Join the bracing and edging lesson in Maine! Improve boat control by mastering these two essential and interrelated skills! This lesson is for intermediate to advanced paddlers.
Maine Sea Kayak Guide Training
This course includes four 8-hour sessions on consecutive weekends (8:30am-4:30pm, May 13-14 & 20-21) plus a 1-hour intro via Zoom on May 11 from 7:30pm-8:30pm.
- Student Ages 16+
Prepare to Become a Licensed Maine Sea Kayak Guide in this four-day course
This intensive course is designed to prepare students for the state testing process involved in becoming a licensed Maine Sea Kayak Guide. Although our course is focused on the goal of passing the state guide exam, we also intend for students to develop skills and knowledge that will make them better paddlers and more competent outdoor leaders. The course is designed to be enjoyable and educational for anyone with prior sea kayaking experience who is interested in topics ranging from marine navigation to effective paddling instruction. Please keep in mind that if you successfully take this class and pass the exam that does not necessarily mean you are a competent guide. Many individuals may need additional practice and study before they are ready to professionally lead trips.
The course will start with a one-hour course orientation that will take place virtually on Zoom. The rest of the course will take place in person over the following two weekends. Roughly half of the course will take place on the water and the rest will take place in a classroom setting in Portland. Portland Paddle can provide kayaks and paddling gear for students to use during the course at no extra cost or students can use their own.
Some prior sea kayaking experience is required for students taking this training. While we usually have a range of skill levels, and advanced skills are not necessary, this course does not cover the introductory skills that are the focus of our beginner-level sea kayaking classes. Students should have each of the following skills or experiences prior to showing up for the course:
- Prior sea kayaking experience. Please note that sea kayaks are very different from recreational kayaks (the most common kayaks found on lakes and rivers); lots of people who kayak regularly have never been in a sea kayak.
- Wet exit experience. You should have experienced capsizing in a kayak (doing a “wet exit”) before taking this training.
TAKING THE GUIDE EXAM
Our course prepares students for the state exam, but we do not administer the exam or have any control over who passes or fails the exam. Students are responsible for applying to take the exam (which involves a criminal background check) and traveling to Augusta on the date they are assigned by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. The state charges a $100 fee to take the exam. If you pass you must pay an additional $135 for a 5-year license. Please note that the exam process can sometimes take many months, so we suggest that you begin the process as early as possible. You can start by completing your criminal background check.
To learn more about the exam process and start the process visit this webpage on the website of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. We recommend applying early so that you can take the exam shortly after our training ends. Before applying for a test date you must undergo a background check.
The state of Maine requires that all professional wilderness guides in Maine (including sea kayaking guides) have a guide license from the state Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. This requirement, which is unique to our state, helps to maintain a high reputation for Maine guides and to encourage best practices. Earning a guide license can open up many professional opportunities. Every year many outfitters and other organizations throughout the state seek out licensed Maine guides to lead trips. Beyond Maine many outfitters also recognize a Maine guide license as an indicator of experience and competence.
When you become a Maine guide you become part of a long history of professional guiding in Maine, starting in 1897 with the legendary Cornelia “Flyrod” Crosby, the first licensed Maine guide.
There are several specializations within the state guide licensing system (hunting, fishing, whitewater rafting, etc). Our course is specifically focused on the sea kayaking specialization, and it will only prepare students for taking the sea kayak guide exam. This license can only be used to lead paddling trips (sea kayak or SUP) on Maine’s tidal waters.
You are welcome to contact us by email or phone if you are considering registering for this course. We can discuss your past paddling experience and offer you guidance on applying for the state exam. Click the button below when you are ready to register and pay the $100 deposit. Remember that this only registers you for the training — not the exam.
Visit this page on the state’s website to learn how to take the Maine Guide exam. Our course will prepare you for the exam, but you must register with the state to actually take the exam. The state’s process begins with getting fingerprinted and undergoing a criminal background check. Once that is completed, you are able to apply for a test date. In the meantime, you must also receive a basic First Aid certification if you don’t already have one.
Please keep in mind that the amount of time it takes to get scheduled to take the exam can vary from a couple weeks to a few months. We suggest you begin the process as soon as possible if you hope to guide during the coming summer.