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Comprehensive Guide Course

A 6-day intensive course aimed at those looking to gain the foundation skills and knowledge for guiding aboard expedition cruise vessels. The Comprehensive Guide Course will lay the foundation for you to enter the industry as a safe, professional and confident guide.

Participants will gain a greater understanding of safe operating procedures and practices involved in working as an expedition guide. The aim of this course is to provide the very fountain knowledge and skills needed to operate safely on and off expedition ships.

This course might not be for you if you prefer dry feet, short days and fancy hotels!

We offer this course in both Denmark and New Zealand.

Course Content:

  • Living and Working on Ships

  • Navigation

  • Communication 

  • Working with Small Boast/Zodiacs

  • Driving Small Boats/Zodiacs

  • Online pre-course component 


60 hours of contact time during the course + 10 hours of self-directed learning pre-course

Language: English Proficient 

Age: 18+

Previous experience: None required

Who is the course for?:

Seasoned guides already working on ships who would like to train and potentially prepare for PTGA assessments and those completely new to the industry.

The course is designed for anyone looking to become more skilled and confident within expedition guiding.

Minimum: 4 participants

Maximum: 6 participants

Price:  TBC

Location: New Zealand & Denmark

Course Outline


Living and working on ships

Theoretical segment based on the Online Material as well as knowledge of the "soft skills" involved in expedition guiding. Learn about the specifics of living and working aboard an expedition cruise ship. Throughout the course, we'll cover life on board as an expedition staff member, staffing structures, roles onboard, professionalism, terminology and strategies for excelling in a ship-based workplace. 


Knowing how to drive a zodiac or lead a hike doesn't matter much if you don't know where you are and where you need to go. In this part of the course, we'll learn how to use and interpret maps and charts. We'll also learn to use a handheld compass and GPS. This is all tied together with specific applications for expedition operations and professional best practices. 



Efficient and effective communication is key for any expedition professional. The aim of this element is to use handheld VHF radios and portable satellite telephones. We'll learn about the advantages and limitations of these communication tools while we become proficient with the use of handheld VHF units.




Working with Small Boats/ Zodiacs

Part of being an effective and efficient team member is working as shore staff for zodiac operations. The aim of this element is to learn about zodiac operations from a landing party perspective. Catching zodiacs, loading and unloading guests and uses of shore stranding equipment are all elements that make up this part of the course. 

Driving Small Boats/ Zodiacs

Knowing how to safely drive zodiacs is a must-have skill for any expedition professional. Becoming familiar and proficient with zodiacs takes time and practice. With this course, you'll spend your time hands-on in the zodiac as you learn the techniques and strategies required for becoming a safe and professional small boat driver.  

Segment content:


  • Learn the boat/gear

  • Troubleshooting

  • Driving techniques & gues management

  • Driver stances

  • High-speed manoeuvring

  • Low-speed manoeuvring

  • Embark/ disembark guests

  • Man overboard (MOB)

  • Passenger & self-rescue strategies

  • Anchoring techniques

  • Towing and being towed

  • Gangway operations

  • Beach approaches & departures













Pre-course Learning

We realise that participants will have a range of experience levels and come from different backgrounds. To ensure we maximise our learning during the actual course, there will be an online learning component to be completed before attending the course. We find it important to have all participants on the same page in regard to terminology and basic concepts around the course segments to maximize our time focusing on practical training and theory, best done when together.

Practical Course Information

Once you have booked

Once you have booked you will receive a welcome letter and specific pre-course information. This will include meeting times, location details, what to bring (gear list) and what to expect.

Arrival and Departure

The course itself is 6 days of training, however, in the interests of maximising course delivery and instructor contact time, participants will need to arrive the afternoon/early evening prior to the course start date, where they will be welcomed and meet our instructors. Participants will depart the morning after the final day of the course. The EGA will inform you at what time you need to arrive and depart, which will be the same time for all participants.



We offer accommodation on-site, at our training facility, referred to as the EGA-venue. You're more than welcome to organise your own accommodation and stay off-site but we do encourage participants to stay on-site and engage in the full immersive learning experience.

Certificate of Training

On completion of the Comprehensive Guide Course, you'll receive a 'Certificate of Training' from the Expedition Guide Academy outlining the course content covered. This is not only useful to you in your personal training development, but it is also useful to companies - potential employers.  

Assessment and Qualification

We highly recommend combining the Comprehensive Guide Course with the PTGA assessments as they offer industry-recognised qualifications. The assessments are programmed directly after the completion of the Comprehensive Guide Course. Please refer to the Certification with EGA page for more details.

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