Oar Raft and Paddle Raft Guide School

River Rafting Guide School

If you have the desire to seek employment as a raft guide or if you have fallen in love with rafting and want to take that passion to the next level, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you want to become a river guide or would like to confidently be able to guide your own private trips down the river with confidence, we have the courses for you. Our courses give you, the student, the opportunity to spend time on the river rowing and paddle rafting in a variety of boats (center frame gear boats, paddle rafts, paddle assisted stern frames) while developing a foundation of rafting and river navigation skills. These skills will enable you to lead and organize your own successful multi-day river trips.

Learning to be a river guide takes practice and experience on the river. It’s not possible to become a “raft guide” in a week. At the Great Northern Resort, we believe it takes time spent both on and off the water for the students to learn and feel get comfortable with the basics of river running. After that, it is all about river time on the guide stick (or oars) to get the confidence you need. Every day on the water is a new learning experience. The Great Northern is based at the west entrance to Glacier National Park in Montana and after completing our training you will leave with a solid foundation of river rafting that will give you the confidence you need to be a guide anywhere and everywhere.

Your success starts here!

OAR RAFTING COURSE

The Whitewater Rafting - Rowing course is for individuals interested in learning the skills required to efficiently row a raft on rivers with class II-III rapids. This course includes advanced river reading, safety considerations, and rowing techniques.

This is an excellent course for a beginner boater who wants to learn the basics of running whitewater. We cover fundamental river safety and boating skills, including maneuvering oar-rigged boats. After two days you will gain experience reading and running class II-III whitewater.

Course Length: 2 Days

Course Price: $285/person for the group class. *Private instruction is available. Call for details.

Course Dates:

  • April 13-14 2019 .
  • June 8-9 2019 .

Skills covered in the Introduction to River Skills:

  • Hydrology and Reading Water
  • Safety Talks
  • Throwbag Training
  • Raft Flip Drills
  • Equipment
  • Rowing Techniques for an Oar-Rigged Boat
  • On Water Practice on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River
  • Discussion of River Rescue Techniques

What to Bring: 

Required Equipment:

  • Personal Flotation Device
  • Drysuit or Wetsuit
  • Helmet
  • Sturdy Footwear
  • Neoprene Gloves

Suggested Equipment:

  • Locking Carabiner
  • Throwbag (so you can practice with what you will use)
  • River Knife
  • Whistle

Great Northern has rental equipment available. Call to reserve.




PADDLE RAFTING COURSE

The Whitewater Rafting - Paddle course is for individuals interested in learning the skills required to efficiently paddle a raft on rivers with class II-III rapids. This course includes advanced river reading, safety considerations, and paddling techniques. In addition, the skills required to captain, or guide, a paddle raft in class II-III rapids will be introduced.

This is an excellent course for a beginner boater who wants to learn the basics of running whitewater. We cover fundamental river safety and boating skills, including maneuvering rafts. After two days you will gain experience reading and running class II-III whitewater.

Course Length: 2 Days

Course Price: $285/person for the group class. *Private instruction is available. Call for details.

Course Dates:

  • April 6-7 2019
  • June 1-2 2019

Skills covered in the Introduction to River Skills:

  • Hydrology and Reading Water
  • Safety Talks
  • Throwbag Training
  • Raft Flip Drills
  • Equipment
  • Commanding a Paddle Crew
  • On Water Practice on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River
  • Discussion of River Rescue Techniques

What to Bring: 

Required Equipment:

  • Personal Flotation Device
  • Drysuit or Wetsuit
  • Helmet
  • Sturdy Footwear
  • Neoprene Gloves

Suggested Equipment:

  • Locking Carabiner
  • Throwbag (so you can practice with what you will use)
  • River Knife
  • Whistle

Great Northern has rental equipment available. Call to reserve.




4 WEEKEND FULL COURSE

This course consists of 4 weekends (both Saturday and Sunday) over course of the month, in either April or June. The first weekend is spent developing paddle boat skills; the second weekend developing oar boat skills. The third weekend prepares students for an overnight trip, maneuvering through planning, packing and performing the tasks during the trip and time at camp. The last weekend gives students an opportunity to learn rescue techniques and perform scenarios in a Swiftwater Rescue Skills course

This comprehensive course is designed for the boater who would like to guide professionally or gain extensive knowledge about rivers and river safety. Learn how to command a paddle crew, maneuver an oar rig and prepare for the unexpected. In addition, you'll complete an Swiftwater Rescue for River Rescue.  After six days you will be a confident boater, ready for commercial or private guiding. This course is comprised of a combination of the three courses below.

