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Helmsman’s Courses and Experience Days
Our 2020 season has now finished. 2021 course dates will be published shortly and will be bookable directly from the Course Calendar
Narrowboat Skills Centre - Call us 7 days a week: 0116 442 2326
Why choose the Narrowboat Skills Centre:
Since its formation the Narrowboat Skills Centre has built a great reputation for delivering high quality narrowboating and helmsman courses.
Our friendly, approachable and experienced team, partnered with the ideal location and great facilities make us one of the premier inland waterways training centres in the UK.
At our 2017 review the RYA inspector described the Narrowboat Skills Centre (NBSC) as: “A first class training centre with an excellent training vessel”
Narrowboat Skills Centre - Who do we work with:
At the Narrowboat Skills Centre our typical customers come in a number of guises. No matter what level you are at, we have a course to suit your requirements.
First-time Narrowboaters, New Buyers:
Our Own Dedicated Training Vessel
As well as great advice and guidance on how to aquire the best boat for your needs, at the Narrowboat Skills Centre we offer experience days aboard our dedicated training vessel, Gwendoline May, in order for you to get off to the best possible start when you either buy or hire your own narrowboat.
You've hired a boat or bought your own and want to use it safely:
Courses for all levels of experience
Whether you are worried you may have fallen into bad habits or if being properly qualified is your goal, then our RYA recognised courses should fit the bill.
Choice of Courses
Choose from a two day Inland Waterways Helmsman course or, for more experienced boaters, a one day Assessment course, both held aboard our dedicated training vessel, Gwendoline May or, by request, aboard your own boat.
Debdale Wharf, the perfect learning location
We are easy to find!
We are a great choice of training provider because we offer so much all in one easy to reach location. Easy to reach from all parts of the country, NBSC is fortunate in being able to offer one of the widest ranges of narrowboating experiences to be found in what is a remarkably quiet stretch of canal anywhere in the UK.
Unique Location, Experiential Training
Our helmsman courses typically take in swing bridges, road bridges, an aqueduct, wide locks, a tunnel, winding holes and occasionally the renowned Foxton staircase of narrow locks – just 20 minutes from our home mooring. Few, if any, other training centres can offer such variety in order for you to learn or enhance your boating skills.
Great Classroom Training too!
Choice of Courses, Expert Instructors
As well as on-the-water training, Narrowboat Skills Centre offer especially great shore-based courses in our own dedicated classroom. Our instructors come from a wide range of backgrounds and have all been selected for their in-depth subject knowledge. Starting with an expanded RYA recognised Diesel Engine & Boat Maintenance course, we also offer courses on First Aid, Boat Electrical Systems, Boat Plumbing and Heating and not least of course, Phil Speight’s renowned classes on signwriting and Roses & Castles.
Can We Help You?
Finally, if you don’t find the course you are looking for or a day to suit your needs, please do ring us on 0116 442 2326 and we will do all we can to accomodate your requirements.
Great course, great pace, knowledge of Steve x2 was brilliant. Thank you both
Rob – Electrics and Plumbing
Would love to come on the engine maintenance course ASAP
Cate – Electrics and Plumbing
Enjoyable course would do another one.
Sharron – Electrics and Plumbing
Good balance of theory and practical. Practical's were really helpful
Kate – Electrics and Plumbing
Thoroughly enjoyed the course. Well Done
Richard – Electrics and Plumbing
Thoroughly enjoyed it, really got me going on the right track
Rebekah – Electrics and Plumbing
Great instruction. I look forward to seeing you for another course in the future.
Bones – Electrics and Plumbing
All round good course
Kris – Electrics and Plumbing
I enjoyed all of the course. Steve is very knowledgeable and knows his stuff. Thanks Steve
Ian – Diesel Engine Maintenance
First class. We were fortunate to have two instructors!
Derek – Diesel Engine Maintenance
Very enjoyable weekend. Brilliant
Richard – Diesel Engine Maintenance
Whole course informative and instructor very knowledgeable making course enjoyable
David – Diesel Engine Maintenance
Friendly and knowledgeable trainer, happy now to tackle all maintenance jobs on my boat
Jonathon – Diesel Engine Maintenance
A really useful, fun and informative course. Thank You
Wendy – RYA Helmsmans
The course was really good value for money and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Andrew – RYA Helmsmans
Good all-round course, Instruction clear allowing the student time to understand any problems
Barry – RYA Helmsmans
Excellent facilities, superb training. Would recommend to anyone wishing to improve their knowledge of boat handling.
Nick – RYA Helmsmans
The course was help on our own boat on the Mon and Brec canal. A great two days.
Ben – RYA Helmsmans
Steve was a great instructor, patient, professional, extremely knowledgeable
Dennis – RYA Helmsmans
A lot to learn in 2 days but a fantastic basic course to give one confidence to go out and practice to gain further experience
Anne – RYA Helmsmans
Excellent course & very good instructions throughout the full course. Excellent introduction to using a boat safely and correctly on the network
Gary – RYA Helmsmans
Well thought out and informative
John – RYA Helmsmans
Would be hard to improve on such an amazing training activity which is so well organised
Alan – RYA Helmsmans
We have very much enjoyed the course. Steve was very helpful and informative and has given us some much needed guidance and confidence.
Margaret – RYA Helmsmans
Thank you much confidence has been gained.
Rachel – RYA Helmsmans
Nick was a great instructor. No complaints, all areas covered, great venue, could not have been better
Daniel – RYA Helmsmans
Really enjoyed the 2 days, will recommend to others. The guidance will remain with me always
Rosalie – RYA Helmsmans
Thoroughly enjoyed our time here. Learnt new skills and improved old ones. Nick was a great instructor and made the course great fun as well as a great learning experience
Derek – RYA Helmsmans
We have some experience of narrowboating and were looking for tips and guidance on how to improve. The course provided everything I was looking for. Also great fun.
Andrew – RYA Helmsmans
Helpful instructor, was very patient & lots of time to practice.
Priya – RYA Helmsmans
Nick was a very informative instructor who didn’t just teach the basics he also taught us the etiquette and answered all the questions we had. Was a great 2 days
Chris – RYA Helmsmans
Fab course.Nick was lovely, engaging & professional over both days
Chaaya – RYA Helmsmans
Best bits – Steve's patience, good humour, and ability to explain in different ways the same thing so that I understood. Tunnel, locks, mooring – all the things I had been scared of. Intense, all necessary and so many tips that a whole new world of boating is opened up.
Hilary – RYA Helmsmans
We had a fabulous 2 days and so looking forward to driving my own boat. Thank you Steve
Dee – RYA Helmsmans
Best bits – learning ways of tying up & manoeuvring slowly especially when mooring up & moving off but difficult to choose because all good.
Karen – RYA Helmsmans
Excellent route with good mix of tunnel/locks/mooring etc. Good fun had by all.
Richard – RYA Helmsmans
Great covered exactly what I needed. I enjoyed the course immensely
Rosalind – RYA Helmsmans
Most enjoyable and informative two day course with lots of hands on experiences. Taught in a very calm and trouble free manner. Many thanks to Nick.
Maria – RYA Helmsmans
Very helpful instructor who made me feel very much at ease.
Martin – RYA Helmsmans
Thoroughly enjoyed the course, tutor was brilliant.
Judith- RYA Helmsmans
The Narrowboat Skills Centre is a recognised RYA Training Centre