Outward Bound Whitewater River Specialist

Why Work For Outward Bound?

Job Description

Department: Program
Reports To: Whitewater Program Manager (WPM)
FLSA Status: Seasonal Exempt
Location: Asheville, NC
Expected Start Date: April 6, 2020 (Encouraged) May 22, 2020 (Mandatory)

Founded in 1967, North Carolina Outward Bound School (NCOBS) is a charter member of the leading outdoor education network in the world. Our wilderness courses, from the mountains of North Carolina to the shores of South Florida to the peaks of South America, deliver our mission to change lives through challenge and discovery.

The River Specialist assists a Lead River Specialist in the risk management and delivery of the North Carolina Outward Bound School whitewater programs to assure our mission. Working as a river specialist at NCOBS can be fun, challenging, and rewarding. It is a job that will keep you thinking, problem-solving, physically active, constantly learning and growing. As river staff, we define ourselves as educators working through the median of whitewater. We design our river blocks to meet the outcomes of our guiding principles and look for opportunities out on and off the water to do this. We are part of a larger team of people, which includes field instructors, course directors, support staff, and program directors, helping to work toward the common goal of meeting the mission and principles and living them out with the students and in our lives. The river specialist position is a training ground to be a Lead River Specialist position.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Ensure students and staff are properly managing risks associated with paddling whitewater.
  • Deliver quality whitewater instruction to NCOBS’ staff and students.
  • Ensure paddling programs adhere to National and NCOBS risk management policies, risk management procedures, local operating procedures, and directives from WPM.
  • Assist in logistical support of river programs.

Working Conditions:

  • Must be able to lift 75 pounds and participate in vigorous physical activity including but not limited to paddling and camping in the field.
  • Irregular work hours as necessary.


  • Interest in making a positive difference in the lives of people, both students, and co-workers.
  • Passion for teaching whitewater paddling.
  • Can work well on a team with other professional outdoor educators and at the same time be able to operate on one's own when appropriate
  • Current WFR and CPR certifications.
  • American Canoe Association Level 4 Canoe Instructor certification or equivalent experience.
  • Swiftwater Rescue Training and demonstrable skills.
  • Ability to make sound judgment calls on and off the water with their groups and co-workers.
  • Strong awareness of risk management and mature respect for the dynamic nature of water-based programs.
  • Experience leading groups engaged in whitewater paddling.
  • Demonstrate the following skills to the NCOBS WPM, or designee:
  • A personal skill base that allows the individual to comfortably facilitate the students’ experience and perform boat-based rescues from a tandem and solo open canoe in up to class III whitewater.
  • Ability to effectively present the components and skills necessary to facilitate and manage the risks of a standard NCOBS’ three to five day tandem canoe progression.
  • Understanding of river hydrology and whitewater river hazards how to manage them.
  • Ability to swim effectively in class III whitewater.
  • Cleared background screening and ability to drive NCOBS vehicles and trailers.

Compensation and Benefits:

  • Pay is per diem and based upon the NCOBS field staff pay scale.
  • Housing stipend of $180 / month to be provide June - August for specialist working 3+ river blocks.
  • For internal candidates, you will receive an additional 100 field credit bonus.
  • Access to seasonal staff benefits (professional development funds, pro-deal, etc.).
  • Food stipend for river blocks.


To Apply

The hiring process for this position will occur in three phases:
     1) An interview with an NCOBS Staffing Manager
     2) An in-person paddling interview with the NCOBS White Water Program Manager. (Date/Time as needed)

     3) Following these interviews, applicants may be offered a position and will need to be available to participate in    River

Specialist Training, May 22 - 24, 2020. If additional paddling experience is required, hired candidates can shadow spring river blocks (March/April) prior to River Specialist Training.

  • Interested Candidates should apply through the NCOBS website by visit the direct apply link on this page.
  • Please upload a paddling log. (Click Here to download a blank paddling log)
  • Candidates will be offered interviews on a rolling basis.
  • We are looking to fill 6 - 8 Whitewater Specialists for the 2020 season.
Application Closing Date: 
Until Filled
Application Contact Email: 
Employment Type: 
Job Region: 
Job Location: 
Asheville NC
Job Experience: 
1 - 2 years
Job Starting Date: 
May 2020

Job Details

Job Details: 
Experiential Education
Experiential Training & Development
Group Facilitation & Processing
Outdoor Skills School
Job Activity: 

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