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Russian River Estuary
Marine Protected Area
Ocean and River Nursery

The Most Wildlife Rich Habitat

on the Russian River

Adult and Young Wildlife

 Seal, Otter, Birds, Whale

Sharing the best ways

to view since 1987

Reserve Early:

Call 1-2 days in advance.

River Mouth Closed:
Do Not approach River Mouth Wildlife.
Protected Wildlife Habitat
"Stay back at least 150 feet" from resting or feeding wildlife by land and water.

Feeding and Disturbing Prohibited


Hot Now! River Otter, Harbor Seals, Many Birds

Used Kayak and Gear Sale!


Ask for best start times

per our forecast.


Estuary Forecast: 11/27/23 Layering works.

Dry bags and outerwear

free to use. 

Reservations Required. No act of nature cancellation fees.

Hours / days can change to meet weather conditions.

Check Back for Forecast Changes 


Mon:Clear and Calm: Rental Starts 10AM-1PM.

Tue-Fri: Cooler, breezy then rain, then wind. Closed

Sat-Sun: Forecast unsettled. Nice in between periods of sprinkles. Real rain expected near the end of December. We are open during nice periods through all school breaks.


Ocean Tides: Goat Rock Beach

Fall: Calm and sometimes windy: Ocean Moderates Coastal Temps.  Mornings can be warmer than inland. River mouth may close.

Know which days to avoid windy afternoons.


See our safety page for  apps to track local conditions.

We use 4 apps as none correctly cover all.  We are not responsible for accuracy as forecasts can and do change. Therefore, nobody can interpret with full accuracy.

A full list of our seasonal weather and river flow limitations, and when we close for all activities, can be found here.

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The Best Time to Start Training Part-time is October - May

Be ready for our best Part to Full time Summer work

Lifeguard Certifications: Complete by Mid May each year.

We Want: Motivated Team Players

This is an outdoor emergency service

and community education team.


Avid Outdoors

Science and Ecology Geeks

(College Credit and Work Experience)


Safety and Survival Enthusiasts

(Prepare for Professional Rescue Certification)

Become an "On the Water" Professional

(Paddlesports Guides and Kayaking Lifeguards)













Requires "Professional" Water Rescue and

CPR / First Aide Certifications

Certification fees reimbursed

on completion of seasonal contract.

Step 1 for all: A brief introduction to Paddlesports Safety

Additional "Hands On" Certification Required For Water Safety Positions.

There is a National Lifeguard Shortage!

Become a Lifeguard:

Pass your class from March to May to be ready for the Summer Season.

Or, Join a waiting list to create another class. Sign up now.

Try Here First: Fast Professional Lifeguard Certification

This is one of the fastest for seasonal water safety positions.

If you want more, than to just work through school breaks.

The path for Paddle Sports Guide and Instructor Careers


ACA Paddlesports , Trip Leader, and Instructor Certifications

We also accept ACA, BCU, NOLS and equivalent Paddlesports certifications.

Professional Guides can work around the Country and the World!

Professional Certifications get you into our highest paying positions.

Here are some we recommend and help train you to pass.

Common Minimum Certifications: Takes time to practice the skills and the terminology

needed to pass the courses. Trainings are free for our team members. 

Flatwater Kayak Safety & Rescue or Level 2: Essentials of River Safety & Rescue

Level 2: Essentials of Kayak Touring or Level 2: Essentials of River Kayaking

Level 2: Essentials of Kayak Touring Trip Leader or Levels 2: River Kayak Trip Leader

Living Classrooms: 7th grade through university field research groups.

Gain experience as an outdoor educator.

We don't want applicants who only want to make $16-$18 per hour.

  Our team are normally all over the age of 18, most are in their 20s and 30s.

We have also had fit team members in their 40s, 50s and 60s.

Most applicants have some experience in recreational safety and upgrade.

No experience is possible: Up to $18 an hour while practicing to pass your certifications.

 We normally charge for training to pass certifications, that our interns enjoy for free.

We reimbursed the certification test fee when you stay for a seasonal contract.


We never want to pay low wages.  We need a solid team.

We want applicants motivated to excel.

We value and reward your efforts and want you to have fun earning a decent income.

Our Schools, Scouts, Inner City Youth Groups and others, need you as guides!

Not having qualified water rescue applicants,

is the only reason a low paying position would become available.

Our Normal Job Descriptions and Pay Rates Are At The Bottom Of This Page.

We want you to soar!


Most of our team are not going full on extreme.

And you don't have to, to be successful. However,

Please be Motivated to Practice, Obtain Certifications

and Apply for the Positions Below.

