Employment at Sea Kayak Adventures
We are seeking guides for our 2022 summer season in British Columbia where, at the north end of Vancouver Island, we paddle with orcas and humpbacks, using our established base camps for each night’s stay. Please read this introduction, and then complete our application. Thank you!
When it was founded in 1993, Sea Kayak Adventures focused on trips in Baja, Mexico and British Columbia. While those two destinations remain our primary focus, we also have expanded with trips to Cuba, the Galapagos and other destinations worldwide.
Sea Kayak Adventures is part of the ROW Adventures Family of Companies, that also offers whitewater rafting, biking and hiking tours in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, and around the world. Being part of the larger ROW family provides some unique opportunities to Sea Kayak Adventures guides in terms of training and potential work in various locations.
No matter where we operate, the majority of our guides are local. Thus, for our summer operations in British Columbia, we are looking for kayaking guides with experience in the region. That said, if you have kayaked in other parts of Canada, we also welcome your application. Please understand that you must be legally able to work in Canada in order to be employed with us and we cannot help with work visas if you are not already qualified.
Our focus is on professionalism, providing superlative guest service, supporting and communicating about conservation and providing excellent cultural and natural history interpretation to our guests. If all this appeals to you, we invite you to apply!
What to Know About Being on the Sea Kayak Adventures Team
Sea Kayak Adventures is a place where you will find a team of people who are inclusive, value each other regardless of origins, life-paths or perspectives, and promote and defend the humanity and dignity of all people. Our team is our most valuable asset, and our success is the direct result of our outstanding, quality-driven team members who enjoy working and playing together. We enjoy a high return rate among our staff, yet still hire many new people each year. We invite you to meet some of our current team members!
We provide a number of benefits beyond competitive pay, including superb training opportunities, pro deals on gear, housing at our various locations and a healthy, supportive work environment. We also provide free or reduced-rate trips for family or friends. Our team in BC is a small group of 6-8 people that work closely together during the summer season.
We accept applications for kayaking field staff positions year-round. The bulk of seasonal hiring is usually completed in the spring.
Sea Kayak Adventures’ administrative offices are located in Coeur d’Alene, ID and our summer base in British Columbia is in Port McNeil.
Please take a look at the available positions and fill out an online application.
Thank you for your interest and we look forward to hearing from you!
Peter Grubb, Founder
A Note About COVID-19 and the Pandemic: When the world went topsy-turvy in March of 2020, we quickly regrouped, worked with other outfitters and came up with a plan for operating as best we could. In 2020 and 2021 we were not able to operate in British Columbia as the US/Canada border remained closed for tourists until August 2021. However, we were operating our kayaking trips in Baja during the winter months during these two years as well as our summer rafting in the U.S. We are excited to return to Vancouver Island in 2022. We require our guests and staff to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, and we will operate based on whatever COVID-19 protocols are appropriate.
Many new-to-SKA guides have made the transition from day trips to multi-day trips at SKA. For those who are inclined, this change can come from a passion for rivers, the desire to further your career, or for the excitement of spending more time with guests in the amazing spaces we enjoy. Over the years we have found that for some, this transition can be a challenging one. Multi-day guiding is an experience that is immersive and, at times, all consuming. There are days on the water when you have to push against the wind all day, get to camp late, and then immediately begin cooking because you are on cook crew. At other times, the days that are lazy and fun on the water and then you get to relax and enjoy a special camp or hike at the end of the day. As a part of the guide team you have to work together through the hard and easy with a smile on your face and sense of humor. You are doing all of this while taking care of our guests who are always curious about you and your experience. It is often not easy, but those that enjoy this work often really enjoy it a lot.
SKA conducts an intensive hiring process to try and find the best candidates for the job. We offer jobs only to those candidates we believe have the tools to succeed at SKA and invite them to training. On very rare occasions training reveals that new hires do not in fact to have these requisite skills, abilities or attitude or turn out to not be a good fit for SKA. On rare occasions we are forced to part ways prior to commencement of work. Therefore all job offers should be considered provisional until after the successful completion of training.
