Nantahala Outdoor Center

Raft Guide - Part Time

Job Locations | US-NC-Walnut | US-TN-Hartford | US-TN-Ocoee | US-SC-Mountain Rest | US-NC-Bryson City
Job ID


For 48+ years NOC has led the outdoor industry, taking more guests whitewater rafting and teaching more paddlers than any other outdoor recreation company. NOC also provides top-quality aerial and trail-based adventures, wilderness medicine as well as unmatched retail service, foodservice, lodging, and trip planning services. Behind NOC's success is our staff’s commitment to our five core values:  Lead by Example, Service Before Self, Do the Right Thing, Work Hard/Play Hard and Make it Happen. These core values unite a community of leaders and pioneers in an exciting, fun and always changing work environment. 


NOC career opportunities offer a rare combination of work in beautiful locations, a chance to grow skills and to share a passion for active outdoor recreation. Ideal candidates are leaders in the workplace that wish to join a unique, values-driven organization. They aspire to excellence in their fields and disciplines and they demonstrate a commitment to the service of others. Above all, they want to provide guests with unforgettable experiences. If this sounds like you, we hope you'll apply to join the NOC team.  


Job Summary: 


Come and spend your summer on the river at Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC)! The position of River Guide is a great opportunity to work on a new technical skill-set while growing your leadership, communication and teamwork skills. 


NOC River Guides work on one of five different rivers: the Nantahala, French Broad, Pigeon, Ocoee and Chattooga. River Guide applicants must be at least 18 years of age prior to their start date, and have current First Aid and CPR certifications. This is a physically demanding position and is classified as summer seasonal. Due to the seasonal demand of our business, we are looking for applicants that are available for a minimum of 3 months and are available to work until, at least, August 12th. Applicants with shorter availability may still be considered based on hiring needs.


Applicants without prior commercial rafting experience are strongly encouraged to attend NOC Raft Guide School during the spring; preferential consideration for employment is given to Guide School graduates. For more information or to sign up for Guide School, visit



  • Guide through rapids with crews of varying size, age, and number; understanding and implementing risk-reduction in navigation, communication, and decision-making
  • Communicate with guests about local area information, other NOC activities and offerings, river and trip information, and providing general entertainment
  • Provide top-notch guest service to all guests, before, after, and during their trip
  • Participate in off-the-water tasks, including moving, loading and unloading rafts, assisting guests with gear, delivering instructional talks, and washing and organizing gear and equipment
  • Other tasks as assigned and based on qualifications, such as: driving vehicles, repair and maintenance of gear or facilities, guest check-in, and assisting other NOC departments 



  • Minimum availability between June 15 and August 10


Applicants for a River Guide position at NOC should exhibit:

  • Effective communication skills and the ability to motivate small and large groups
  • A strong sense of guest service
  • Accountability for one's actions and performance
  • Enthusiasm about teaching and sharing outdoor activities with others
  • The ability to take direction from supervisors and managers
  • Good judgement in decision-making
  • The ability to work well under pressure and be able to respond quickly to emergencies with appropriate judgement
  • A can-do attitude and ability to work in a teamwork-based environment
  • The ability to speak clearly and with authority while guiding 

Physical Demands and Working Conditions:

  • Must be physically capable of maneuvering rafts for the duration of the season both on the water by steering and guiding and on land by carrying and lifting
  • Applicants should be able to lift 50lbs repetively
  • Applicants should be comfortable sitting in raft for long periods of time and standing for long periods of time as well as able to bend, stoop and twist
  • Applicants should be comfortable working outside in varying weather conditions (heat, cold, wind, rain)
  • Due to the seasonal nature of this position, hours and schedule will vary from week to week based on business demands



  • Basic First Aid & CPR are required prior to beginning work and this certification must be obtained through a classroom setting (please note, online First Aid & CPR are not acceptable as per our river permit agreements)
  • Wilderness First Aid or higher is encouraged


The above noted job description is not intended to describe, in detail, the multitude of tasks that may be assigned but rather to provide a general sense of the responsibilities and expectations of this position. As the nature of business demands change, so too may the essential functions of this position.

The Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) is dedicated to the principles of equal employment opportunity in any and all terms, conditions or privileges of employment including hiring, promotions, termination, training and compensation. The NOC does not discriminate against applicants or employees on the basis of age, race, sex, color, religion, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic condition or any other status protected by federal, state or local law, where applicable. Furthermore, the NOC is committed to a work environment free of discrimination and harassment through respecting and valuing the diversity among employees and all those with whom the NOC does business.


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