Partnership on Kenai River guide education

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Kenai personnel partnered with the State of Alaska and the Kenai River Professional Guides Association ahead of season to provide instruction on regulatory requirements at the Kenai River Guides Academy on December 17.

The Coast Guard classes cover safety and manning requirements applicable to these operations as well as drug and alcohol testing requirements, safe boating, and licensing. Additionally they address the upcoming Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) requirements that will affect the guides because they are Coast Guard licensed mariners.

The guides are part of a group of individuals who operate or are interested in operating passenger-for-hire vessels in the Southcentral Alaska area.

“It provides us an interface off the river to work with the guides and answer their questions in a relaxed environment,” said Chief Warrant Officer Michael Watson, Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Kenai.

In January 2004, with more than 500 guides operating in the area, a need for a certification program for Kenai River fishing guides was identified. The Alaska State Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation (DPOR), Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), KRPGA and Kenai Peninsula College (KPC), a community campus of the University of Alaska Anchorage, collaborated in creating the Kenai River Guide Academy. The first classes were held in 2006 after the program was added to the State Park Regulations that were signed by Lt. Governor Loren Leman.

The Coast Guard was invited to participate and asked to address the regulatory issues of mandatory drug and alcohol testing and licensing.

“Since 2006 our role has morphed to include the boating safety piece, TWIC and any other regulatory issues,” said Watson. “We also sit on the panel for the oral boards that the guides take at the end of the course.”

The classes are for those new to the profession as well as experienced guides. It is a one week course that is required prior to the individual receiving their annual permit to operate on the river from the State. About 10 classes are held each year.

Seats are still available for classes convening on February and March 16, 2009.

For more information on the academy, class dates and registration please visit:

Kenai River Guides Academy –

For more information on regulatory issues and licensing please contact:

Marine Safety Detachment Kenai – (907) 283 3292
Coast Guard Regional Exam Center – (907) 271 6736

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