Company Policies – Private Page

This page updated on 1.26.2023

Certifications, Scheduling & Payroll

Certifications & Documents

At the beginning of the season each employee will be sent a digital onboarding packet featuring the required documents. During this onboarding process, copies of all current certification cards will be uploaded (front and back if applicable) into Gusto  by the employee prior to being scheduled to work. All employees must have these current certifications & documents as applicable.

  • All Employees
    • I-9 Form and valid I-9 documents 
    • W4
    • Employee wage notice acknowledgment 
    • Harassment policy
    • Company policy acknowledgement
    • Camping Form
  • Guides
    • El Dorado County river etiquette standards acknowledgement form 
    • Driver’s license
    • In-person advanced first aid certification such as:
      • Wilderness first aid
      • Wilderness first responder
      • EMT
    • In-person CPR certification
    • California food handler’s certification
    • In order to trip lead, guides must have the following:
      • Swiftwater rescue certification
  • Commercial Shuttle Drivers
    • Commercial driver’s license 
      • Passenger endorsement required
      • Air brake endorsement preferred
    • Medical Examiner’s Certificate
    • Company drug & alcohol testing policy acknowledgement (for new employees only)
    • Release of Information Form — 49 CFR Part 40 Drug and Alcohol Testing (for new employees only)



Employees will fill out an availability calendar at the beginning of the season with: 

  • at least 1 mandatory regular day off each week for full time employees
  • no more than 10 days of vacation time between Memorial Day Weekend and Labor Day Weekend
  • Vacation days are on a first come first serve basis with 4 employees allowed on vacation per day

Any additional time off must be submitted at least 2 weeks in advance via email to your regional manager. Any requests made with less than 2 weeks advance notice may or may not be approved depending on business levels and extenuating circumstances. We will do our best to accommodate time off requests.

Checking the Schedule

All scheduling will be reflected at Scheduling is handled by the regional manager.  It is each employee’s responsibility to gain familiarity with Arctic. 

It is the employee’s responsibility to check their schedule after 5pm the night before any days they have listed as available to work and be on time for all scheduled shifts.

Employee Meet Times

The employee meet time can be found for the scheduled task in the ‘My Schedule’ report.

  • Guide Meet Times

The employee meet time listed for river trips is the time to be at the boat deck, or in the kitchen, depending on the trip type. Pre-packing your trip the night before is at the trip leader’s discretion and will not be listed on your schedule. 

  • Driver & Gear Shuttle Meet Times – Please note if you’re scheduled for a drop off or pick up 

    • Drop off time – the time you should leave the bus yard after a thorough vehicle inspection.
    • Pick up time – the time you should be at the take out location of the trip you are picking up.

Time Cards & Payroll

Employee pay days are every other Friday of each month. Time cards through Gusto are due the last day of the pay period, every other Sunday, by 5 PM. Any discrepancies in your time card must be addressed with your regional manager before this deadline by email. It is your responsibility to keep track of all trips and work done. Your silence is your consent that your Gusto time card and Arctic schedule reflects the actual work performed during that pay period. 

Pay codes, payroll dates and additional information can be found at:

Time Cards

  • It is the employee’s responsibility to record worked hours for any hourly work done in Gusto
    • Hourly tasks include the following 
      • Office 
      • Camp Work 
      • Gear Shuttle 
      • Commissary 
      • Jet Ski 
  • All other trip based work will be transferred directly  from Arctic to Gusto

