Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a River Guide at the Hudson and Black Rivers in New York
Interested in becoming a river guide?
Thanks for checking out our Hudson and Black River Guide Training Program! We’re always happy to add enthusiastic, guest-friendly people to our seasoned staff of river professionals. Some of our guides have been with us since the 1970’s. Others started working here just a few months ago. It’s a splendid mix of experience and exuberance, and we welcome your interest in joining us. Here are a few questions that most river guide candidates ask. Hopefully this will help get you started toward a long and fun-filled working experience at Whitewater Challengers.
Do I need any prior experience to be a river guide candidate?
Not really. You’ll need to be a reliable swimmer and comfortable around water in general, but whitewater skills are a big part of what we teach in our Guide Training Program. If you bring to this job a natural, outgoing, people-friendly manner, you’re more than half-way home. The rest you can learn from our trainers, and from the experience we’ll give you on the river.
What is the minimum age to start training?
You must be at least 18 years old in order to enroll in our training program.
Am I the kind of person who’d be good at this?
Every year, we increase our guide crew by attracting folks who are excited about the river, and about sharing the river experience with our guests and with our senior guides. We’re all about safety, and having fun. So we hire guides who have a keen appreciation for guest satisfaction, and who also have the physical capabilities needed to “do the job” of guiding whitewater trips.
As a river guide, you’ll be interacting with people (fellow guides and guests) all the time. It’s your job to be certain every guest has a great experience, on and off the river.
When do I work if I become a river guide?
Our busiest season is May through September. Weekends are always busy, and during the summer months, there’s often work available on weekdays as well. You don’t have to be available every weekend, but it’s important to be available on a fairly regular basis, especially on weekends.
When is training available?
You can begin training as early as April. Each time you train, you’ll master an additional set of skills, until you’ve completed the requirements to be hired as a guide. Many guide candidates are able to complete their training in as little as a few weekends.
What do I do when I train?
On Saturday and Sunday, you’ll be on the river with either a trainer or a senior guide. You’ll learn things like: the names of the rapids; how to run a trip through each rapid; how to paddle, steer and control a raft; rescue skills; emergency procedures; company policies and procedures; and ways to help provide exceptional guest service on every trip.
How long will I train before I start working?
Most people need to train on the river for at least a few weekends. Others may take a little longer. In addition to the on-river training, you’ll also need to secure your NY State Guide License. Once you’ve secured your license by passing the written test, and demonstrated your proficiency on the water, you’re ready to begin working as a river guide.
What should I do to start training?
Come run the river with us! As soon as you can! Call us to get started:
At the Hudson River, ask for Marko at 518-251-3746
At the Black River, ask for Tom at 315-639-6100