Skills Courses

Raft Guide Training*

Gallatin & Yellowstone Rivers | $50

In this course, you will learn how to swim through rapids, perform basic rescue techniques and practice the necessary paddling and river skills in order to work within the ordered chaos of the whitewater industry. The trainers are experienced, patient and fun. They will help you develop your understanding of rivers, rafts and the beautiful things that happen when they come together.

You will train on both the Gallatin and Yellowstone Rivers. Most of the time will be spent on the water so be prepared for some fun! Our objective is to teach and allow you to learn in a controlled environment.

Learning how to be a good raft guide is a long process. It is important to get a solid foundation in the basic skills in order to learn confidently and safely.

*New Montana Whitewater staff receive enrollment priority. Public participants will be accepted based on availability.

Sample Schedule, Equipment List and other Details

Day 1

  • Gear
  • Rigging
  • River Safety
  • Paddle Strokes
  • Basic First Aid
  • Basic Hydrology

Day 2

  • River Leadership
  • Rapid Swim/ Self-Rescue/Throw bag
  • River/raft dynamics
  • Scouting Rapids
  • Raft maneuvers (ferries, eddies ..)

Day 3

  • Basic rescue – boat/client rescue
  • Guiding Feedback
  • Flip Drills
  • Scenarios

Day 4

  • Final Guide Test
  • Feedback and Review


  • wetsuit
  • booties
  • splash jacket
  • helmet
  • lifejacket (included with the course if you don’t have your own yet)
  • polypro (top and bottom)
  • mid-weight fleece

Meeting place

Gallatin Office at Beckman Flats
(Mile Marker 64, Highway 191)


If you don’t have somewhere to stay, we suggest camping out on the river.


Bill Zell, Gavin Cooper, Robert Price and more!


Good swimming skills

Swiftwater Rescue Certification Course

Gallatin River | $275

This course is mandatory for all Guides. This is an internationally recognized certification course that covers advanced Swiftwater Rescue Techniques. With an initial emphasis on safety and self-rescue, this class also offers and in-depth look at swift water dynamics, recognizing and avoiding hazards, boat-based rescues, technical rescue systems, quick release options, wraps, entrapments and a variety of practical scenarios. A manual, test, patch, ID card, and certification are included. This course is a must for anyone working in the whitewater industry. It also offers an important knowledge base for whitewater recreationists.

Check out and Contact us for more information.

Advanced Rescue Certification Course

Gallatin River | $275

This course is designed to build on the skills learned in the Level One Swiftwater course. Topics covered are advanced rope rescue techniques, Highline Tyroleans, foot entrapment rescues, search skills, and much more. WRT or SRT-1 certification is required prior to taking this course.

2024 Skill Course Dates & Prices

CourseLengthDatesCostCost (If not working for us)
Advanced Rescue Course2 daysTBD$275$315
Advanced Rescue Recertification2 daysTBD$137.50$177.50
Guide School5 daysN/A$50*$250
1st Aid/CPR AED1 dayN/A$95$95
Swiftwater Rescue Course2 daysTBD$275$315
Swiftwater Rescue Recertification2 daysTBD$137.50$177.50

2024 dates are TBD

We require a $50 deposit to secure your place.

You will be required to provide food and lodging for yourself. If you need help with lodging, we are happy to provide information.

Our Guide School Course includes gear such as: wetsuits, booties, splash jackets, helmets and PFDs.