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Inland Waterways Helmsman Certificate

This course is designed to give students confidence to helm a vessel safely on Inland Waterways.

· Duration 1 or 2 days

· Taught at RYA Inland Training Centres. The Regional Training team can offer own boat tuition.

· Assumed knowledge before course: Nil

· Certificate Issued: RYA Inland Waters Helmsman’s Certificate

"Note to Motor Cruising and Inland Waterways Centres. - There have been two fatal accidents recently involving inland motor cruisers that appear to have been overloaded and as a result became unstable.

In view of this centres and instructors should ensure that students are aware of the CE Plate on new boats and the importance of the loading capacity of the boat in terms of weight and numbers of pasengers. It is vital that all understand the implications of overloading"


Helmsmanship and Boat Handling
Personal Safety
Boat Safety
Bridges and Tunnels
Collision Avoidance
Care of Environment



· Common nautical terms

· Handling warps and fenders

· Throwing a heaving line or coiled rope,

· Knots: clove hitch, round turn and two half hitches, bowline,

· Securing to bollards, rings and cleats and mooring stakes,

· Anchor work.


Helmsmanship and Boat Handling

· Loading and weight distribution

· Steering in a river or canal

· Control of speed

· Inter-action and canal effect

· Turning

· Berthing and unberthing alongside and between buoys/piles

· Recovery of man overboard

· Anchoring


Personal Safety

· Identification of risks, including cold shock.

· Use of lifejackets and buoyancy aids.

· Avoidance of personal injury, including crushing of limbs when fending off.

· Special risks to children


Boat Safety

· Fire Hazards, particularly gas and petrol

· Use of fire extinguishers.

· Watertight integrity

· Refloating after grounding



· Engine care. Checks to be carried out before starting and while running.

· Routine periodic checks.



· General understanding of maintenance of levels.

· Operation of locks.

· Tending lines in locks.


Bridges and Tunnels

· General understanding of operation of bridges and use of tunnels.


Collision Avoidance

· Steering and sailing rules of IRPCS.

· Bye-laws and local regulations, including traffic signals, signs and priorities.

· Awareness of other national and local regulations.

· Publications to be carried..


Care of Environment

· Avoiding damage to boats, banks, flora and fauna.

· Pollution avoidance.

· Consideration for other water users.

Inland Waterways Training Centres


Inland Waterways Trainer

Jerry Blyth - 07801 721620



For details of Inland Waterways Centre in your area Click Here



For a copy of the Inland Waterways Syllabus click the required format

Word Version

PDF Version

For further information regarding the syllabus, course availability and how the Inland Waterways Helmsman Certificate can help you please contact Jerry Blyth.

Email him at

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