Whitewater Guide Schools
Learn To Guide With The Experts

Whitewater Voyages’ intensive, world-renowned, guide schools are led by our most talented andknowledgeable instructors. They emphasize hands-on white water skill building and practicing in a supportive environment. Accepted by Tahoe National Forest and the government of British Columbia as approved whitewater rescue courses, these guide schools are widely recognized as excellent preparation for both commercial guiding and rafting on one's own.

  • The Guide School - Outcomes & Overview
  • Guide School Courses
  • School Preparation

The Guide School - Course Outcomes and Overview

Flip Drills during Guide SchoolWhitewater Voyages Guide School students receive complimentary copies of following publications:

These publications provide a true mother lode of invaluable information about guiding smooth, safe, professional, and entertaining river trips. When conditions permit, we take along "suicide" boats, in which students can raft on their own, free for a time of the gentle but distinct pressure of having an instructor in the same boat. When balanced with periods of careful instruction, these solo sessions can be quite valuable in helping the novice put concepts into practice.

Our Six Day Guide School program trains you in the fundamental skills of:

  • Reading whitewater and maneuvering boats
  • Knot tying
  • Raft rigging
  • River signals
  • Safety put-in talks
  • Class V safety techniques
  • Equipment maintenance and repair
  • Wilderness cookery & menu planning
  • River conservation

In addition, a full range of state-of-the-art whitewater emergency and rescue procedures are covered, including:

  • Unwrapping rafts
  • Flipped-raft drills
  • Use of flip lines and toss bags
  • Swimming holes and rapids and in and out of eddies
  • Foot-entrapment rescue
  • Swiftwater crossings
  • Line-crossing options
  • Tyrolean rescue systems
  • Telfer-lower rescues
  • Z-pulley and piggyback tensioning systems
  • Helicopter rescue
  • Hypothermia prevention & treatment
  • Use of a complete first aid kit with emphasis on river-related injuries and problems
  • Guiding and supporting people in stressful situations.

Back to Top

Whitewater Guide School - Courses Offered This Year

Whitewater Guide School - Learning the fundamentals of river rescue techniques

Two Six Day Intensive Class IV Schools

  • April 22nd - 27th (Continuous)
  • April 22nd, 23rd, 29th, 30th, and May 6th and 7th (Three Consecutive Weekends)

Kern River Six Day Guide School: $600.00 plus a 4% land/government fee

*Note: Students are cordially invited to work off part or all of this cost prior to their school. Contact us for details. All trip prices are subject to an additional 4-7% land and government river use fee depending on the river.


Back to Top

Guide School Preparation

If time permits, we recommend that prior to our schools, students spend a day playing around in a rental oar boat on a lake. (Even if you are doing the paddle-captaining only school you may enjoy doing this exercise.)

When you're in the boat, sit facing the bow and grab hold of the oars. Place your thumbs where they won't get smashed between the oar handles. Breathe deeply. Move the oars around. Maybe dip one to the throat (the point where the blade meets the shaft). Try taking some long, strong, smooth strokes. Practice pushing on the oars (moving the boat forward) and pulling (moving the boat back).

Later do some double oar turns (simultaneously pushing on one oar while pulling on the other) turning the boat first one way for awhile, then the other. Through all this try to keep the flat of the oar blades vertical while they're in the water. Continue to breathe, relax, and notice how you're feeling.

Just spending this sort of relaxed time beforehand playing around with oars in your hands greatly facilitates learning to row whitewater.

The Guide's Guide AugmentedDue to vicissitudes of flow and other variables, the rivers on which we teach are subject to change. We recommend that prior to these schools, participants take courses in first aid and CPR and also that they read everything they can find pertaining to river running.

Wetsuits are essential for our May Schools.

All schools begin with an after-dinner orientation meeting starting at 6:00pm. Although light snacks are provided during the meeting, the school meals begin with breakfast the following morning. So please plan to eat dinner on your own before our meeting!

All school meals from breakfast on day 1 to lunch on the last day are included.

" I recently went to Whitewater Voyages' Guide School on the American River. What a life-changing experience! Bill McGinnis is a brilliant teacher and a kind soul. I wish everyone I know could get a chance to talk with him. His staff of instructors are knowledgable and supportive. They work their tails off to help everyone learn as much as they can. One great week in my life! "
- Mo
Sacramento, California

Back to Top

Other River Trips You Might Like:

Lower Kern River Big Water
Class IV - 1 Day

Lower Kern River Southern Sierra Escape
Class III-IV - 2 Days

Upper Kern River Snap, Crackle and Pop
Class III-IV - 1/2 to 1 Day

Upper Kern Thunder Run
Class V - 1 Day

Forks of the Kern Wilderness Juggernaut
Class V - 2 or 3 Days

Kings River Mega Joy Ride
Class III+ - 2 Days

Merced River Foam Dancer
Class IV - 2 Day

Find us on Yelp

Whitewater Voyages
11252 Kernville Road, Kernville, CA 93238
Call Toll Free: 800-400-7238
The Leader in California White Water Rafting Trips Since 1975

Copyright © 1996 - 2011 Whitewater Voyages All Rights Reserved