Canal Training Home How to book Accomodation Own Boat Tuition Helmsman Course Crew Course Prices International Course Holiday hire

©Castaway Canal Boats

Learn narrowboat handling skills on the beautiful Kennet and Avon Canal near Bath.

Whether you want to make the most of your holiday hire boat or are lucky enough to own your own, these courses, leading to the award of the RYA Inland Waterways Helmsman Certificate, will provide you with the skills and confidence to handle a narrowboat or cruiser on Britain’s canals and rivers.  

If you want to cruise the waterways of Europe, we can provide training for your International Certificate of Competence and CEVNI qualification.

Your instructor, Alison Selby-Nicholls, has a wealth of experience teaching boating in all its forms from sailing to power boating to how to negotiate a staircase lock. She will show you all you need to know starting with how to prepare the boat for an enjoyable cruise right through to using the best knots to tie it up at the end of the day.

Whilst your course will always cover all of the topics in the RYA Inland Waterways Helmsman Certificate syllabus, we treat all of our clients as individuals and your course will be tailored to your specific needs.


RYA Inland Waterways Helmsman course

This is a two day course and can be taken either on a centre's boat or on your own boat.

Pre-course experience None
Assumed knowledge None
Course content Safety, helmsmanship, locks and tunnels, collision avoidance, an introduction to engine maintenance
Ability after the course Able to helm a vessel safely on inland waterways
Minimum duration 2-day course or 1-day assessment for experienced boaters
Minimum age 12. Certificates for children aged between 12 and 16 will be endorsed to show that they must use boats only under the supervision of a responsible adult


1-Day Assessment for RYA Inland Waterways Helmsman Certificate

This is a direct assessment for boaters who have experience on inland waterways to gain a RYA Inland Waterways Helmsman Certificate. Please note that this is a non teaching day.


RYA Inland Waterways Crew Course

This course is ideal for introducing friends or family members to crewing a vessel on the inland waterways and for giving them an understanding of how they can assist the helm.

Your instructor will cover all the basics of being a useful crew member, including personal safety; communication on board, throwing a mooring line; some basic boat handling; helping in locking operations; how to be a good lookout; what to do in an emergency and looking after the environment.

Pre-course experience None
Assumed knowledge None
Course content Personal safety, seamanship, dealing with emergency situations, coming alongside, picking up a mooring, boat handling
Ability after the course Able to be a useful crew member and assist the helm
Minimum duration 1-day as a standalone course, 2-days if accompanying another course
Minimum age 8






RYA Inland Waterways Training Courses