Raft Guide School FAQs

Is it necessary to have experience to be a USNWC Raft Guide?
How do I sign up for Raft Guide School?
Do I need to be certified in First Aid and CPR to register for Raft Guide School?
Attending Raft Guide School does not guarantee a job at the USNWC. What does that mean?
What topics will be covered in Raft Guide School?
What equipment do I need, and what should I wear during Raft Guide School?

Is it necessary to have experience to be a USNWC Raft Guide?
No, it is not necessary to have prior experience; the majority of our guides have received training through the USNWC. If you have no previous experience as a raft guide, you are required to complete USNWC Raft Guide School before you will be considered for employment. Experienced guides should submit an application online.

How do I sign up for Raft Guide School?
Go to the USNWC Raft Guide School page and click “Register”. From there, select the course that works best with your schedule, and complete the registration process. You can also register for Raft Guide School over the phone by calling Guest Services at 704.391.3900.

Do I need to be certified in First Aid and CPR to register for Raft Guide School?
No, you do not have to have a current certification to register for Raft Guide School – only active employees are required to have the certification. If you are not certified, we cannot schedule you to work. We do offer a First Aid, CPR, & AED Certification course at the USNWC. We also offer SOLO WFA and WFR courses periodically throughout the year.

Attending Raft Guide School does not guarantee a job at the USNWC. What does that mean?
Raft Guide School is considered as an extended interview process, where you will be evaluated on both technical skills and overall compatibility with our organization. We are looking for guides who are energetic, positive, hard-working, and friendly. In most cases guide school graduates are offered the opportunity to complete the guide qualification process. After completion of the qualification process, all employment offers are subject to successful completion of a background check. USNWC is a drug-free and smoke-free establishment.

What topics will be covered in Raft Guide School?
Our course is broken down into six days:

  1. Orientation and hydrology
  2. Gear, rafts/equipment, paddle strokes, student guided runs on the Wilderness Channel (Class II and Class III whitewater)
  3. Knots and ropes, student guided runs on Wilderness Channel, flip drills
  4. Basic swift water rescue, emergency and weather related protocol, student guided challenge runs down the Wilderness Channel
  5. Student guided runs on the Competition Channel (Class III and Class IV whitewater), surfing on the Wilderness Channel
  6. Student challenge runs on the Competition Channel

What equipment do I need, and what should I wear during Raft Guide School?
During Raft Guide School, the USNWC will provide the following equipment:

  • Whitewater specific Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
  • Whitewater specific helmet
  • Paddle

Wetsuits, booties, and splash jackets are available for rent.

U.S. National Whitewater Center | 5000 Whitewater Center Parkway | Charlotte, NC 28214 | 704.391.3900 | info@usnwc.org