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Team Boating and Whitewater Safety Course For Experienced Boaters

Class IV Rowing School

Whitewater Rowing with Rafts or Catarafts

Class IV Rowing School

  • Length: 4 days
  • Location: Hood River, Oregon
  • Prerequisite: Class III Rafting Experience
  • Course Price: $1295
  • Additional Cost: $150 for boat rental
  • Lodging: We suggest staying at The Society Hotel in Bingen, WA

Our courses are operated in conjunction with River Drifters, a US Forest Service permit holder on the White Salmon River.

This course was not easy!

This course was not easy! I feel like I went beyond my comfort zone daily. In the end I gained confidence in my boating skills, my river reading abilities, and my group boating and safety knowledge. I feel ready for my next river adventure!
- Jessie Atchison

Our Class IV Rowing School is designed as a follow-up course for our Class III Whitewater Rowing School. You should have training and experience rowing at a Class III level before taking this course.

We’ll run a variety of rivers in the Columbia Gorge near Hood River, Oregon. This is an opportunity to boat some wonderful rivers, improve your boating skills, and meet some new friends. Each evening we’ll review our day and have optional classroom sessions.

Rowing Training on Oregon's Hood River
Rowing Training on Oregon’s Hood River

This course will include training to help boaters make the transition from Class III to Class IV boating. The course goals are:

  • Understand “team boating” and apply it on the river
  • Understand when to push and when to pull
  • Develop better oar management through practice and feedback
  • Familiarization with rescue techniques
Raft flipping practice in our Class IV Rowing School
Raft flipping practice in our Class IV Rowing School

You will need solid Class III experience to attend this course. We’ll be training on continuous whitewater rivers with cold water. This course is the perfect opportunity to practice whitewater skills under the watchful eye of our instructors.

Typical Itinerary

Every Class IV Rowing School is uniquely designed based on river conditions and the group’s ability level. The following is a sample itinerary.

Day 1 Introductions, team boating principles, and half day on the river
Day 2 Knots, oar managment, Scouting, and half day on the river
Day 3 Full day on the river, flip practice, and throw bag practice
Day 4 Big picture scene safety, half day on the river, and final topics

You are welcome to bring your own raft or cataraft or rent one of ours.

Is This Course for You?

The purpose of this course is to offer experienced whitewater boaters training that applies to Class IV rivers. Please note:

  • This is not an introductory level course
  • This course is intended for people who have taken our Class III Rowing School and have additional experience beyond our Class III Rowing School
  • You need to have solid Class III experience and training to be successful in this course
  • The weather can be cold and sometimes miserable during these courses
  • We will be discussing boating in a classroom environment and applying our lessons on the water
  • If your goal is classroom and on-river training that will help you move from Class III boating to Class IV boating, this course is for you
  • If your goal is to simply be guided down rivers, this course is probably not for you

Our training courses are supported by River Drifters, a licensed and legal permit holder of the US Forest Service.

Trip Highlights

  • Rowing Class III and Class IV rapids
  • Drone video review
  • Emphasis on team boating and safety
  • Introduction to swiftwater rescue
  • Hands on safety drills

Quick Facts

  • Just 60 miles east of Portland, Hood River is close to a number of great whitewater rivers
  • Classroom sessions accompanied by on river practice

Trip Reviews

ClassIV Overall rating: ★★★★★ 5 based on 14 reviews.
5 1

This course was not easy!

This course was not easy! I feel like I went beyond my comfort zone daily. In the end I gained confidence in my boating skills, my river reading abilities, and my group boating and safety knowledge. I feel ready for my next river adventure!
- Jessie Atchison

Awesome Safety and Team Boating Course

This course brought my team boating to a new level! Being surrounded by classmates that also had solid class III fundamentals and techniques made the course a perfect container to focus on the bigger picture of private boating: group skill level assessment, put-in and take-out logistics, on river teamwork, and rescue scene awareness. Additionally being surrounded by the Northwest Rafting Company Instructors and their shared decades of experience brought a depth of knowledge and expertise that I feel is all too lacking in the recreational community. Being able to actually practice boat repair, rigging, swimming, flipping and other key skills under their tutelage was invaluable to me and helped to build my competence for situations that I have only seen intermittently. I highly recomend this course to boaters who are comfertable with oars in thier hands and want to safely pursue wild rivers with new or old friends alike.
- Gary Schomberger


I thought the class was outstanding. I found it fun but challenging which is exactly what I wanted. I didn't need a vacation, campfires or songs on the river, etc. Nothing wrong with that but I liked that each day we were presented with a challenging set of tasks on and off the river. I also enjoyed that there wasn't a lot of hand holding but rather relying on the team with your staff providing the safety and guidance. I think the challenge for boaters like me (new boater but comfortable around water and harder outdoor activities) is after taking the course how to find others to row safely with. I live 5 minutes from the Roaring Fork in Aspen which during runoff is a solid Class IV with lots of rocks and more narrow than the Hood. After taking your course I'm now so focused on safety and the potential problems that occur that I need to figure out how to row daily knowing I won't have the support of pro guides that you provided. I need to meet more rafters but ultimately I think the challenge for practicing for many boaters is how to do it frequently without compromising safety. Just my two cents and again, thought your course was outstanding.
- Bob N.

A Great Class

Zach and his team are elevating the boating community to a new level with this course. The quality of instruction, team boating experience and emphasis on safety make this class the ultimate opportunity to grow as a boater in a beautiful setting. The crew at Northwest Rafting Company are setting an incredible example for the industry to work toward.
- Chris Dunbar

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