About Bob Wohlers

A Surf & Turf Adventurer


Bob is first and foremost an outdoor adventurer. Simply put, he's a "surf and turf" kind of guy. Regarding the "surf" aspect, for 32 years Bob created curricula and invented training methodologies for PADI, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors. PADI is the largest scuba diving certification agency in world, plus it is the envy of most recreational instructor organizations. He is well respected in the SCUBA industry as a training innovator. For the "turf" aspect, Bob has been an avid off-roader his entire life. He knows the "zen" and "fine art" of safe and environmentally responsible off-road driving. He is prepared to teach you in a short time, the lessons he's learned over many years through the "school of hard knocks."

Bob has overlanded across the USA, in Egypt, Israel, all over Mexico and Baja, and Belize.

Bob is a BLM and National Park Permitted Outfitter and Guide.

Professional Credentials


With a master's degree in instructional design from the California State University at Dominquez Hills and a secondary teaching credential from the University of California, Irvine, Bob knows how to efficiently and clearly transfer knowledge, proper attitudes, and skills to those wishing to learn the fine art of ecologically friendly, safety-based off-roading. Bob is an educator - not JUST a teacher. He knows HOW to put together effective, efficient, and engaging courses for important long-term memory retention.

Bob is also a Master Tread Trainer with Tread Lightly!Tread Lightly! is the nation’s only source for a full line of motorized and non-motorized outdoor ethics training and education materials. Bob will teach you to be environmentally responsible in all your outdoor adventure related activities.

Adventure Magazine Writer


For several years, Bob was the 4X4 Training Columnist for OutdoorX4 Magazine.
Check out some of Bob's online articles below. For his print articles, subscribe to OutdoorX4 Magazine HERE.

Bob's Published Books


Bob has five books completely written. His first three books are finished and available on Amazon: 1) Live Long to Wander - Basic Survival for Vehicle-Supported Adventures, 2) Raising Your 4WD Vehicle Off Road & In-Field Tire Repair, 3) The Total Approach to Getting Unstuck Off Road. Click here to see the books on Amazon.

Survival Trainer


Could you survive a backcountry vehicle problem? No? In doubt?

This is why Bob wrote:

 Live Long to Wander - Basic Survival for Vehicle-Supported Adventures.

As a survival trainer and invited survival educator at Overland Expo four years running, Bob can help you easily avoid and overcome problems should you be remote and solo and your vehicle let you down. Even if you travel with others, you still need to know how to signal for help and disinfect water in the backcountry.

How to Choose an Off-Road educator to train YOU

  • Obtain 4WD, off-road instruction from a professional EDUCATOR.
    Irrespective of the activity, someone can "know" a lot about a subject, but actually "teaching" a student - for long-term memory retention - is much different. A good course will fully involve you in the important cognitive (knowledge), affective (attitude) and motor-skill domains of the discipline. The skills taught should employ actual or "scenario-based" instruction. This form of skills training gets your mind thinking of how you would actually use the learned skills in the field.
  • Verify that the off-road instructor you decide to take a course from has actual, professional teaching credentials. The instructor trainers that teach other instructors must certainly have legitimate teaching credentials. Do they? Bob Wohlers, owner of Off-Road Safety Academy, not only has a Secondary and Post-Secondary Teaching Credentials in the state of California, but he also has a Masters Degree in Instructional Design from California State University, Dominguez Hills. Bob has spent most of his adult life designing and writing adult education in the recreational scuba diving industry. Bob is an expert at creating instructor-trainer, instructor, and student curriculum.
  • If the off-road instructor you are planning to take a course from is "certified" by some "off-road training organization," ask to see what it takes to get "certified" by that organization. Does the organization have at least a standardized and basic curriculum? And is that standardized curriculum consistent from one instructor to the next? Or, does each instructor "create" their own curriculum. The best professional instructor organizations all have minimum standards and course content their instructor-members must adhere to. Also, ask about the organization's instructor trainer qualifications and instructor curriculum. The organization may TEST them on whether they have the knowledge and skill to be an off-road driver, but how much time does the organization actually spend teaching their new instructors “HOW TO TEACH?” This point is VERY important.