Employee Responsibilities

General Employee Responsibilities

  • All employees should gain familiarity with using both Arctic Reservations and Gusto digital platforms. 
  • The utilization of the camp facilities is limited to use during scheduled trips only. The camp is not to be used for private parties, functions or camping unless otherwise cleared with management. 
  • Avoid public arguments between staff members or guests and staff. All conflicts should be handled privately and in a professional manner. If a conflict cannot be resolved, it should be taken directly to the regional manager or trip leader for discussion. 
  • If there are adverse conditions (low water, inclement weather, traffic, etc.), keep a positive attitude. Remember that our guests usually don’t know that the conditions are poor unless you tell them. If you’re having fun, they’re having fun.
  • Relationships with other companies, both on and off the river, should be handled in a professional manner. Any difficulties should be brought to the attention of the general manager and trip leader to be dealt with at a management level. 
  • Employees will occasionally be scheduled for camp work. Camp work is necessary to ensure smooth operation during trips, to keep our outposts operational and looking good on all guest facing fronts. All camp work must first be approved by a manager and will be scheduled. 
  • Please notify management of any problems involving our restrooms, showers, or sinks. It is our employees’ responsibility to routinely check the restrooms for necessary clean up or toilet maintenance. We strive to always impart a good impression of cleanliness and hygiene to our guests. 
  • Please respect our commissary manager and staff. They work very hard to ensure that good quality food is served on every trip. Kindly bring it to their attention via trip reports if anything was missing, spoiled, short, or can be improved. Proper communication is key for necessary improvement. Please make sure that ALL coolers and company water containers are taken out of the boats and vehicles and are placed with all other coolers needing to be cleaned in the commissary or walk-in. 

Vehicle Responsibilities

  • Do not stand on any parts of vehicles other than roof racks, ladders, or bumpers. 
  • If gear is loaded inside a vehicle, the aisles and exits must not be blocked.
  • Company vehicles are for business use only; unauthorized use of vehicles may be grounds for immediate dismissal. 
  • Please make sure trash, food, and drink is removed from the inside of the vehicles after each use. Everyone is responsible for both passenger and equipment vehicle cleanliness.
  • Please notify the operations manager immediately of any suspicious vehicle problems. Do not wait until the vehicle breaks down.
  • Check the gas gauge BEFORE and AFTER using all vehicles. Refuel as needed using the company credit card. 

Guide Responsibilities

  • All guides should gain familiarity with using the Satellite communication device in case of an emergency.
  • Proper river etiquette must be followed at all times. Keep our groups of boats close together, follow designated order, follow Quiet Zone guidelines, do not trespass on private land except in the case of an emergency, etc. 
  • Be aware of Tributary company boats in front and behind you in your group, and be prepared to support them in case of emergency. If you lose sight of a boat behind you, wait for them. The sweep boat must remain at the end of the group, no exceptions. 
  • Guides are ultimately responsible for the safety of their crew at all times – please make decisions accordingly. 
  • Water Fights: Be safe and use common sense; no fights while in rapids; no boarding of boats; respect a boat that chooses to remain dry. 
  • Guests are not allowed to jump into the water from any high places or to dive into the water head first from any location. 
  • Identify non-swimmers and/or those with special medical conditions to guide staff so that adequate precautions can be taken.
  • Intentional swimming of rapids by guests will be at the discretion of the trip leader on a per trip basis. 
  • Identify and make provisions for specific hazards on any river (i.e. providing a rescuer with a throw-bag downstream from a difficult rapid). 
  • Guests are not allowed to consume alcoholic beverages or illicit drugs during the trip. If any participant seems impaired, you are required to keep them off the water. 
  • Lead through example – i.e. follow the same safety rules we give our guests such as wearing protective footwear, helmets, jackets, etc. 
  • Guests are not permitted to ‘ride the bull’ in Class III or above whitewater.
  • Guides should always have their own safety gear as a backup for any river emergency. This includes a sturdy river knife, a whistle, cam straps, locking carabiners, and any other emergency or river equipment they would like to take that can be safely carried in a small pelican box or dry bag (i.e. Band-Aids, tampons, non-aspirin pain reliever, guests’ medications, epi-pen, frosting, etc.).
  • For all meals that need to be taken with you downriver, please replace knives in a safe manner so that the commissary staff is aware of it being there (i.e. in a Ziploc, wrapped in foil or cardboard, or in a Tupperware container). Repack food in a way to reduce waste and reduce spoilage. 
  • Photography: Our guest’s photos will be handled by Hot Shot Imaging on the American forks, Tributary Whitewater Tours on the Truckee / Deschutes and Serendipity Snapshots on the Trinity. Let our guests know that they do not have to worry about numbers or letters and to just enjoy the ride. After the trip they can access their photos through our website. 
  • Please help advertise Tributary Whitewater Tours trips by telling guests about other river trips that we offer. Please ask guests to drop us an email at concerning comments that they may have about our trips. Any positive feedback will be encouraged through Yelp, Trip Advisor, Facebook, etc. 
  • Final determination of a guide’s readiness for a river section will be the judgment of a head guide designated by the training manager during a check-off run. See TWT Standard Operating Procedures document for a list of check off procedures.
  • Hold each other accountable at the end of each trip debrief to fill out all necessary items including trip reports, trip tickets, & time cards. 

