The Bicycle Industry Jobs Marketplace

Sea Kayaking Guides and Instructors


Posted by Portland Paddle on 02/10/2023

Job Basics

Industry Sector: Outdoor, WaterSports

Job Categories: Guide (raft,fish,bike hunt,horse etc.), Instructor Including Ski & Patrol, Operations, Outdoor Education, Outfitter- Adventure Travel Staff

Company Type: Recreation, Service

State: ME

City: Portland

Country: United States

Required Experience: 1 - 3 years

Business Phone: 207-370-9730

Job Type: Seasonal Full Time

Salary: Starting at $17/hour plus gratuities

Required to Relocate:

Required to Travel:

Employee May Telecommute: No

Job Seeker Must Live Within:

Job Description & Requirements

Sea Kayak Guide

Portland Paddle is seeking sea kayaking guides and instructors to lead kayak tours on Casco Bay, in Portland, Maine. Our trips range from 2-hour Sunset Tours to multi-day expeditions on the Maine Island Trail. We also offer lessons for all skill levels and stand-up paddling tours. This is a seasonal position that runs from June through August, with optional part-time work possible in May and September. Candidates able to work 30+ hours a week will be prioritized, but we encourage experienced candidates with more limited availability to apply. Our team includes many part-time guides.

There’s a lot to love about this job: Being part of a fun and friendly team of skilled outdoors people; working outdoors and on the water on the Maine coast; developing outdoor leadership and paddling skills; and giving people of all backgrounds ocean adventures that they’ll love and remember forever.


Anyone who leads kayaking trips in Maine must be licensed as a guide through the state’s guide program. Unless you already have a Maine Sea Kayak Guide license, you must pass the guide exam in order to work for Portland Paddle as a guide. To do this you will need to take our guide training course over two weekends during mid May, take a criminal background check through the state, apply to take the guide exam, pass the exam and then pay the fees required to get the license. You can expect to pay around $275 in fees to the state government during this process; Portland Paddle will reimburse you for these fees if we hire you as a guide and you work through the summer.

First-year guides at Portland Paddle typically work a mix of “shore staff” shifts and on-water guiding shifts. If somebody hired to guide is not able to get licensed by the start of our season they can work onshore until they finish the process. And all new guides must complete a process of “shadowing” more experienced guides before leading trips on their own.

If you are interested in working with us but do not have your guide licence please check out one of our other job opportunities!


  • Sea kayaking experience, and competency with basic paddling skills
  • Outdoor leadership experience
  • Friendly and enthusiastic about giving people of all backgrounds kayaking experiences
  • Safety-conscious and proficient at assessing risks
  • First Aid and CPR certification (can complete after hiring)
  • Maine Sea Kayak Guide license (can get licensed after hiring)
  • American Canoe Association instructor certification not required for core guide position, but is a major plus. (All guides who teach our lessons are ACA-certified)


  • Starting at $17/hour for licensed guides after completing a process of “shadowing” more experienced guides ($15/hour while shadowing)
  • Gratuities (often substantial)
  • Guides also benefit from prodeals on outdoor gear, free use of sea kayaks and stand-up paddleboards and opportunities for free or discounted training.

About Portland Paddle

Portland Paddle offers sea kayaking expeditions, day trips instruction and rentals on the Maine coast, as well as stand-up paddling tours and rentals. We are a seasonal business with our main site beside the shoreline of Casco Bay in Portland, Maine. 

Our staff includes more than a dozen licensed sea kayak guides and ACA-certified instructors, as well as many "shore staff" who support our operations working on land.