Employment

Sea Kayak Guide Employment with Powell River Sea Kayak
Ltd.

As a dynamic sea kayaking and eco-resort company on the coast of British Columbia, we are always looking for bright and charismatic individuals to join our wonderful team of guides and operations staff.

 

Topics: 

  1. About Powell River Sea Kayak
  2. Our Locations
  3. Powell River and the Upper Sunshine Coast
  4. Seasonal Employment with PRSK
    1. General Operations
    2. Eco Resort General Operations
    3. Kayak Maintenance and Repair
    4. Resort Cooks
    5. Guiding Positions
      1. Lead Multi-Day Guides
      2. Assistant Multi-Day Guides (AOG)
      3. Day Guides
  5. Assets for Employment
  6. Qualifications Required
  7. Contact Us

 

About Powell River Sea Kayak

At Powell River Sea Kayak our passion and area of expertise is Desolation Sound. We have been providing kayak rentals, lessons, day and multi-day tours into Desolation Sound and the surrounding area for over 20 years. Additionally, since 2014 we have been running guided and self-guided multi-day kayak trips out of our personal eco-resort on an uninhabited island in the heart of Desolation Sound itself.

As a result, we are a dynamic and experienced company with a multi-faceted and diverse field of operations! We have a focus on quality, knowledge and interpretation, and high level of organization across the entire company, which fosters a uniquely positive company culture where all our employees work together as a team to provide the ultimate in guest satisfaction and comfort. 

Finally, we are all passionate not just about kayaking, but about the Powell River area and the incredible opportunities that exist here for exploration and enjoyment. Even though we are a seasonal business, many of our staff live and play in Powell River year round, and most of our staff return year after year due to the positive relationships and work environment that we strive to provide!

 

Our Locations

Powell River Sea Kayak has three distinct locations for our guests to access the Desolation Sound area. While Powell River is the largest community in the area (14 000 people) and is a great base for our staff to live and socialize, please note that our locations of operation are all based 30 minutes drive north of town, and a vehicle is almost a necessity for employment with us.

While it is conceivable that general operations staff could live and commute without a vehicle from the small village of Lund, for maximum enjoyment of the summer season on the Sunshine Coast, and certainly for our guiding and cooking positions that require purchasing tour food, a vehicle is essential.

Personal accommodation is also a detail that you will need to take into consideration when moving into this area. At this time PRSK does not have the ability to provide temporary staff accommodation for our new employees. Many of our staff will attempt to set something up ahead of arriving in the spring, which is always a wise course of action. Otherwise keep in mind that you may need to set up temporary accommodation (ie in a hotel, B&B, tent or trailer) for the first week or so while you search for something more permanent.

Okeover Inlet

Our primary office location and launch site for all our multi-day and Cabana Desolation Eco-Resort tours is on Penrose Bay in Okeover Inlet. This location also handles the bulk of our rental fleet and day tours, as well as all our instructional kayaking lessons.

This private, 8-acre, waterfront property is on a sheltered bay and is the perfect location for kayakers to access Desolation Sound Marine Park and Desolation Sound itself. Okeover Inlet is relatively protected compared to the open Strait of Georgia, and most of our guests choose to launch from here to begin their kayaking adventure.

The property is also the site of the original homestead in Okeover Inlet - that of Nancy Crowther, who grew up to be known as the 'Cougar Queen' of Okeover Inlet - and the original cabin, some outbuildings, and even the original orchard are still functioning to this day (and providing fruit for jams and preserves on our multi-day tours!)

Lund

The village of Lund is situated at the end of Highway 101 north of Powell River, and is the home of our satellite location where we stage day tours to the Copeland Islands Marine Park and Savary Island, as well as provide a small rental fleet for guests that wish to access Desolation Sound from the Strait of Georgia. 

While quieter than our Okeover shop, Lund swells with tourists in the summer months as it is the last stop for sailboats and yachts on their way into Desolation Sound, as well as being the access point for thousands of people every summer to visit sandy Savary Island. 

Our shop is located in the same building as the historic Lund hotel, and other business in Lund include a famous bakery, restaurant, public bar, an excellent art gallery showcasing local art and sculptures, and a few small local tour operators.

Cabana Desolation Eco-Resort - Kinghorn Island

Our third location of operation is Kinghorn Island in Desolation Sound, which is the site of Cabana Desolation Eco Resort, from which we offer guided and self-guided resort-based kayaking tours. Guests and staff can only access Kinghorn Island by kayak or company motor vessel, and regularly scheduled maintenance and staff/guest swap-over days only occur two times a week.