College Students, Military Veterans, and those who are fit, enthused about getting their water rescue certs, and working with the public in nature are encouraged.

Join us for another great Fall into Spring!

We pay well. We pay overtime. We get tips.

We also pay bonuses for super busy days.

Our busiest days are always during education breaks and heat waves.

Apply, Train and Work Now!

Most of our activities are at our beginner friendly location.

We've had moving water and whitewater tours and classes

in other locations, and competition team members.

This can happen with the return of highly motivated and qualified applicants.


College Credit and Work Programs accepted.

We work with your college schedule.

Parks and Recreation

Recreational Safety

Outdoor Rescue

Outdoor Education

Field Research and Biology

Environmental Studies: Sociology, Ecology, Science


Start in Rental Safety

Upgrade to Assist or Lead Tour Guide

Upgrade to Certified Instructor

Our Tours:

Morning Kayak or Kayak and Hike

Evening: Sunset, Full Moon,

Night Bioluminescence (Glowing Plankton) 

We're Popular: Over 100 clients per day happens.:

See our rental, tour and other pages.

Our Tourism Activities Support Education and Research.

Please also see our  Facebook and YouTube links.

Then e-mail your resume with why you think we would be of mutual benefit to each other, then call us.


We will schedule an immediate opportunity to shadow us for half a day: An introduction to see what we do and part of your initial interview. We do not pay applicants to shadow. If the owner gets on the water with you to assess your skills, it is part of your interview. Any skill tuneups you receive are a free benefit and are normally a for fee experience that you would pay for.


Once accepted as a probationary intern: Any training, while on duty with paid clients, is on the job training and work experience, which is paid.

If you are coming in as a training or upgrading intern:

Gain Experience in Sustainable Recreation, Parks and Recreation, Outdoor Research, Education, Emergency Services (Lifeguards and Other Water Rescue) or Prep for Lead Kayak Guide and / or Instructor Certification. Volunteer positions are also available.


Because we have a high volume of Summer and educational break clients, we need your training to be completed prior to mid June for the Summer season, and for you to qualify to receive your best pay.  

You must pay for your certifications: We will refund your certification fees if you stay with us through an agreed upon period of time. (The owner will no longer pay for courses that new employees don't complete, or for an employee to immediately quit after receiving their free certification. The costs of your certifications are not free to your employer.)

We are happy to be a step on your path to local recreational safety employment or outdoor careers for those that are serious and motivated.


Full-time and Part-time seasonal work available May through October.

Paid employment during school breaks throughout the year is available, for experienced employees.


 Minimum Requirements: For All


18 years of age or older, Self-motivated quick learners, Upbeat attitude,

Great customer service skills, Must enjoy kayaking and the outdoors.

Ability to learn and share information about our Managed Marine Recreation Area.

Enjoys pushing to excel educationally and physically. (Required for safety positions).

Must be a safety and rescue team player: A team has each other's backs for the best interest of each other and our education programs.


Think Fire, Paramedic, Lifeguard, and Remote Rescue and Emergency Service Teams. The real pay comes from having your certifications, and keeping your skills and understanding of the risks fresh.


By doing this, we gain the experience to provide factual and fun safety reviews so our clients "know before they go" concerning the best ways to view local wildlife and how easy it is to avoid getting too close to river mouth currents or other hazards in nature.


You will learn to track weather and water conditions and forecasts. We shoot for calm beginner friendly conditions which accommodate families with children, limit our activities to more athletic clients during breezy conditions, and close our operations when conditions are expected to become quite windy, too cold or rainy and when river currents are too swift. Practicing our rescue skills is important to stay fresh and ready, but nobody really wants to rescue.


Our main goals are to avoid the need to rescue and to have fun.

We have plenty of beginner friendly conditions and we have a lot of fun with our clients.

We partner with State Parks and The Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary at this Marine Protected, Conservation and Managed Marine Recreation Area.  There are rules and laws here both for the safety of wildlife and humans. They are easy to follow and ultimately, outdoor interpretation is fun.


Able to lift and move 50 lbs unassisted. (Usually not more than 40 lbs)

No showing off by over lifting! We don't have to lift boats as often as other outfits. Please don't hurt yourself! Ask for help!  We want you to enjoy a life time of helping others to enjoy the outdoors.


Our team must be:

At work, on time, and when we are scheduled.

Always reachable on our 2-way radios while on duty, including during your onsite lunch break for safety positions: Safety Position Lunch Breaks Onsite Are Paid. If an emergency happens, or if we need to manage client activity to avoid problems during your lunch break, it could be interrupted and you will have to resume your break later.  This is normal for safety and rescue careers.


