Training - RYA Helmsman/Crew Course

RYA Inland Waterways Helmsman Course

The RYA Inland Waterways Helmsman Certificate is the most widely recognised boat-handling qualification for Britain’s inland waterways. There is no prior knowledge needed for the course, which is great for beginners who want to prepare for a boating holiday or assist a helmsman. Experienced boaters may want to do the course to improve their skills in certain areas, or need the certificate for a job or insurance.


The course curriculum includes going through the requirements of the inland boater from all aspects of boat handling, safety, locks, tunnels, rope handling, knots and hitches, collision avoidance and an introduction to engine maintenance.

Duration & Cost

Courses usually last one or two days with prices varying from £100 per person to £400.

Other Information

If you would prefer to use your own boat for the course most training centres provide this option. It is advised before attending the course to read the RYA Inland Waterways Handbook which some training centres send to you before attending the course.

Find a Training Centre

To find a local training centre who teach the RYA Inland Waterways Helmsman Course near you, visit the RYA website.

RYA Inland Waterways Crew Course


This is an entry level course and can be run in conjunction with the Inland Waterways Helmsman's course for mixed ability groups.

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 look out; what to do in an emergency and looking after the environment.

Pre-course experience:  None
Assumed knowledge:  None
Minimum duration:  1 day as a stand-alone course, 2 days if accompanying another course
Minimum age:   8
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

Find a Training Centre

To find a local training centre who teach the RYA Inland Crew Course near you, visit the RYA website.

Certificate of Boat Management

The Inland Waterways Association Certificate of Boat Management scheme applies to operators of small passenger boats on certain prescribed inland waterways of Britain.

Find out more about IWA's Certificate of Boat Management