Our multi-day guiding and resort cook positions work out of Cabana Desolation, while our general operations staff may get the chance to spend time working at this location during these maintenance and swap-over days to help ensure the smooth operation of this unique and wonderful product.

 

 

Powell River and the Upper Sunshine Coast

Somewhat isolated, Powell River and its ocean and backcountry areas provide awesome adventure and exploration on days off. Many of our guides and staff from previous seasons choose return in subsequent years in part because of what this area has to offer in addition to the world class sea kayaking:

  • Mountain biking in the area is absolutely awesome - and our guides often haul their bikes with them. Powell River is a venue for the annual BC Bike Race which brings hundreds of mountain bikers through town on the circuit each summer, and an army of local volunteers spend countless hours maintaining hundreds of kilometres of trail.

  • If you're into climbing, you may never want to leave. Multi-pitch granite walls in the Eldred Valley have been featured in climbing magazines and offer unlimited potential for development, while the nearby routes at Higgy Land, Stillwater and the Lake Bluffs are great for a day or just a few hours of climbing after work.

  • With the 180 km long Sunshine Coast trail and countless other trails, hiking in the area is endless. You can access countless trailheads within a 20 minute drive from the centre of town, and whether you're looking for an afternoon stroll or a two week trip, you can find it here! The Sunshine Coast Trail itself is Canada's longest hut-to-hut hiking trail!

  • Backcountry areas include ridge hikes in elevations of 5000-7000 feet and a couple of back country cabins. It's all Coast Mountain Range behind Powell River - the backcountry is endless and waiting year round.

  • The Powell Forest Canoe Route is one of the best in BC, and the backcountry behind Powell River  is dotted with sprawling lakes that are connected with portage routes for  day trips or multi-day adventures

There's more if you need it. Perhaps you just want to paddle over to Savary Island for the day and meditate on the huge sandy beaches. Or maybe you need the adrenaline of the Skookumchuk narrows - just a quick ferry ride away. At 16 knots, this should do it!

Powell River is also a burgeoning cultural centre in addition to its incredible outdoor opportunities, with a rich and growing community of artists and musicians choosing to live and perform in the area due to its natural beauty, small town hospitality and relaxed ambiance. The summer months are filled with festivals and live music, and our vibrant restaurant scene makes the most of the long summer days with outdoor patios and a relaxing coastal atmosphere for socializing and hanging out with friends. 

Check out our Local Attractions page for a more detailed look at what Powell River has to offer!

 

Seasonal Employment with PRSK 

With such a dynamic list of operations, Powell River Sea Kayak is a diverse and ever-changing place to work. Our staff are chosen each season on the basis of their potential to fit within our positive company culture, which rewards hard work and initiative with a positive atmosphere, room to grow, and some pretty sweet perks!

Most importantly, staff at PRSK understand that a guest's positive experience begins from the first phone call or email to our office and ends long after they have returned home at the end of their vacation. All members and positions with our team work together and help each other is whatever way they can to develop this positive culture and work environment, and provide the best experience we can to all of our guests.

 

General Operations

Our General Operations staff are the most dynamic positions at PRSK, responsible for a great variety of tasks within all aspects of the company's operations. These duties include (but are not limited to):

  • Sales of tours and kayak rentals.
  • Cleaning and maintenance of kayaks.
  • Answering guest phone calls and emails and providing accurate and definitive advice about our operations and tours, Desolation Sound, routes and camping options, kayaking logistics, weather and other considerations.
  • Preparing tour and rental boats and equipment for the following day.
  • Transporting kayaks between our operational locations.
  • Guide support, including gear maintenance and repair, cleaning and washing of boats and equipment, and assistance with basic tour preparation.
  • Potentially cleaning and maintenance of our eco-resort on Kinghorn Island.

There is also the potential each season for Day Guides or Assistant Overnight Guides to combine their guiding duties with General Operations Duties in a GO/Guide position. These arrangements are great for individuals looking to take the initial steps towards a career in the outdoor and guiding industry, and teach staff the behind-the-scenes operations of a busy sea kayaking company while offering on-water experience and knowledge under the mentorship of more experienced guides.

 

Eco Resort General Operations

While this is not so much a specific position in itself, our eco resort provides unique opportunities for the right members of our staff to experience a further diversification of roles and duties in our company.

Cabana Desolation Eco Resort is a small and intimate resort with a maximum of 10 guests and three members of staff at one time. General Operations tasks at the resort include basic cleaning and maintenance of walkways, bathrooms and common areas, guest support and customer service, and some food preparation and kitchen cleaning under the supervision of the on-site cooks. These roles would require staying overnight at the resort for 4 or 5 days at a time.

