Private boater instruction - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 05-30-2017   #1
 
Littleton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 10
Private boater instruction

I'm looking for recommendations for private boating classes in Colorado. My interest will mainly be pontooning rivers for flyfishing, but I want broad training to be safe. I've seen the guide courses, but I have a full time job and can't commit 4-6 full weeks for this. I'm a novice whitewater boater right now, but I have extensive ocean and bay power boating experience. While not much transfers, I am comfortable on the water.

I'd really appreciate any leads or suggestions. I'm not looking to do this on the cheap; I'll pay for good training.

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Old 05-30-2017   #2
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 321
Never heard of a class to learn how to drive a raft. But, I am sure someone here would be glad to take your money to let you tag along and "instruct" you!!
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Old 05-30-2017   #3
 
Ridgway, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 267
My river training began with a NOLS course in the early 90's.
I couldn't recommend it highly enough. From basic, reading the water skills, boat rigging, to WW rescue, it provided me with a solid platform that I base off of today.
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Old 05-30-2017   #4
 
denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 91
I would probably start by calling some raft companies and ask if they would be willing to let you 'rent' a guide on your boat for a day or two. I'm sure that having a guide on your boat coaching you while you row for a day would be enough for what you seek. I also feel this would be legal as the raft company would be permitted at least for guiding whatever river you were on.

With that said, I'd just get out there on your own, make friends, and learn. There are some really good beginner rivers out there, and you can't get into too much trouble if people are inner tubing the same stretch you are rafting. There are exceptions of course..

The South Platte is totally raftable in Littleton (when there is water) and poses few safety hazards. Upper Colorado is great, Roaring Fork too, and real easy is the North Platte below Grey Reef in Wy- which also is superb fishing. Get comfortable on the easy, learn to read water, and progress from there.
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Old 05-31-2017   #5
 
Truckee, California
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleTap View Post
I'm looking for recommendations for private boating classes in Colorado. My interest will mainly be pontooning rivers for flyfishing, but I want broad training to be safe. I've seen the guide courses, but I have a full time job and can't commit 4-6 full weeks for this. I'm a novice whitewater boater right now, but I have extensive ocean and bay power boating experience. While not much transfers, I am comfortable on the water.

I'd really appreciate any leads or suggestions. I'm not looking to do this on the cheap; I'll pay for good training.
I'm not sure about Colorado but I did this clinic in early May on the South Fork of the American and it was worth every penny. 5 days of rowing between Chili Bar and Folsom with 2 great guides and only 4 clients total. Had a lot of time on the sticks...

https://www.oars.com/adventures/cali...rowing-clinic/
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Old 05-31-2017   #6
Be Like Water
 
Rivertime, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
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Hey there, just thought I'd chime in. I guess it never hurts to invest in expert instruction. The NOLS idea is good, saw a course on Lodore last year. I think NOLS has changed a lot over the years but it's not a bad idea. Having said that have you thought about running trips with people who can dial you into good times and good lines? There are plenty of competent rafters who you could have fun with and learn from. And trust me, all the instruction you can buy doesn't replace time in the seat. Lastly, since you're mostly floating/fishing just how hard core do you think you'll go? I'm betting you'll mostly float the Roaring Fork, Upper C, Maybe Browns...that type of thing. Feel free to IM me if you'd like to join our group sometime. Taking a Swiftwater rescue class or 5 is also a good idea and probably your best use of funds. Have fun out there!
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Old 06-01-2017   #7
 
Littleton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 10
Thanks to all of you for the help. I'll keep doing some research. The advice about starting slow on easy water is probably where I'm headed right now. I think most of my time on the water will be easy floats, maybe some easy Class III at the most, so I'm not looking to get hardcore. But, I do want to be safe and to be able to invite a friend along and feel that I can keep them safe.

If anybody is looking for a guest on a day float this summer, please PM me. I'll generously share in expenses and work.
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Old 06-01-2017   #8
 
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Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 517
I don't normally plug outfitters, but in this case an excellent option exists:

https://www.nwrafting.com/training/rowing-school
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Old 06-01-2017   #9
 
Andy H.'s Avatar
 
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleTap View Post
The advice about starting slow on easy water is probably where I'm headed right now. I think most of my time on the water will be easy floats, maybe some easy Class III at the most, so I'm not looking to get hardcore.
I'll second the notion of starting slow on easy water. However, during the spring runoff that's going on for the next month or so, things will be cranking and water that's typically "slow" will be fast, pushy, and very powerful. Lots of folks will say things like, "Hey, it's just the Upper Colorado, it's easy water, what could happen?" but the water there is very different at 5000 cfs than at 1000 cfs and likely they don't remember what it's like to be a total novice.

Before you go anywhere on flowing rivers during runoff, it may be a good idea just to get used to the oars on a lake. I've handed over the oars to a newbie on easy flowing water and almost had my boat wrapped on a bridge abutment within a minute...

Be safe,

-AH
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Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 06-01-2017   #10
 
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Fort Fun, Colorado
Paddling Since: 94
Join Date: Jul 2008
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I would look into a swiftwater rescue course. Rowing a boat isn't rocket science. I've seen a number (myself included) of people with zero time behind the oars row the entire length of the Canyon without incident. We used to say any monkey with 2, maybe 3, sticks could row the Grand.


Having said that, having a fundamental knowledge of moving water and how to read that water is key. I think a good swiftwater course should impart that.
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