Equipment Responsibilities

  • Keep tablets, Satellite devices, etc. in the appropriate storage containers, dust free, water free and charged. Report malfunction or damage immediately to the trip leader or operations manager.
  • Care of rafting equipment: treat it as your own! Wash and bleed boats at take-out, cool tubes while tied up, don’t throw paddles, lay boats down gently, do not drag boats, always carry them – use common sense. 
  • If your boat needs repair, have the trip leader record the damage into the trip report, roll and clearly tag the boat with the damage. Make arrangements with the gear manager for needed repairs.  
  • Equipment must be well secured to trailers and vans for transport: don’t assume someone else has checked. All equipment must be removed from the beach at put-in and take-out.
  • Please arrange equipment neatly in the storage facility at the end of each trip. Make sure jackets are allowed to air dry. All boats and equipment are to be put away at the end of each trip unless it is packed for the next day or another trip. 
  • Zip ties are used to ‘seal’ first aid kits. If the zip tie is broken the trip leader must ensure the kit is inspected, restocked and re zip tied after the trip. Additionally, an incident report must be filled out and submitted with trip paperwork. Repair kits must always be checked and restocked before and after each day on the river. If you took something out of it that day, make sure that you replace it. 
  • All camping items, including sleeping pads, tents, etc. are for guest use only. These camping items are not to be borrowed by employees, or guests of any employees, at any time. Permission from a manager to borrow these items on a day to day basis only will be the only exception to this rule. Sleeping pads are never to be used on the river as a watercraft at any time. 

Trip Leader Responsibilities: 

All trip leaders must complete the following tasks to ensure that you will be compensated for the additional pay for each trip. It is your responsibility as the trip leader that all tasks are either done by you or delegated accordingly to the other guides to ensure a perfect trip. The following tasks and responsibilities necessary for each trip include: 

  • Meet with your guides at the beginning of the trip to inform them of expected put-in times, take-out times, equipment necessary for packing and unloading, medical conditions of our guests, specific take-out procedures, expected pace for the trip, assigned sweep boat, etc. 
  • If an equipment manager is designated for a trip of 5 boats or more, it must be noted on the trip report for that person to receive additional payment. 
  • Arrive at the guest meeting location :30 before official guest meet time. Greet and check in all guests and make sure that every guest has read and completed their waiver. Please note that we need one waiver per participant (not one signature/waiver per household). Try and have the guests fill out their digital waiver on Arctic, before using paper, if they haven’t completed one before the official guest meet time. 
  • The trip leader is required to ride in the vehicle with the guests to put in and take out. If there are more than one vehicle with guests, assign another guide to ride in that vehicle. Guides riding in ‘people movers’ should engage with the guests and give a thorough thank you speech at the end of the trip. 
  • Make sure that every guest has been given a proper and thorough safety talk before leaving the put in. 
  • If there is an injury during the trip an incident report must be filled out and submitted with trip paperwork immediately after the trip. 
  • Properly record your trip report into Arctic immediately after the trip. Fill out and submit as directed. Note any changes in groups, river sections, equipment, accidents, food, put-in locations, take-out locations, etc. If you have any questions, please ask before submitting the trip report as it can only be submitted once. 
  • Fill out a trip ticket (if necessary) for every trip and submit in the proper locations.
  • Trip reports that haven’t been filled out and trip tickets that haven’t been submitted by 3 days after the last day of the trip will forfeit your trip leader pay.
  • Make sure that the kitchen gets cleaned after every use and that dishes are put away. This includes trash and recycling. 
  • General inspection of cleanliness of camp, boat shed, boat deck, and bathrooms. 
  • Debrief with guides at the end of each trip to discuss the good and any room for improvement. Invite a manager to attend if necessary.  

