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Everything You Need To Know To Become A Guide

Tourists rafting through whitewaters in Canmore

Being a raft guide is one of the coolest jobs in the Canadian Rockies. You get to be on the water all day, have fun, and get splashed! 

Becoming a guide requires a few things, including training, and certifications. We made a quick list of everything you need to know to become a raft guide.

At Canadian Rockies Rafting, we put a lot of focus on training our guides to make sure they are experts and can provide a safe and exciting tour to our guests.

1| Wilderness First Aid Certification

The safety of our clients and guides is our priority. To ensure safety, all of our guides are required to have a minimum of 20 hours of wilderness first aid certification. However, at Canadian Rockies Rafting, most of our guides have up to 80 hours of training and 2 of our guides are Emergency Medical Responders.

The aim of this training is to be prepared for emergency response in our working environment. This training allows our guides to be confident and react fast if needed.

Don’t worry, our guides are trained to be cautious and to identify risks, so it is very unlikely you will need our guides to use any of those skills!

2| Swiftwater Rescue Certification

Rafting is an exciting sport and it is important to know how the river works and how to recognise hazards. Our guides have to get a Swiftwater Rescue Certificate to be able to work with us. This certification teaches them how to operate safely on the water and trains them in various rescue scenarios.

Incidents do occur on the river, but because our guides are very reactive and highly trained, these situations are always handled safely and quickly. We even get reviews saying that this was great and exciting!

“We had a full raft flip, and Sam was on top of the raft, and had it flipped back over and had us back in the boat in about a minute, and it was such a fun experience!!”

3| Good Customer Service

To be a guide with us, training is really important, but so is customer service. Our guides interact daily with our guests and we want to ensure that our clients have a great and memorable experience. We take great pride in offering unforgettable experiences and having customers come back rafting with us every year.

When hiring new guides, we always make sure that they will fit with our values and that they will represent the company well.

4| Being a Guide Is Physical

It is not a surprise, being a guide requires a lot of physical effort, and not only on the water.

Our guides start the day much earlier than the tour starts. They get to the river base, get the rafts ready before the tours, get them to the river, and get them back to the river base after the tours. Rafts are much heavier than you’d think!

Once on the water, our guides steer the raft for sometimes up to 10 people! They are also trained to reflip rafts while in the water, in case the raft was to flip during a tour. We can tell you, being a raft guide is a great workout!

5| Hands-on Training with Senior Guides

Our guides spend a lot of time training before taking guests out on the river on their own. Every guide that starts with us spends many hours shadowing a senior guide and learning everything about the river. We make sure to put guests in safe and experienced hands. We like to give everyone a chance, but we also make sure to have trustworthy guides that take the guests’ safety seriously while offering a fun and exciting experience on the water.

We also teach our guides everything about the valley and the mountains surrounding us. We want them to provide an authentic and interesting experience to clients.

6| Trip Leader Requirements

All our tours are supervised by a Trip Leader. To become a Trip Leader, guides require even more training and experience due to the responsibilities that come with the position. The first main difference is that Trip Leaders are required to have a minimum of 80 hours of Wilderness First Aid training instead of 20 mandatory hours. They are also required to have a minimum of 2 to 3 years of whitewater river experience.

The Trip Leader is responsible for the organisation of the boats, the briefings and safety talks before the tours, and is the point of contact with the guests.


7| What to Expect When You Start with Us

Every year, Canadian Rockies Rafting welcomes new guides that have a different level of experience. To ensure that all guides are ready for the season, we organise a week-long training before the tours start.

During this training, guides run through many different rescue scenarios, learning operations inside and out, and getting familiar with the river and its potential risks.

You now know everything you need to know to be part of the Canadian Rockies Rafting team! We are looking for guides every year, so why not you?

If you want more information or are interested in becoming a guide with us for the 2022 summer season, email us in early 2022 at [email protected] or keep an eye out on Indeed!