Course Length: 4 Weekends

Course Price: $1295/person for the group class. *Private instruction is available. Call for details.

Course Dates:

April 2019: 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, 27-28

June 2019: 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23

Weekend 1:

Paddle Raft Course

Weekend 2:

Rowing Course

Weekend 3:

Overnight trip: maneuvering through planning, packing and performing the tasks during the trip and time at camp.

Weekend 4:

Swiftwater and River Rescue Class

Advanced River Skills: Learn how to assess equipment needs for extended trips, rig a boat, plan meals, set up a campsite, and prepare meals on the river. Preparing for an overnight trip; Packing List, Rigging Boats, Choosing a Route & Campsite Selection, Camp, Preparing Meals on the River, Break Down Camp, and Heading Home.

Equipment Needed

Drysuit or Wetsuit
USCG approved Type III or V PFD (life jacket)
Whitewater Helmet
Water booties or Tennis shoes

Suggested Equipment:

  • Locking Carabiner
  • Throwbag (so you can practice with what you will use)
  • River Knife
  • Whistle

Great Northern has rental equipment available. Call to reserve.




THE RAFTING SCHOOL

The Rafting School is a comprehensive six day course that begins with basic boat handling skills and reading water, moves on to technical river rescue, and ends with an overnight trip to put all of your new skills to use.

 

This comprehensive course is designed for the boater who would like to guide professionally or gain extensive knowledge about rivers and river safety. Learn how to command a paddle crew, maneuver an oar rig and prepare for the unexpected. In addition, you'll complete an Swiftwater Rescue for River Rescue.  After six days you will be a confident boater, ready for commercial or private guiding. This course is comprised of a combination of the three courses below.

Course Length: 2 Days

Course Price: $995/person for the group class. *Private instruction is available. Call for details.

Course Dates:

  • June 18-23 2019

Course Outline:

Days 1 & 2:

Introduction to River Skills

Days 3 & 4:

Swiftwater and River Rescue Class

Days 5 & 6:

Advanced River Skills: Learn how to assess equipment needs for extended trips, rig a boat, plan meals, set up a campsite, and prepare meals on the river. Preparing for an overnight trip; Packing List, Rigging Boats, Choosing a Route & Campsite Selection
Camp
Heading Home; " Preparing meals on the River, " Break down camp

Equipment Needed

Drysuit or Wetsuit
USCG approved Type III or V PFD (life jacket)
Whitewater Helmet
Water booties or Tennis shoes

Suggested Equipment:

  • Locking Carabiner
  • Throwbag (so you can practice with what you will use)
  • River Knife
  • Whistle

Great Northern has rental equipment available. Call to reserve.




INTRO TO RIVER SKILLS

The Introduction to River Skills course gives students an opportunity to build the fundamentals of boat handling. Starting with dynamics of moving water, students learn how to read the river, pick their line, and maneuver their boat. We use both oar frames and paddle rafts.

This is an excellent course for a beginner boater who wants to learn the basics of running whitewater. We cover fundamental river safety and boating skills, including maneuvering both paddle rafts and oar-rigged boats. After two days you will gain experience reading and running class II-III whitewater.

Course Length: 2 Days

Course Price: $285/person for the group class. *Private instruction is available. Call for details.

Course Dates:

  • June 18-19, 2019
  • July 23-24, 2019

Skills covered in the Introduction to River Skills:

  • Hydrology and Reading Water
  • Safety Talks
  • Throwbag Training
  • Raft Flip Drills
  • Equipment
  • Rowing Techniques for an Oar-Rigged Boat
  • Commanding a Paddle Crew for Paddle Rafts
  • On Water Practice on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River
  • Discussion of River Rescue Techniques

What to Bring: 

Required Equipment:

  • Personal Flotation Device
  • Drysuit or Wetsuit
  • Helmet
  • Sturdy Footwear
  • Neoprene Gloves

Suggested Equipment:

  • Locking Carabiner
  • Throwbag (so you can practice with what you will use)
  • River Knife
  • Whistle

Great Northern has rental equipment available. Call to reserve.




RAFT & GUIDE SCHOOL GALLERY

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