Some overtime can happen on busy Hot Inland days: We can get slammed with client surges during very hot inland days.  We pay bonuses for keeping up with demand that exceeds what we try to plan for. If you don't want to work overtime, or to work harder with us to help our clients, please let us know in advance. We cannot leave work until all clients are off the water and everything is securely locked up.  This is a water safety career expectation and we are generally proud of ourselves for being able to meet the demands of unexpected client surges.  We pay bonuses for your excellence. The owner may even pay for a team dinner after a particularly rewarding day.


Client Services at our payment and outfitting location can easily avoid going into overtime.


Reservations and Client Services: No Openings At This Time

Part to Full Time: (Client Check-in, Reservations, Equipment Returns and Staff Communications).

     A dedicated, upbeat and fast paced multitasking person is needed. Ideally to train to manage those duties part-time to full-time seasonally. Part-time during education breaks throughout the year is possible for seasoned employees. $18 to $20 an hour.

      May not require certifications. However, to work full-time, we need you to assist with water safety duties or “on the water education”, a minimum of a "Professional" CPR / first aid certification will be required while upgrading “on the water” experience as an educational assist, or for your water safety certifications. We pay higher rates when assisting on the water with our tour clients.


Water Safety

For returning "Team Members", we may assist with certificate or competition fees up front.

Otherwise certification fees are reimbursed on the completion of your seasonal contract.

Part to Full Time: This is not a kiddy beach or pool, which is a great upgrade for basic lifeguards. Our safety positions require professional cpr, first aid, and water rescue certification (Lifeguard or Swiftwater, Deepwater, or Dive Rescue), as well as training with our staff. (We train in wind to learn to help avoid our clients experiencing it. What’s fun for us can be too challenging for them.)  (Expired certifications accepted to train but must be renewed at earliest opportunity and prior to working by yourself or earning safety position pay.) Some of our Country's most elite Open Water Lifeguards are at Goat Rock Beach. We are happy to arrange for you to meet them.

    You must enjoy sharing timely safety and wildlife information while having fun. We track weather and water conditions to operate most of our rentals and guided tours in beginner friendly conditions. Day shift overtime or a second midday into evening shift may be possible during summer months and heat spells.

Level One:  Beach Launch and Safety Reviews: Must train to rotate to assist guide.

Professional CPR, First Aid and Basic Water Rescue Certifications.

The main beach launch person provides our Rental Safety Reviews in between ensuring reserved kayaks are ready to go, along with a few extras. We get many walk up reservations as well. There is a standard flow once the Safety Reviews start. 15 minutes of safety review and 15 minutes of prepping kayaks or SUPs for the next Safety Review. Someone is flexing back and forth to assist you with the prep unless your working solo at the beach on a slow midweek day. Weekends, Holiday and Heat Spells can be very crowded and fast paced. Sometimes two of us are doing the Safety Reviews and often there's also live music just above us at the cafe or wine bar. This position rotates to take breaks, do river mouth safety checks, or to assist with a Guided Tour at a higher pay rate.  Train at $18. We want you to rapidly advance to at least $20 an hour or more.


Level Two: Assist Guide and On the water safety: Work this position while training to upgrade to become a Lead Guide.  While in training, please rapidly advance to at least $25 an hour,  an hour when joining a lead guide with clients on a tour.

Shift Supervisor

Train to shift supervise our interns, and manage our activities on busy days, for overall business success and to minimize rental, tour, and overall safety liability when not guiding.  Must be experienced in maintaining our safety protocols and "Fully Certified" in Water Rescue, fully competent in high wind water rescue by kayak, and ideally certified as a Lead Guide or Instructor. $25 to $30 an hour depending on experience and ability. This position would shift to the higher pay rates when serving as Lead Guide or Certified Instructor.

Guiding and Instructing

An assist guide is not a lead guide: However assist guides, who are training to pass their lead guide certification, are always valuable members of our team. They also gain valuable experience assisting our Lead Guides with larger groups, including families, corporations, scouts and schools. There are higher pay rates, when actively assist guiding on the water with tour clients.


We never have full-time work in Lead Guiding or Instructing. No tour operation does. Two 5 hour commitments back to back would be too much in one day as our evening tours can run quite late. It might be possible to do back to back classes with an introductory class followed by a more advanced class or by doing a full day class, but we can't do them everyday. For Full-Time Work: Roll over to Safety Reviews and Shift Safety Supervision before or after your tour or on days when we have no tour clients. Your pay would be split between two rates when flexing over from Land Based Pay to Guided Tours.