Driver Responsibilities

  • A commercial driver’s license with a passenger endorsement is required to drive any Tributary Whitewater Tours company vehicle with guests. An air brake endorsement is required to drive any Tributary Whitewater Tours company bus with air brakes.
  • All drivers must thoroughly inspect the assigned vehicle before driving. Commercial driver’s must complete a driver log prior to driving. File completed driver log in the vehicle’s binder.
  • When assigned as trip leader, drivers are responsible for picking up water bottles (2 per van) and lunches from the office in the morning and returning them to the office at the end of the day. Additionally, these drivers are responsible for sanitizing water bottles and refilling the ice containers after each trip.
  • All drivers must empty the vehicle of extra rafting equipment into the proper storage area after each shuttle.


Injury Protocols

Report all significant injuries to the office manager or operations manager immediately and complete the proper paperwork.

Guest Injuries

No matter how minor the guest injury, it must be reported on the trip report by the trip leader for future reference. For any injury requiring access to a first aid kit an incident report form must be filled out completely and submitted to the office. 

Guide Injuries

Record the on the job injury on an incident report form and submit to a manager as soon as possible. 

Privileges & Consequences

Employee Privileges 

  • EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM: The Employee Assistance Program, provided by Canopy, is a free and confidential benefit that can assist you and your eligible family members with any personal problems, large or small. For additional information, and to access services, go to, and register as a new user or log-in. Enter Tributary Whitewater Tours as the company name when you register. Crisis Counselors are available by phone 24/7/365: call: 800-433-2320 text: 503-850-7721 or email:
  • CAMPING: Employees are allowed to live at camp during the rafting season. Campsites will be delegated by the general manager upon employee commitment for the season. Camp open and close dates will be determined on a year to year basis. Campsites are not on a first come first serve basis. Any new campsites, additions or modifications to existing campsites must have prior approval. Employees may not occupy campsites along the riverfront or visible from the riverfront. 
    • All guides living in camp or storing a vehicle or personal items full time will be charged $100 per month that they and/or their belongings are at camp. This amount will not be prorated. Fees will be collected at the end of each month. This fee will be taken out of paychecks unless other arrangements have been made in advance. 
    • All guides staying at camp, or any outpost, occasionally throughout the season will be charged $50 total for the season.
    • You are responsible for keeping your camp free of garbage and generally tidy
  • PETS: Pets are permitted at camp with prior approval from the operations manager. This privilege can be revoked at any time if the situation deems necessary. Owners are required to pick up after their dogs. Excessive barking, aggressive behavior, guest contact, biting, etc. will not be tolerated and are grounds for immediate dismissal of the animal. 
  • CERTIFICATION REIMBURSEMENTS: Employees who fulfill availability calendar commitments, and end the season in good standing, are entitled to a reimbursement of 50% of the cost of courses which allow them to stay within certification compliance. To apply for certification reimbursement employees must follow these steps before their season start date:
    • Upload a clear photo or scanned copy of the new/updated certification into your Gusto account with a visible expiration date.  Must be done within 2 weeks of course completion
    • Send an email to stating that you have done the  above and attach a receipt for the course’s cost. 
  • ADVANCED GUIDE SCHOOL: This non-mandatory training for rehires and experienced new hires is available to those employees who: 
    • Have submitted their availability calendars for the season
    • Are current (or have signed up for a future course to stay current) with all mandatory certifications
    • Have RSVP’d to the AGS invite
  • DISCOUNTS: Proform information can be accessed at
  • BOAT LENDING POLICY: Permission must be obtained from the owner, operations manager or gear manager. Equipment will only be lent to Tributary Whitewater Tours employees, and a Tributary Whitewater Tours employee must be present in each borrowed boat or vehicle at all times. Private permit regulations must be adhered to (i.e. private boater tags must be used on all rivers). The equipment must be returned no later than the morning after the completion of your trip unless special arrangements are made in advance. The person borrowing the equipment is directly responsible for the repair of any equipment that is damaged. If professional repair is necessary, the borrower is liable for the cost of that repair. If equipment is lost, an equivalent replacement must be purchased by the borrower. We are compelled to point out that this lending policy is a privilege that can be revoked if abused. 
  • TAKING FRIENDS & FAMILY RAFTING: Friends and guests must have prior approval from the operations manager to go along on a rafting trip. All waiver, equipment, and safety policies apply to these guests as well. Depending on the situation, compensation may be required. Please check with a manager well in advance. 
  • END OF SEASON PARTY / STAFF RAFTING TRIP ELIGIBILITY: End of season festivities are available to employees who are in good standing.

