Fun and Friendly Employees Wanted

Southeast Sea Kayaks is dedicated to providing exceptional sea kayaking tours to visitors to Ketchikan, Alaska. Our team is a huge part of creating incredible experiences for guests. Most of our employees are local to the Ketchikan area but we do have several openings for people interested in coming to Ketchikan for the summer. We are committed to employing people with a passion for sea kayaking and for Southeast Alaska's beautiful natural environment. For the 2018 season, we are looking for enthusiastic, physically fit, motivated people who are committed to our goal of providing every one of our clients with an amazing experience.

Unfortunately we cannot sponsor work visas: all applicants must be US citizens or legally able to work in the USA. 


  • Full or Part time Lead Sea Kayak Guide for August - September 2018
  • USCG 6 Pack (or higher) Licensed Captains - part time (2-3 days per week) ASAP - mid September

How to Apply

Please read over our website to learn about our tours and read the employment information below which should answer most questions about salary, housing, travel, uniforms etc. If you are genuinely interested, are willing to work for the wages listed and meet the requirements, please email us at: and include:

  • Resume
  • Cover letter explaining your relevant experience and why you would like to work for Southeast Sea Kayaks
  • Position for which you are applying and dates you are available to work for the season
  • Current photo (optional but useful)
  • If you are shortlisted for a position we will ask for 3 employment references (or personal references if this is your first job)

Due to the high volume of applications that we receive for a very small number of positions, we may not respond to incomplete applications. Southeast Sea Kayaks is an equal opportunity employer.

2010 Guides ready for dry-suit training

Why Work for Us?

There are literally hundreds of companies that hire seasonal workers so why choose to apply to Southeast Sea Kayaks? Alaska is a truly special place and we are a unique company. Many of our employees become part of our family and we stay in touch for years to come. For an insider's perspective on living in Ketchikan and working for Southeast Sea Kayaks, please check out our 2010 - 13 Office Manager, Susan Shain's Travel Junkette Blog Post  "A Day in My Life in Ketchikan" or our guest post by 2014 office manager, Brittany, "Living the Seasonal Life in Ketchikan."

As a small company, we offer many benefits that larger companies cannot. Our employees can use our kayaks and equipment on their days off and we encourage them to take kayak camping trips and to see the best of our local area. Employees can also purchase gear and clothing at discounted rates through our kayak pro-deals. Did we mention that you get paid to kayak in Alaska? If you love to kayak and be outdoors and enjoy sharing that with others then please read on…

Guides deckhand on the boat to Orcas Cove

Southeast Sea Kayaks' Job Descriptions & Requirements

Sea Kayak Guides  

Sea kayak guides will lead the Ketchikan Kayak and Orcas Cove tours (see our half day tour descriptions). Being a sea kayak guide is fun and hard work. Guides begin very early in the morning (6am - 7:30am is typical) and may work well into the evening. Our schedule depends on our bookings: on busy days guides must be able to paddle three trips but there are also quiet days where guides will paddle only one trip. Guides may spend one day per week working in the office or on board one of our boats. Guides give paddling instruction, deckhand on the vessels, lead safe tours according company guidelines and provide an interesting and informative narrative. Guides set up and put away kayaks for each tour. Guides will also help with maintenance projects. In addition to the duties listed above for day tour guides. Guides with appropriate experience may also work as part of a team to teach kids aged between 10 and 18yrs kayaking and outdoor skills. Kayak Camp instructors must have experience working with kids in an outdoor setting and be able to work without supervision. 

First year lead sea kayak guides begin at $11 per hour plus tips (which can be a significant source of income) and earn a $1.50 per hour worked end of season bonus.      

Part Time Kayak Guide Requirements  
Part time sea kayak guides must be at least 18 years old (or have worked a previous summer with us). Part time guides have the same duties, requirements and pay rate as full time kayak guides. Part time guides must be available to work on Sundays and one other day each week. Part time guides can commit to a schedule and season dates and be eligible for an end of season bonus. 

Requirements for Full and Part Time Kayak Guides:

Guides should have some experience kayaking and excellent interpersonal skills.

  • Kayaking experience
  • Participate in a DOT pre-employment and random drug testing program
  • At least 18 yrs old or high school graduate
  • Able to work Sundays
  • Strong communication and leadership skills
  • Enjoy working with people
  • Physically fit.
  • Lift at least 40 lbs unassisted
  • First Aid/CPR certified
  • Applicants with valid US driver's license are preferred.

Being a sea kayak guide is a physically demanding job. Guides need to be able to paddle up to 7 hours per day, sometimes in double or triple kayaks with weaker paddlers; towing other kayaks; or in windy conditions. The position is not recommended for anyone with limited upper body strength or back problems.

Training for Full and Part Time Kayak Guides: Training consists of learning sea kayak skills, self and assisted rescues, cold water survival skills, towing, and leadership skills. We also spend time learning about the local area and ecology and training in our retail store operations. There is a lot of homework in the first few weeks for guides who are new to the area as there is a great deal of information to learn. Guides must pass a kayaking skills test and a written test at the end of the training. All training is paid. Guides who are unable to perform a cowboy self rescue at the beginning of training or who cannot pass the skills test at the end of the training period will not be employed for the season. Much of our training program is conducted on the ocean in kayaks and dry-suits.  Training, like sea kayaking, is physically demanding: guide applicants must be in excellent physical condition and should know how to swim.  

