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Thread: Any Independent kayaking guides out there

  1. #1

    Default Any Independent kayaking guides out there

    Ok I love kayaking I love Alaska so far, and I can't think of a much better job than being a sea kayak guide, yes I know it would only be seasonal, what could I make working for my self vs working for someone else, I would also like to take people out and offer photography of them. (once I save enough money for equipment.) I know you won't get rich but I heard I can make a pretty decent living and Id be able to do something I love. Also what certs do you need to have to take people kayaking. I have talked to numerious people that say you don't need any some say only first aid some say 6 pack. Are there different certications you need for fresh water because of the rapids as opposed to sea water..... any information would be greatly appreciated.

    PS I assume if Im taking people out I would need some type of liability insurance or is there a waiver they sign?

  2. #2
    New member
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    Sep 2010
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    All over the US but i base out of AK
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    The most important thing to get is your wilderness first responder, it is the industry standard for any sort of outdoor guiding. It is a good class that is offered by a lot of different organizations (mine is Wilderness medical associates and i think they are the best) and is required for any legit company i have ever worked for or around. I work in seward and the market there is pretty saturated as it is in most port towns on the road in Alaska, your best bet is to get in with a larger company to get some experience. there are some companies that "contract" their guides but this is really just for tax reasons for the most part you are going to want to work for a company that can get you bookings. Do be careful if you are just getting in to it there are some shady practices out there, make sure you are getting paid a fair wage (60-100 bucks per day on the water for baby guides) some companies will try and make you sign a contract saying you won't work for other companies for a certain amount of years and i have seen some real management junk shows too see if you can talk to other employees and that sort of thing. If you really want to try going it alone i don't have a lot of help for you the only thing i can say is get some kind of paddling cert, something like American Canoe Association that way you have the training you need to keep you clients safe and have some credibility, just take a look in the ACA website at their classes. The big money is in overnight trips and boat supported trips, there are some guys out there doing mother ship trips which are incredible and i know of one company that does some sail/kayak trips. i really recommend though getting in to the industry with some of the bigger companies just to get familiar with the business, this is hiring season. Then make your plan to go out on your own, thats how most of the more successful smaller companies were formed, just by finding a niche they thought people would like and applying their experience to it.

  3. #3
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    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Girdwood
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    156

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    Quote Originally Posted by wild4alaska View Post
    Ok I love kayaking I love Alaska so far, and I can't think of a much better job than being a sea kayak guide, yes I know it would only be seasonal, what could I make working for my self vs working for someone else, I would also like to take people out and offer photography of them. (once I save enough money for equipment.) I know you won't get rich but I heard I can make a pretty decent living and Id be able to do something I love. Also what certs do you need to have to take people kayaking. I have talked to numerious people that say you don't need any some say only first aid some say 6 pack. Are there different certications you need for fresh water because of the rapids as opposed to sea water..... any information would be greatly appreciated.

    PS I assume if Im taking people out I would need some type of liability insurance or is there a waiver they sign?
    Commercial buisness on public lands typically require an authorization from the landowner. Guiding for personal gain is commercial.

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