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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 a solid foundation of knowledge and the 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

  • Field Navigation

  • Field 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 new to the industry.

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

Minimum: 6 participants

Maximum: 6 participants

Price:  TBC

Location: Denmark & New Zealand

Course Outline


Living and working on ships

Theoretical segment based in 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. 

Field Navigation

During the course, we'll focus on using handheld GPS units for field-based activities specific to expedition operations and professional best practices.


Field Communication

Participants can expect to use handheld VHF radios while driving zodiacs and operating in the field. We'll practice becoming proficient with the use of handheld VHF units in the field. 


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. Safely 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 & guest management

  • Safe driving 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. Expect to receive this material a month out from the course start. Please note, this is a mandatory component that must be completed prior to the course start. The EGA can not issue your training certificate without completion.  

Practical Course Information

When you have booked

Once you have booked a spot on the Comprehensive Guide Course 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. 

If you wish to book our accommodation, please choose the 9-night option if you are doing both the Comprehensive Guide Course and the Comprehensive PTGA Assessment and the 7-night option if you aren't doing the assessments.

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.  

Qualification and assessment

Head over to our Certification with EGA page for more details on this.

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