A Raft Guide is a name given to a White Water Rafting Guide. He or She is a trained professional that is capable of guiding on commercial white water rafting trips. Most raft guides are employed by rafting companies.
Rookie — A first year, or "rookie", guide is the lowest of all the guides, he or she is the lowest of the totem pole. The task they must perform are the ones no one else wants to do. They could be responsible for keeping the outpost(where the rafting company is located) clean. This could include; picking up trash in the parking lots, emptying the trash cans, cleaning the bathrooms. Rookies are also expected to handle most of the work load when it comes to preparing the rafts. Some companies require their rookies to work as parking attendants in the beginning of the day.
Second Year — Second year guides are those that survived their rookie year. They are back for another summer of work. Second year guides usually receive a raise because of their experience. A second year guide may not be as responsible for all the work a rookie must perform but is sometimes required assist the rookies. Second year guides are also the ones that are usually found on top of the raft bus loading rafts.
Seasoned Guide — An experienced guide has been around for at least three years. These guides tend to be lazier than rookies or 2nd years. As an experienced guide one learns to delegate duties to those under him. Even though he can tell the less experienced what to do he or she is still responsible for making sure the boats are inflated properly and that the buses get loaded promptly and safely.
Trip Leaders — A Trip Leader, or T.L., is the highest of all the guides. The trip leader is responsible for the safety of all the customers on the trip. Some could compare the trip leader to a manager. A trip leader is responsible for a group of lesser guides, usually about 5. T.L.s are responsible for giving "safety talks" before the trip, and "bus talks" on the bus ride to or from the river. T.L.s are also responsible for any first aid that may need to be performed on the river. Although the T.L.s seem to have a heavy workload, similar to that of a rookie but more glamorous, you can usually find these people standing around not doing anything. This is because with their status and experience they have become excellent at delegating tasks. All guides that are not fellow T.L.s are required to listen to what a T.L. tells them.
The job of the guide while on the river is to entertain the guest, and navigate the boat. To do this guides will turn the boat and go through rapids a certain way to ensure that everyone on the boat gets wet. This is all done with safety in mind. An important aspect of a raft guide is the "Raft Talk". This is the talk that a guide will give to their guests. Every raft guides talk is unique. Most new guides will listen to veteran guide's talks and take bits and pieces of each to create their own. A talk could be a series of jokes to keep the crew laughing, a history lesson on the area, or even just a 'get to know you' type talk. The best talks include all three.