qualified and experienced guides at home and around the world.

Glacier Raft Company is now offering a 10 day Professional and Recreational Raft Guide Certification Course in conjunction with the College of the Rockies.

College of the Rockies (COTR) is an internationally recognized Adventure Tourism education provider with a diploma program in Adventure Tourism Business Operations.

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

Raft Guide Training Course with Glacier Raft Company and the College of the Rockies

Our guide Jair getting our rafting guests organized before a day of rafting

 

Since 1982, Glacier Raft Company has guided on some of British Columbia’s greatest rivers. Glacier is a respected, pioneer outfitter on the Kicking Horse River and our focus has always been safety and providing an exceptional customer experience.

The Raft Guide Skills & Certification Course gives you complete hands-on training to prepare you for an exciting career on the water. You will learn what it is like to be a commercial day or expedition raft guide.

The course will be instructed by our most experienced and knowledgeable guides, and upon completion you can take the exam to become an official British Columbia River Outfitters Association (BCROA) Raft Guide

The course runs annually from mid to late May and will be based out of Golden, B.C.

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 Guide with Glacier Raft Company in Golden BC

Our guide Chad going through a safety talk with our guests before rafting the Kicking Horse River

 

RAFT GUIDE SCHOOL 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
  • river rescue scenarios
  • river navigation
  • emergency management training
  • expedition planning
  • riverside support
  • logistics
  • equipment repair
  • scouting
  • overnight river camping
  • radio communications
  • guest relations

WHITEWATER RAPID CLASS SYSTEM

Rapids are rated on a scale of 1-6 and this course will prepare you to guide on class 2 - 3 rivers.

Class 1: Moving water
Class 2: Splashy waves
Class 3: Easy maneuvering through the rapids, bigger waves
Class 4: Intense rapids, technical maneuvering, big waves
Class 5: Long, powerful rapids with serious consequences (not commercially raftable)
Class 6: No go (think Niagara Falls)

To get a sense of some of the different classes of river, take a look at this drone video. It showcases Glacier Raft Company rafting through the upper and middle canyons of the Kicking Horse River, so you'll see everything from class 1 - 4.

While it's common to see tons of GoPro footage taken from within the rafts, looking down on the river provides an entirely different perspective. It provides a good chance to see different rapids and river features.

CERTIFICATIONS & CREDITS

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

PREREQUISITES

To be able to register for the course you must be:

  • 19 years or older
  • physically fit, able to pass a fitness test
  • fluent in English
  • a competent swimmer
  • able to understand and sign release of liability waivers
White Water Rafting on the Kicking Horse River in Golden, B.C.

Senior river guide, Liz, taking guests down the Kicking Horse River

 

REGISTRATION

Please contact the College of the Rockies Golden Campus for registration and payment information. You can email them at golden@cotr.bc.ca

The course is divided into 3 sections and they will be able to help you register for certain components or the entire course.

1. Rescue Canada: Swiftwater Rescue Technician Level III

2. Raft Guide Skills Level 1

3. Raft Guide Skills Level 2

If you have questions about any components of the course, or would like to speak to a long time raft guide please get in touch.

In the meantime, we asked our staff what they love about being a river guides, and here's what they said:

4 reasons we love the river

1. RAFTING KEEPS YOU PRESENT
The adrenaline rush and constant movement of the water forces your body to take over from the mind. This keeps you present, as no other thoughts can run through your head while you’re rafting down a river.

“You have nothing else to worry about besides what’s happening in the boat,” explains Darren Trapp, a Senior Trip Leader at Glacier. “You are not thinking about what text messages are on your phone or what’s happening on Facebook, or the bills you have to pay or appointments you have to be at because you can’t, you just don’t have a choice. All you really can do is take in what’s happening around you, and that is really freeing.”

2. BEING A PART OF NATURE
One of the most beautiful qualities of rafting the river is the chance to be a part of nature itself. Being outside, floating down a powerful stretch of water, being surrounded by wilderness and the opportunity to see wildlife in their most natural setting.

This is one part of the river life that senior raft guide Kris King enjoys.

“Being around nature; seeing bears come up to the Kicking Horse River, and seeing animals like deer and sheep just going about their day. You get to be a part of it which is pretty special,” explains King.

3. BRINGS ABOUT A FRESH PERSPECTIVE

Getting a chance to go down the river and view the natural landscapes from a totally different vantage point is really refreshing.

We see the mountains and forests everyday whether we’re walking, driving, biking or hiking, but being on a river creates and entirely new perspective on these familiar landscapes, and it also takes you to places you couldn’t access any other way.

“It reminds me that no matter what we see, do or think, there's always another way of looking at something,” say Glacier raft guide Mike McCreary.

4. RIVERS ARE RELATABLE

“Getting to know a river is like getting to know a new friend,” says raft guide Ike Michele. “Each river has its own personality that you get to discover.”

River features are always changing, and when you take a step back from them and return a while later (or in another season) you’ll see what’s the same, but also what has changed.

“They are a good reflection of what life is like.”

Water in the Kicking Horse River in Golden BC

And there you have it. Our guides love working in the river rafting industry for many different reasons, and you'll un-doubtedly have lots of reasons of your own.

Please feel free to forward this to any aspiring raft guides. We would love to spend time with the next generation of professional river rats!

You can also contact us by emailing trips@glacierraft.com, or calling 1 877 344 7238

Cheers from all of us here at Glacier Raft Company