Narrowboat Training Courses
If you’re just discovering boating or returning to it after a number of years, then taking a narrowboat training course is a good idea. If you’re an experienced boater and want to gain an accredited qualification, or realise that you’ve fallen into some bad habits, then there’s a training course to suit you too.
You can cruise in your own boat or hire a narrowboat on UK waterways without any qualifications or training, but taking a training course will help you to develop your skills and increase your confidence. If you’re hiring a narrowboat then the marina may provide some basic training, but a training course can give you a greater understanding of how to operate a narrowboat with the reassurance that an experienced hand is close by. It can also be great fun and an opportunity to spend a day or two out on the waterways while learning something new.
Certified narrowboat training courses
The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) is the national body for many types of sailing and yachting and is a leading representative for inland waterways cruising. It runs two specific certified narrowboat training courses.
This is a comprehensive two-day course that is suitable for both novices and experienced boaters alike. You start at your level of ability. It will help you to learn the skills required to operate a narrowboat safely on the UK’s inland waterways. It will also help to increase your confidence and make your boating experiences more enjoyable.
The minimum age for the course is 12 years old, so it’s never too soon, or too late, to enhance your boating skills. The inland waterways helmsman’s course is suitable for the beginner, intermediate and advanced boater and includes the following elements:
- Safety on your narrowboat and the waterways
- How and what to check before you set off
- Ropework, tying and using the right knots
- How to control your narrowboat
- Getting underway
- How to slow down, stop and moor up safely and efficiently
- Understanding locks and how to use them safely
- Navigating bridges and tunnels
There is also an RYA training course dedicated to crewing a narrowboat. You don’t need any knowledge or experience of boating to take this course and the minimum age is eight.
If you’re an experienced boater and are being joined by some friends on your narrowboat for a holiday, then this course will give them a good understanding of how they can make themselves useful! The inland waterways crew course covers the following elements.
- Personal safety
- The importance of good communication on board
- How to throw a mooring line
- How locks work and how to help in lock operations
- How to be an effective look out
- What to do in an emergency
- Looking after the environment
There are RYA-recognised training centres around the country, which follow the RYA syllabuses. Therefore, if you take an RYA course at one of these centres, and complete it successfully, you’ll be awarded the relevant certificate at the end.
Some of the boating courses may be in the classroom, but the majority of it will be practical boating training aboard a dedicated training vessel. If you want to take part in the training aboard your own narrowboat, then this can also be arranged.
As well as RYA certified helmsman and crew courses, there are many other options to increase your boating skills. For instance, the Narrowboat Skills Centre runs a range of courses.
Narrowboating experience days
These offer a great introduction to boating and a fun day out. They are available in different parts of the country, for instance on London’s Regent Canal at the Pirate Castle
Diesel engine and boat maintenance courses
The courses cover the essential maintenance required to keep your narrowboat safely on the water and running efficiently, as well as how to trouble-shoot any problems that you may have with the engine. For instance, you’ll learn how the engine works, increase your understanding of the fuel, air, cooling, lubrication and electrical systems as well as protecting and maintaining the hull.
Whatever your level of ability and however you want to improve your skills, there is a narrowboat training course for you. It will help you to cruise the inland waterways safely so you can enjoy many happy times on a narrowboat.
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