Guides will train in dry-suits in the ocean learning self-rescue, doubles rescues and essential kayaking skills.

USCG Licensed Boat Captain - Full or Part Time

Captains will drive our outboard engine, 22 & 26 foot Hewescrafts for the Orcas Cove tour. In addition to driving and maintaining the vessels, Captains also meet guests at the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau, help with outfitting guests, and give a narrative on the boat journey to and from Orcas Cove. 

Requirements: USCG 6 pack license or higher. Participate in DOT drug test program. Clean driving record. Full time applicants must be available to work at least mid May through September 9th. Part time applicants should be available to work at least 2 days per week on a regular basis during the busy months June - September. Captains are paid an hourly rate DOE plus tip split and a $1.50 per hour worked end of season bonus.     

Mothership Host/Deckhand - Full or Part Time

Our Mothership, Sea Spree, is a key part of the Orcas Cove tour. We seek a friendly, guest service oriented, nautical person to help drive out the mothership each day; prepare smoked salmon snacks for paddlers; assist kayak guides loading and unloading customers and keep anchor watch. This position is ideal for retired boat captains, anyone with boating experience or people looking to accrue sea time for their USCG license.

Requirements: Must be at least 18 years old, have experience working on board boats, be punctual, attentive to detail and enjoy working with people. Guest service and food preparation experience are also helpful. Sea Spree hosts must be able to start as early as 5:45am on most days. This position can be four ten hour shifts for a full time employee. Sea Spree hosts begin at $13 per hour plus tip splits and a $1.50 per hour worked end of season bonus.

Part Time Office Assistant

Responsible for the day to day running of the office including answering phones, taking reservations, selling retail items at the POS, book keeping, meeting and outfitting tour participants and other duties as assigned. We have an opening for a part time office assistant to work 2 - 3 days per week in the office and as a dock representative.

Requirements: We are seeking a friendly, detail oriented person who has a good understanding of computers and can work in a fast paced customer service environment. Part time office assistants start at $12 per hour (or more DOE) with a $1.50 per hour worked end of season bonus.

More About Employment at Southeast Sea Kayaks

Guides need good rain gear and lots of non-cotton clothing.

Season and Availability

Our season runs May- September each year. We have positions available for the entire season and for the busy months of June, July and August. 


All employees who work their agreed schedule through their agreed date are paid a bonus of $1.50 per hour worked during the season.

Budgeting for Seasonal Employment

Working a summer in Alaska is an incredible experience and has a value far beyond the monetary compensation but it is important to budget for the summer. Before you apply with us, please consider whether you can afford transportation costs, rent, purchasing appropriate clothing and to cover your personal expenses during the season. We do not over-hire, so if you commit to us for the season you should expect to be working full time or in your full capacity part time. The work is seasonal, however, there are fewer hours in the beginning and end of the season and more hours in the middle. Boat Captains, Lead Sea Kayak Guides and Office Managers must understand that due to the seasonal nature of the business, we are unable to give extra time off during the short summer season. Tips are an excellent source of income but should not be relied upon to meet basic expenses as they vary from guide to guide and day to day.


Ketchikan is in the heart of a rain forest and gets about 164 inches of rain each year. We kayak rain or shine so guides should be ready to work in cold, rainy conditions.

Pre-Employment and Random Drug Testing Program

Our kayak guides work aboard our vessels and are required by the US Coastguard to participate in a DOT drug testing program. All employees will be required to submit to a pre-employment drug test, post accident drug testing and participate in a random screening program.

Uniforms, Dress Code and Gear Requirements

Looking for energetic people with great smiles!

Southeast Sea Kayaks provides guides with Kokatat life vests and Werner paddles and all paddling equipment and kayaks. Uniforms are also provided and a dress code and grooming standards are enforced. Guides provide their own khaki pants and shorts, capilene or polypropylene thermals, raingear and waterproof shoes. All these items are essential for working in Southeast Alaska's rainy environment and having them is not optional. Many guide candidates will already possess suitable attire but if you do not already own a good quality rain or paddling jacket and pants, please consider the cost of purchasing these items (about $300 for rain gear, layers and boots) when you consider employment with us.

Transportation to Ketchikan, Alaska

Southeast Sea Kayaks does not provide transportation to Alaska so please consider the cost of transportation to Ketchikan before applying for a position. Ketchikan is the southernmost town in Alaska and is located on an island that is accessible only by plane or boat. Alaska Airlines flies to Ketchikan from Seattle. Vehicles (and people) may be transported on the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry System. Ferries depart from Bellingham, Washington or Prince Rupert, B.C.


Employees may choose to find their own accommodations in Ketchikan or to live in Southeast Sea Kayaks' employee housing. Our housing is a share apartment located about 2 miles from our office. The apartment has a parking space for those who wish to bring cars and is near the bus route. We recommend bringing or purchasing a bicycle if you do not plan to bring a car. Employees in our housing split the rent: the exact cost per month depends on how many employees live in the house. Employees with their own room can expect to pay $550 - 600 per month, those who share rooms should expect to pay $350 - 400 per month. Employees who choose to live in employee housing must sign a housing contract at the beginning of the season. We cannot provide housing for part time employees; for people wishing to bring pets or for friends or family members who are not employed by Southeast Sea Kayaks. 

2012 Guides on the floating office.

Looking for More Information?

Email us any time with questions. Learn more About Us or see what has been happening at Southeast Sea Kayaks on our Blog.