Helmsmans course

The RYA Inland Waterways Helmsmans Course is for those new to boating or those boaters who feel that they need to brush up on their helmsmans skills. Our courses are run on our dedicated training boat the Gwendoline May although we can run a course on your own boat*.

As an RYA recognised training centre, the helmsman’s course follows the RYA syllabus and participants are awarded an Inland Waterways Helmsman’s Certificate upon successful completion.

We run scheduled courses throughout the month but if you are booking for 2 or three persons at the same time we will run a course at a time to suit you.

For operational reasons there are no more than 3 students on any course.

The course includes:

  1. Boating Safety

  2. Pre start checks

  3. Ropework and knots

  4. Boat control

  5. Getting underway

  6. Slowing down, stopping and mooring up

  7. Locks and using them safely

  8. Navigating bridges and tunnels

It is a highly practical course with the majority of the day spent out on the water or on the bank mooring up or working locks. As such it is important that you have suitable clothes (including wet weather gear) and sturdy non slip shoes (no flip flops or sandals). It is also recommended that you bring a hat in the unlikely event that the sun is shining. Lifejackets are provided and wearing them is mandatory.

We provide hot and cold drinks throughout the day as well as lunch. If you have any special dietary requirements please speak to us before the course so that we can accommodate you.

Our cruising route will include wide locks, tunnels, bridges, a small aqueduct and optionally swing bridges. We can if desired include the incredible Foxton Locks.

*Our training vessel, the Gwendoline May, is configured specifically for training and we would suggest that wherever possible you take your course on our boat. However we realise that for a number of reasons (location, special access requirements or even personal preference) you may want to use your own boat for the course and we are happy to accommodate you. For preference your boat should either be cruiser stern or semi trad. If it is a traditional stern boat we can only have one helmsman on the counter at one time which restricts teaching. We will provide sufficient lifejackets for the course but it is your responsibility to ensure that other equipment (mooring lines, piling hooks/chains, mooring spikes etc) is available. It is also important that you are near at least one lock. If we run a course on your boat from our base at Debdale there is no additional cost. If we run a course on your boat at a different location there is a fixed £40 cost to cover all travel and accommodation costs we might incur. Please contact us to discuss further.

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Course Details

Duration: 2 days

Location: Gwendoline May

Cost: £360

Maximum # students 3

Minimum # students 2

All Courses

Next Course

12 February 2020

Student Reviews

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

Steve was engaging and fun to learn from. Enjoyed the days from beginning to end.

Sarah

Best bits – learning ways of tying up & manoeuvring slowly especially when mooringup & moving off but difficult to choose because all good.

Karen

Very friendly very professional. Wholly enjoyable way to learn! Probably one of the best courses I have been on. Thanks again!

Stephen

Thank you so much for a wonderful course in great company. The confidence it gave me to have a go myself with great / excellent tuition which was at totally the right pace.

Tessa

Brilliant

Claire

Best bits – Steves 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

Well thought out and informative

John

Exceeded expectations - Thank you

Ed

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

Great covered exactly what I needed. I enjoyed the course immensely

Rosalind

I was very lucky to have the first day of the course all to myself which meant I got lots of support to boost my confidence for the harder parts to follow on the second day. Steve was patient and kind. He made me feel confident and was able to explain everything so that I understood it, thank you. The food was delicious - I really liked the cold drinks (it was very hot). I really enjoyed the course and can't wait to perfect the skills learnt on my next holiday.

Sian

Fab course.Nick was lovely, engaging & professional over both days

Chaaya

Steve was the lynch pin to the whole day & made the whole experience very enjoyable and worthwhile. I now have the confidence to plan our first canal boat holiday.

Mark

We have very much enjoyed the course. Steve was very helpful and informative and has given us some much needed guidance and confidence.

Margaret

Would have come back for a third day I enjoyed it so much.

Steve

Outstanding course. Great experience, well delivered. Thank you.

Michael

Good all-round course, Instruction clear allowing the student time to understand any problems

Barry

A very enjoyable course and left me feeling well prepared for two weeks afloat in September. We very much enjoyed the company of the instructor.

David

Thoroughly enjoyed the course, tutor was brilliant.

Judith