Over the years our resort operations duties have been filled throughout the season by various members of our staff, from guides to GO staff. Guides are often a perfect fit to spend a few days 'managing' the resort like this due to their skills with people and service, their knowledge of the natural environment and history of the area, and the opportunity to work for a brief period during the busy season without the stresses associated with the complete management of all aspects of a trip that guiding requires.

That said, for the right GO staff - especially those with an interest in furthering their work opportunities in the future in the adventure tourism industry - resort operations are a great way to branch out and experience another facet of PRSK's operations.

This position is not one that is 'filled' by one individual, and over the course of the season many members of staff may get the opportunity to work in this environment, dependent on schedules, time of year, number of guests, and suitability for the role.


 

Kayak Repair and Maintenance

Our kayak fleet includes over 120 boats and hundreds of pieces of associated equipment (PFDs, paddles, throw bags, etc) that we pride ourselves on being of high quality and under regular maintenance. Our Kayak Repair and Maintenance positions, in addition to some regular General Operations duties, is focused primarily on assessing and maintaining our fleet of kayaks and equipment so that they are always in top condition and ready to go out on the water.

During our peak season in July and August, we often have 25 or more rental kayaks returning and launching every day, in addition to our regular tours and lessons. Great organizational skills are required to inspect and keep on top of minor repairs so that we can keep our fleet at max capacity throughout the busy season.

General maintenance duties include gel coat repairs, replacing buckles and hatch covers, rudder cables and foot pedal adjustment and repair, some basic fibreglass repair, bulkhead replacements, and many other assorted repairs to kayaks, equipment, and infrastructure at our launch site.

Resort Head and Assistant Cooks 

Our eco-resort on Kinghorn Island in Desolation Sound employs 2 Head Cooks each season that work on a rotational basis from late May-September. Despite our remote, off-grid location, Cabana Desolation Eco Resort has a fully stocked commercial kitchen capable of preparing meals for 12 people or more, complete with propane refrigerator and stove, commercial sink, and solar powered power outlets and LED lighting. The natural cedar kitchen and dining area at Cabana Desolation, nestled amongst the trees on our uninhabited island is a far cry from traditional commercial kitchens! 

At Cabana Desolation Eco Resort we focus on creating healthy, vibrant, creative meals from fresh and locally sourced ingredients. We operate from a set-menu that is carefully created and tweaked each season, which also leaves room for personal creativity and variety. Almost everything is created from scratch on site, and the majority of our ingredients are purchased by the head cook prior to each trip and transported to Kinghorn Island on our company motor vessel with our staff changeovers.

In addition to the Head Cooks we also employ a resort Assistant Cook during the season. This position would be perfect for an individual that may be looking to move into a Head Cook position down the line. As with all Eco Resort staff, our cooks also play an important role in the smooth day to day operations of the resort, including guest support and service, sweeping of the boardwalks, cleaning bathrooms, checking our water levels and solar output, morning coffee service, and more.

These roles encompass more than simply creating good food however, and due to the design and ambiance of our resort our cooks enjoy a far more social environment than in the average commercial kitchen, interacting with our guests daily and adding a personal touch to the service and experience that our guests enjoy. As such, a high level of interpersonal communication skills are absolutely necessary for these positions.

Cooks work on a rotational basis, with 4 or 5 days on at the resort, followed by another 4 or 5 days off. While food and accommodation is obviously included during these work days, you will need to find your own personal accommodation in the Powell River area for your days off.

 

Guiding Positions

Lead Multi Day Guides

Lead Guides at PRSK predominantly lead our multi-day camping trips into Desolation Sound, as well as lead multi-day resort based trips from Cabana Desolation Eco Resort. Our multi-day trips into Desolation Sound are from 3 days in length up to 7 day trips that loop around the Redonda Islands north of Desolation Sound and visit areas such as Toba Inlet and Teakerne Arm Provincial Marine Park. By far, however, the majority of our multi-day trips are 4 or 5 days in length.

PRSK has multiple tenured sites in and around the Desolation Sound area that our tours can use exclusively, which greatly eases some of the more pressing concerns of guides in this area: namely where to eat and sleep! These sites are located so as to avoid some of the busier and more popular areas of the marine park during peak season and give our guests (and guides) a far more stress-free experience.

Lead guides are required to buy, plan and prepare all meals for the duration of their camping tours. During the season, especially during the busier months of July and August, we consistently reach capacity on our multi-day tours (10 guests, 2 guides).