We look for and schedule guides who strive for the high watermark in their professional and personal lives, have the goal of providing high quality river trips and have a positive, helpful and constructive attitude. Scheduling also takes into consideration guides’ on-water skills, license status and additional skills that compliment the assigned crew for the trip. Other factors considered include a balance of male/female guides, guides with proven ability in interpretation and other guest-driven factors (for example a trip that requires all female guides). Seniority and length of individual commitment to the current season are also considered in conjunction with the above factors but seniority alone is not a deciding factor. SKA does its best not to over hire.
SKA has worked hard in it's 25+ year history to establish systems and processes to make trips run smoothly. Our trips are not haphazard or thrown together randomly, but rather, carefully choreographed. For example we run our trips on a schedule, we have set menus, we have set procedures at our put-ins and take-outs. Our systems are meant to simplify tasks and alleviate the concern over the proper way to do things. We believe that with these systems guides do not have to waste time and energy on regular tasks and processes. Instead they can focus on our guests and put their energy into SKA’s Mission, Vision and Values while on trips. Experienced new-to-SKA guides need to be prepared and willing to adopt our systems so all team members are on the same page.
We provide a high-quality experience for our guests while building trust and friendship with them. We seek to fulfill guest expectations and to meet both expressed and unexpressed needs. In order to set this high watermark in guest service, SKA guides are often expected to go above and beyond normal customer service. SKA guides regularly set up and take down guest tents, cook all meals, clean all dishes including guest dishes and lead hikes, campfire activities and interpretive presentations. We expect SKA guides to try to anticipate guests’ needs and do what is necessary to provide the best service possible.
Bringing meaningful interpretation to guests is an important part of every SKA trip and a key part of the SKA difference. Meaningful interpretation helps reveal the places we recreate and turn a river trip into a more expansive journey of personal discovery. Interpretation is also one of the primary ways we connect guests to the land and hopefully plant seeds of care about the special places where we work. While we don’t expect all guides will become highest-level interpreters, we do expect all guides will strive to develop at least a basic proficiency in techniques as well as mastery of at least one presentation. To help achieve this expectation, SKA requires all new-to-SKA guides to complete a formal (addressed to the group) presentation on the topic of their choice that is relevant to destination that SKA operates in. Training in interpretive techniques is provided. More guidelines on how to complete this presentation will be given upon job offer.
A lot of factors influence how much money a guide will make their first season, including factors both within (availability) and without (like bookings) a guide's control. Guides who train hard, have a positive attitude and take advantage of early licensing opportunities typically earn more than those who don’t. Other factors include years of experience, the number and level of certifications that a guide has. SKA offers additional pay for these skills. While it is ROW’s philosophy that we do not work for tips, gratuity is a part of our industry. Gratuity can quickly account for another 30% - 70% in earnings over the course of the season. A complete pay scale will be provided upon job offer.
In Baja and British Columbia our warehouses and outposts have either sleeping facilities or space for camping. Guide lounge, wireless internet, bath and basic kitchen facilities are also provided. Guides typically choose to camp, sleep in their vehicle or use one of the cots or indoor sleeping spaces depending on their personal preference. There is no charge to guides for use of these facilities.
Sea Kayak Adventures is a Drug and Tobacco Free Workplace. Guides are in a fishbowl on our trips and we believe it is important for guides to model healthy lifestyle choices, especially around children. Our drug free policy is also an important part of our risk management practices. No employee may use federally illegal drugs or other controlled substances without a prescription at any time during the season. Random drug testing does occur and guides have been fired for non-compliance. Tobacco (including cigarettes and chewing tobacco) may not be used at any time on a SKA trip, SKA property or in a SKA vehicle. A complete outline of our policy will be provided upon job offer.
The health of our employees and guests is of utmost importance. Over the past two seasons in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have put policies in place that respond to state regulations and policies, public health authority recommendations, and science-based findings. We have a series of policies and procedures in place to mitigate the risks posed by COVID-19 and our guests and staff sign a pledge to abide by them. Beginning in the 2022 summer season, we will require all staff (regardless of position) AND adult guests (on multi-day trips) to be fully vaccinated to work or participate in Sea Kayak Adventures trips.
Out of consideration for your fellow employees, our guests and SKA property, please leave your pets at home. SKA does not allow employees to house pets on SKA property or accompany trips.