Training for Experienced River Guides
Guide Training & Education Workshops
Guide Training & Education
Guide, Trip Leader, and Instructor Workshops
- Location: Hood River, Oregon, USA
- Length: 5 days (2 additional days for instructor workshop)
- Dates: May 13-17, 2023
- Base Cost: $850 (for 5 day guide and trip leader workshop)
- Prerequisites: Experience as a commercial guide and logbook
- Additional Cost: $250 for optional IRF Instructor Workshop on May 18-19
- Additional Cost: IRF Award Fees
Join us for an International Rafting Federation (IRF) workshop for river guides, trip leaders, and instructors facilitated by Mark Hirst of Lapin Koskikoulu. This course is intended for experienced river guides and whitewater professionals looking to increase their education. IRF certifications can be used for guiding, trip leading, and instructing whitewater around the world.
Raft Guide and Safety Craft Workshop
The first three days of the workshop assesses the fundamentals of commercial river guiding and/or safety boating. Assessments are completed on the level of whitewater corresponding to the level of the guide. While on the course, experienced river guides are assessed on a variety of tasks including:
- Personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Safety and paddle talk
- Whitewater boating skills and crew management
- Flip and throw-bag tests
- Whitewater swimming
- Building a 3:1 rope system with appropriate anchors
In order to receive an IRF Guide Certification you must first submit a logbook, first aid, and CPR certification. During the workshop you will need to pass a guide assessment which includes a written exam.
Safety craft candidates will also be tested on the appropriate level of whitewater in their craft of choice (kayak or cataraft). They must demonstrate a safety craft talk, swimmer rescue, and strong boating ability.
If you have questions about IRF training, please give us a call or check out our IRF Guide Training and Education FAQ.
Trip Leader Workshop
The fourth and fifth day are spent evaluating trip leader candidates with on-river scenarios. These scenarios are designed to test their decision-making, communication skills, delegation ability, and performance during a rescue. They are desinged to be as realistic as possible, again corresponding to the level of the guide being assessed.
“The IRF Trip Leader class not only gave me an important certification for future guiding, it also allowed me to learn from other great guides, scenario-based situations, and improve my own skills in the process”– Ellie “Ldub” Friedmann
An IRF Trip Leader candidate also needs to have valid advanced first aid certificate that includes CPR. Upon successfully passing the qualification, the IRF issues an IRF Trip Leader Certification.
Raft and Safety Craft Instructor Workshop
This additional workshop is offered two days after the course and costs an additional $250. It is offered for whitewater professionals interested in being an International Rafting Federation raft or safety craft instructor. Upon successfully passing the workshop, the IRF issues a provisional license. A candidate must run at least one more course supervised by an IRF assessor before being a fully certified instructor.
The IRF instructor candidate must be present for the entire seven days of the course. They must demonstrate that they can design, teach, and correctly evaluate others on their whitewater skills. Candidates must also have a valid advanced first aid certificate (such as a WFR or EMT), including CPR.
About Mark Hirst
Mark is an international rafting and safety instructor who teaches courses for Rescue 3 Europe and the International Rafting Federation. He is originally from Manchester, England and is now based in Finland. He currently teaches river guide and safety courses in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Russia, Nepal, India, and Morocco. Learn more about Mark’s philosophy on this Lapin Koskikoulu Blog.