When guiding from Cabana Desolation Eco Resort, we have dedicated cooks on site that plan and prepare all the meals. Tours to our resort use the facility (and all its comforts) as a base, and radiate out each day in a different direction to explore Desolation Sound, before returning to the resort in the afternoon. The first and final days of these tours are spent paddling to and from our resort and our office in Okeover Inlet. 

Lead Guides with PRSK are required to be members of the Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC and have completed a Level Two Guides Exam with SKGABC at a minimum.

Assistant Multi-Day Guides (AOG)

Assistant Multi-Day Guides do a wide variety of guiding with PRSK. Primarily you will assist our Lead Multi-Day Guides on camping tours into Desolation Sound, but will also potentially have the opportunity to assist larger groups to our eco-resort and also lead and assist day trips from our mainland locations in Lund and Okeover Inlet throughout the season.

Assistant guides on camping tours do a variety of jobs, from assisting with food preparation and cleaning up each meal, to looking after guests' needs and safety on and off-water, to preparing and cleaning gear and equipment before and after the tour under the supervision of the lead guide.

The AOG positions with PRSK are often filled by people that are looking to advance in the outdoor tourism industry and offers great experience for those looking to sit their Level Two lead guide exam in the future. Many of our Lead Multi-Day Guides have worked for PRSK in previous years as AOGs and made the step up to lead after a season or two of experience!

Assistant Multi-Day Guides with PRSK are required to be members of the SKGABC and have completed an Assistant Overnight Guide Exam with SKGABC at a minimum.

Day Guides

Day Guides lead and assist our Day Tour programs from our two waterfront locations in Okeover Inlet and Lund. These tours are either 3 or 7 hours in length and explore such varied ecosystems as Desolation Sound Marine Park, Copeland Islands Marine Park, and Savary Island in the northern Strait of Georgia. We also run 7 hour combo kayak and snorkel tours in the protected waters of Malaspina Inlet, which are very popular with both guests and guides alike!

Apart from the actual guiding, day guides are required to plan and prepare a fresh, creative lunch for all our guests for the majority of our day tours, as well as prepare for and clean equipment after the tour has concluded.

Day guiding is a great way to 'test the water' in the outdoor tourism industry and gain valuable experience needed to move up to overnight guiding in future seasons. Many of our Day Guides combine this work with the General Operations position to maximize their work during the season as well as gain insight into the inner workings of a busy Sea Kayak touring and rental company.

Day Guides with PRSK are required to be members of the SKGABC and have completed a Day Guide Exam with SKGABC at a minimum.

 

Assets for Employment

Any tourism operation must impress the customer to be successful. This must happen at any level of the operation: from office staff right through to the guides and owners.

Here are a few general qualities we look for in our employees:

  • Charismatic: more concerned with making others feel good.
  • Character: strong ethics and big on the inside.
  • Communication: take something complicated and make it simple.
  • Laughter: a great sense of humour is essential to a great season.
  • A good fit with Powell River Sea Kayak's "Company Culture".

More specifically, here are a few key things we look for in our guides:

  • Knowledge of intertidal marine life
  • Captivating interpretation techniques
  • Storytelling ability
  • Self-starting and motivated
  • Outdoor "chef" abilities
  • Leadership qualities
  • Knowledge! (history, First Nations, flora, fauna, folklore, kayaks, kayaking, etc.).
  • Above all, a willingness to learn and improve their knowledge, confidence, and skills every day to grow as guides and individuals within the outdoor community.

Pay

At Powell River Sea Kayak Ltd., we are successful. This is evident in the response from our guests, from repeat business and from word of mouth reservations. To achieve this, we seek the best out of each member of our team. We believe rewards come in the form of a fun and dynamic environment to work in. However, we also believe that to attract high quality staff, we must also pay a top industry wage. As an example, our lead guides on multi-day tours earn as much as $300 per day plus gratuities.

Qualifications

Typical guide qualifications include:

  • Wilderness First Aid (80+ hours for lead)
  • CPR level C
  • Restricted Marine Operators License
  • Guide Certification and suitable experience
  • Applicable education and experience

Typical qualifications for office staff include:

  • Basic sea kayaking experience (not necessary and is provided for those with little or no kayaking experience)
  • Suitable for those in post secondary programs (ie: university, college or outdoor program)

​​Typical qualifications for Repair Staff position include:

  • Basic knowledge and skill with a variety of tools
  • Gel coat repair
  • Fibgrelass repair
  • Some construction knowledge (basic maintenance related)
  • Organizational skills

 

To Apply

Please email your resume and a cover letter to: info@bcseakayak.com.
Attention: Adam Vallance