Take our two-day Sierra Rescue River Rescue certification course to learn everyday safety skills as well as how to handle rescue situations effectively.
Spring Raft Guide Training
Please submit the form below if interested!
- Includes ACA Swiftwater Rescue class & CPR certification
- $ 450
Raft Guide Training
Raft Guide Training is often the first step for people who end up enjoying a lifelong passion for whitewater. Trainees who attend all required dates will be invited to continue their training, and begin the process towards potential employment.
- Prior river experience is great but not required.
- Scholarships available
- Submit your application today and start rafting as soon as this weekend
- Practice trips through the winter every Sunday and additional High Water Dates
Trainees seeking employment post-training are required to attend all of the dates. To complete the training, it is mandatory that you attend at least 6 of the days, as well as the Swift Water Training weekend.
Upon completion of training, employment is not guaranteed. It depends on your performance as well as interaction with your fellow guides. All employees must carry current CPR and First Aid certifications.
The schedule for the fall training is as follows:
- Saturday 3/9 and Sunday 3/10
- Saturday 3/16 and Sunday 3/17
- Saturday 3/23 and Sunday 3/24
- 3/26 and Wednesday 3/27 *Optional days/make-up for shift workers
- Saturday 4/13 and Sunday 4/14 (ACA Swift Water Rescue class)
Why RVA Paddlesports?
Our trainers come with decades of experience on many rivers across the US and abroad. When training with RVA Paddlesports you are not just learning the lines on the James, but skills that are transferable to a lifelong passion of river running. We pride ourselves in preparing our guides to the highest industry standards and professionalism. We have a fun work environment that promotes both constructive feedback and positivity to foster personal growth and a team mentality. Trainees also receive discounts on gear from various paddlesports brands including Immersion Research, NRS, & Astral.
Guide Training is $450 and includes all instruction, shuttles, equipment use during training dates, Swift water Rescue & CPR. Wilderness First Aid certifications are available to trainees at discounted rate. Payment plans are available and scholarship/discounted training costs are given on a case by case basis (see below). Trainees who checkout and work for RVAPS commercially will get $50 back on their training costs.
Additional information on specific qualifications and expectations can be found on our employment page. Training is open to applicants ages 16 and up. Completion of Raft Guide Training comes with CPR certification and an American Canoe Association (ACA) Swift Water Rescue class and can be further developed with the accompanying Sierra Rescue River Rescue Certification . This certification allows for many more opportunities in the whitewater field.
To apply, please fill out the form below OR send a cover letter to [email protected]. If you are an experienced guide, please include your river experience log.
See You On The River!
- 16 years of age or older
- Ability to lift objects 60 lbs or more
- Ability to attend and complete all training days ($450 cost of training)
- River experience is not a necessity, we will teach you everything to become a great guide
- Be professional, fun, and approachable
- Meet and greet guests
- Load and prepare rafts
- Execute crash courses in rafting (paddle talk)
- Lead a safe and fun rafting trip
- De-rig and clean up post trips
- Maintain the cleanliness and organization of facilities and vehicles
- Assist with both directed and undirected tasks without direct supervision from the RVAPS management
- Others duties as assigned
- River Hazards
- Aggressive & Defensive Swimming
- Basic Knots
- Throw Bag Rescues
- Strokes & Commands
- Rapid Navigation
- Raft Rigging
- Raft & Gear Care
- Change of clothes
- River footwear
- Light jacket/long-sleeve shirt
- Drysuit/wetsuit (colder water temps)
- Fleece jacket (colder water temps)
- Splashtop/windbreaker (colder water temps)
- Helmet and PFD (if you have your own)
- Water bottle
- Bag lunch
- Safety equipment
- SWR Certification
- Additional Winter and Weekday Practice Outtings
RVA Paddlesports will be offering scholarships for the Spring 2024 Raft Guide class. These scholarships are for teenagers and young adults aged 16-21 and cover a subsidized cost for training. Upon completion of training, those selected for the scholarship will also have the opportunity to be matched into our 2024 summer internship program to gain valuable experience working as a raft guide and learn the daily duties and responsibilities required to manage an adventure sports company. This program is a great opportunity for those who wish to challenge themselves and grow both personally and professionally.
The scholarship program is designed to help young people overcome potential financial barriers that may prevent them from getting on the water. With this scholarship we hope to grow the paddling community by fostering a love for the outdoors and passion for whitewater for generations to come.
To apply for the RVA Paddlesports Fall Guide Training Scholarship, please send a letter answering the following questions to [email protected].*
- Why are you a good fit for raft guide training?
- How would the scholarship benefit you?
- What is your biggest strength?
- What is one of your areas for growth?
- How will you contribute to the RVA Paddlesports team?
*Please note: Scholarship applicants are still expected to fill out the Raft Guide Training Application.