So you’d like to know how to be a river rafting guide? To join the elite club of die hard snake riding, white water blasting river nuts?
Be our guest.
But there’s a few things you’ll have to know – and even more you’ll have to do.
It’s not just you and the river. It’s you and raft full of men, women and children. You’re in charge, and it’s not like going on horseback, in which case you can get off. This is a rolling river that just flows, rapids and all.
So to make sure that you’re truly ready, you need to know how to rescue people from the river in the event they fall out of the raft.
Go after the Wilderness First Responder certification, CPR and Swiftwater Rescue offered by WTA. If you get experience in these you’ll be ahead of the game and not just another face with a paddle.
Controlling the raft is up to you. Increase your upper body strength. Go to the gym, use a rowing machine and and focus on your shoulders, biceps, triceps, chest and latissimus dorsi.
Take up running to build your total body endurance for those 6 hour river trips.
If you live near the river you’d like to work, get into it. Map it, navigate it and learn everything about it. Talk to the people who enjoy it to truly understand its many facets.
This is more than an ecosystem – it’s a natural and cultural world unto itself.
You’re not in Manhattan – but it still doesn’t hurt to network.
There are probably other people near you who are already doing your dream job. Reach out to them and find how they got started. Ask them how you can do the same thing.
You’re going to be more than chauffeur. Think of yourself as a beacon of light. An old hand with an easy smile and a laugh that can excite and restore calm all at once.
Nobody wants to get on a raft with a sourpuss of a guide. So make sure you’ve got the temperament to match the happy time everyone expects to have. And make sure you can navigate even under pressure while keeping your positive cool.
In the midst of your happiness, you need to know what you’re doing. All of this preparation should make you competent to bring families on a river, and inside you must remember the serious role you play in ensuring the safety and happiness of everyone aboard.