    Off-Road Safety Academy's curriculum is standardized for each course and planned down to the minute. You will put your hands on the tools of the trade. You will practice with your own vehicle on varying terrain. Yes the courses are standardized, but the curriculum is flexible enough to adjust "how" the course objectives are applied, based on the vehicle you drive and the terrain in the training area. This is the art of curriculum design.

IMPORTANT NOTES ABOUT OFF-ROAD AND 4WD INSTRUCTOR CERTIFICATION: Currently, there are many fine off-road and 4WD instructors teaching in the field. Some are not so good. How do you differentiate between the good and poor instructors? Some of these instructors are "certified" through off-road and 4WD instructor organizations, some are not. Currently, none of the off-road and 4WD instructor organizations openly publish detailed specifics of their instructor training curriculum (what it takes to become a "certified" instructor), or their minimum training standards by which all of their instructor-members must teach by. Unlike other, more mature recreational instructor certification organizations (scuba diving, sky diving, pistol shooting, wilderness first aid, etc.), off-road and 4WD instructor organizations are in their infancy and fairly unorganized (especially in the USA). Internationally, there is no universal body regulating these off-road or 4WD instructor organizations. There is no national or international consensus on minimum instructor or student training standards. Further, there is no universal quality control of their member instructors ("Are their instructor-members teaching to a minimum set of standards and acting professionally in the field?"). In the recreational scuba diving industry for example, professional instructor certification organizations (such as PADI, SDI, NAUI, SSI, etc.) belong to the WRSTC - World Recreational Scuba Training Council. The council is made up of representatives of all the truly professional instructor training organizations. At this moment in history anyone can say they are an off-road or 4WD instructor, and that they are certified through “this or that” instructor organization. If you choose to be taught by an off-road or 4WD instructor that says they are "certified," ask to see their credentials for being a true educator, not just a subject-matter expert. Do they know learning and teaching theory? Ask to see the minimum standards under which instructors in the organization must teach by. Ask to see how their instructor organization "audits" their instructor member's professional behavior during a course and adherence to the organization's training standards.

For you, the prospective student wishing to enroll in an off-road or 4WD training course, the main point is this... We've all had teachers or professors that knew a lot about their subject, but couldn't teach worth a darn. Their courses "wander," and are inconsistent from one course to the next. These off-road instructors tell lots of "war stories," don't have specific course objectives, and are more focused on showing you how much "they know" rather than focusing on you and your needs. Their courses are "ego-centric." Being successful as an off-road educator has more to do with what their students say about them than an instructor saying "I'm certified through X, Y, or Z organization." Off-Road Safety Academy has a track record of satisfying corporate and government clients, and teaching recreational 4WD courses in such as way that students truly learn and remember what they are correctly taught. Even though Off-Road Safety Academy offers a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee on its courses, no one has ever asked for their money back.

  • You can learn how to safely off-road by joining an organized 4WD club, but...
    a) Be Patient (VERY patient). For the record, Off-Road Safety Academy is a strong supporter of off-road clubs. In fact, as owner of Off-Road Safety Academy, Bob Wohlers volunteers his personal time and talents to a large, statewide 4WD club in California. As a social environment, off-road clubs are wonderful. Attending club runs means that you never have to venture into the backcountry alone. This is a wonderful component of club trail rides. However, education is not the primary mission of most 4WD clubs. 4WD clubs primarily exist to organize social outings and trail rides for their members. Although some 4WD club members enjoy helping neophytes, many club members simply become frustrated with a newcomer’s lack of ability. Conservatively speaking it will probably take you 2 to 5 years of constant interaction with a social-style club to learn as much as you can in one weekend with Off-Road Safety Academy. Technically speaking, 4WD clubs do not have a "duty of care" for helping new off-roaders learn knowledge and skills.
    b) Expect Frustration and Maybe Vehicle Damage (and hopefully not personal injury). While slowly learning how to off-road with a 4WD club, you may have to endure difficult trails way beyond your current ability and comfort level. Practicing on difficult trails may put you, your family and vehicle at risk during club outings. Remember, no one in the club has a real duty of care to you or your vehicle. Vehicle damage and personal harm can happen any time while enjoying an outdoor recreation. However, it is important to compare and contrast the difference between a club member just helping you while THEY are having fun (YOU are not their focus) and a professional educator that YOU have paid to help you practice your skills on a level of difficulty trail selected just for you.