Since our staff are employees, rather than subcontracted, you will not be required to provide your own liability insurance.  You are instead becoming part of our recreational safety team.

Note on Subcontracting: Subcontractors are  required to be fully water rescue certified and to carry their own liability insurance, and potentially a bond, as they carry the risk of lawsuit if a client becomes injured or loses their life during the activity. We only subcontract by paying highly experienced and certified instructors, as needed for our own team upgrade certifications.

Certified Lead Kayak Guide

Pay commensurate to certifications and experience

Ideally: Full certifications and experience to "Lead Guide" a team for groups of up to 35 adults or student / youth groups with adult parents, scout leaders, or teachers.


  • ACA level 2 or equivalent "Trip Leader Certification" from a "Major" recognized organizations such as the American Canoe Association (ACA), British Canoe Union (BCU) or the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). Plus the ability to keep large tours on time with firm control while maintaining a pleasant attitude and having fun.

  • Must be able to quickly troubleshoot "on the water and with clients". 

  • For example: If a boat becomes damaged, replacing a foot peg or managing a broken paddle, and adjusting for sudden unexpected changes in weather or water conditions.  Pay is dependent on experience and ability to confidently run a guide team up 3 or more. Seasoned certified guides can also create themed tours and guided events for our advertised schedule.

  • We do not subcontract this position unless you have already carried a business activity permit for state or federal parks, and that permit was not rescinded or denied renewal. Additional "In House" Training is required to meet our safety, interpretation protocols and partnership agreements.

  • Certified Guides, with their own liability insurance, may negotiate pay after training to our specifications and registering as a subcontractor for us. In most cases though, Certified Guides are part of our main team, covered under our contracts, training, and business insurance.

  • Newly Certified Guides can expect to start at $25 an hour, while gaining experience, and increase from there. Experiences Lead Guides can earn $30 an hour or more.  Highly Experienced Lead Guides generally expect $35 to $40 an hour and are usually also certified instructors earning their highest wages when providing a certified instruction class.

What is a Certified Skills Instructor?

It's nice to have a summer camp safety review certification.

This is not the same as a more advanced Certified Skills Instructor.

Our rental and tour safety reviews are not certified instruction.


A paid certificate skills class includes the participants receiving a participation card from the "National Organization" that certifies "You" as an instructor.  Your instructor certification should be from The American Canoe Association (ACA), National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), British Canoe Union (BCU), or equivalently recognized organization .

     Other organizations exist.  However, most often we partner with the ACA as they have partnered with the US Coast Guard (USCG), for over 100 years, in helping to set U.S. boating safety standards.

     The USCG focuses on motorized boats and watercraft while the ACA focuses on paddle sports.

     A certified course is at least 4 hours long at minimum and normally consists of Full Day and Multiple Day courses to obtain a certificate, after "studying and practicing" truly effective skills as apposed to a short informational introduction or demonstration, as in the "Paddle Smart" intro provided by the USCG.

    Our "rental and tour safety reviews" are the bare minimum and are often performed by our minimally certified water rescue, and lifeguard interns, as part of their on the job training and experience to prepare for more advanced certifications, instead of our "certified instructional staff". 

   An instructor may also be employed, at the high end of the lower rate, for working other positions to accumulate full time employment.  We never have full-time work as an instructor and this is true for the majority of outdoor tourism and education entities.

   Please do not attempt to apply for a certified instructor position unless you possess a "current level two or above skills instructor certification". 

   Certified Instructors may negotiate pay, as you may also be helping to certify our own team members and / or teaching the general public as a subcontractor under your own insurance. Certified Instructors may be working part-time for more than one business or organization or mostly full time managing a similar business. They also may create mostly consistent work for themselves by contracting for different seasons with different organizations in the U.S. or in other countries.

We have, and have had even more, staff certified to high levels of rescue and competition.

Though training to very high levels is not necessary to work with us, if you are interested, we can point you in the right direction and, in many cases, even help you practice for certification.

Repairs and Maintenance: We all participate in keeping our equipment clean, in good working order and in doing repairs to our infrastructure. The owner has worked on construction sites. Please let us know if you enjoy plastic welding which the owner can teach you to do.

   Water safety, Guides and Instructors must also learn the character of different types of paddlecraft and models, as well as to do quick easy repairs on the fly, for the safety of their clients.


Join Us! We are rebuilding our team and look forward to bouncing back to our former glory and more!

To Apply:  Call 1-707-865-2249 and E-mail your resume and references to

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Most of our team does not go
to these extremes in outdoor rescue.
But, you can if you want to.
I did.

Suki Waters

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