Expectations and Consequences 

  • Payroll: 
    • Failure to update the time card by the payroll cutoff date and time will result in a forfeit of pay. 
    • Failure to complete all trip leader tasks when assigned as trip leader will result in a forfeit of trip leader pay.
  • Please note that there are certain actions that may result in immediate termination/dismissal. These are all to be determined by the operations manager or owner. 
  • Unless otherwise noted, any violations of these company policies may result in the following penalties: 
    • First offense receives a warning.
    • Second offense is subject to a suspension.
    • Third offense is subject to termination/dismissal. 

Remember: Enjoy, learn, teach, listen, entertain, be entertained, and have fun! Tributary Whitewater is a special company, started by guides just like you, who enjoy the river, enjoy the unique people we are fortunate to share our good times with, and enjoy the very special group of employees who together form our river family. Be proud of yourselves; this organization’s reputation was built by, and is dependent upon, you. Have a great season! 

Handbook Disclaimer

The contents of this handbook serve only as guidelines and supersede any prior handbook.  Neither this handbook, nor any other policy or practice, creates an employment contract, or an implied or express promise of continued employment with the Company.  Employment with Tributary Whitewater Tours LLC is “AT-WILL.” This means employees or Tributary Whitewater Tours LLC may terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any reason, with or without cause or advance notice. As an at-will employee, it is not guaranteed, in any manner, that you will be employed with Tributary Whitewater Tours LLC for any set period of time. 

The Company reserves the right to amend, interpret, modify or terminate any of its employee benefits programs without prior notice to the extent allowed by law.  

The Company also has the right, with or without notice, in an individual case or generally, to change any of the policies in this handbook, or any of its guidelines, policies, practices, working conditions or benefits at any time.  No one is authorized to provide any employee with an employment contract or special arrangement concerning terms or conditions of employment unless the contract or arrangement is in writing and signed by the president and the employee. 

Changes in Policy

Change at Tributary Whitewater Tours LLC is inevitable. Therefore, we expressly reserve the right to interpret, modify, suspend, cancel, or dispute, with or without notice, all or any part of our policies, procedures, and benefits at any time with or without prior notice. Changes will be effective on the dates determined by Tributary Whitewater Tours LLC, and after those dates all superseded policies will be null and void.

No individual supervisor or manager has the authority to alter the foregoing. Any employee who is unclear on any policy or procedure should consult a supervisor or the Management Team.