"/> training Free Contact Form

Royal Yachting Association

RYA training is forward thinking and designed for whatever level of skill, professionalism and knowledge you want to achieve. The RYA has been around for over 130 years, but our approach is fresh and up to date. RYA courses never stop developing to take into account the dynamic world of boating.

The RYA deliver over 100 courses to professional and recreational boaters that are right up to date with safety issues, regulations, and emerging trends.

RYA Courses available at Birmingham & Midland Marine Services;

Royal Yachting Association 'Inland Waters Helmsman Certificate'

Birmingham & Midland Marine Services skipper training courses take place at Gailey Wharf training centre, centrally located in Staffordshire, just five hundred metres from junction 12 of the M6 motorway, rail link at Penkridge, Staffordshire.

Although not as yet a requirement to take a boat out on the canal system, many insurers are sending potential owners for training before they can obtain cover.

The RYA IWHC is the basic license required to work on the canal system, the one your insurer will be looking at as a bare minimum if you were to buy a boat, the one you take so not to look like a complete novice on your holiday!

This course should interest those looking at either getting into narrowboating and want to either start off on the right foot or brush up on those skills and get a qualification or, as an entry level qualification to starting work on the inland waterways.

Day 1 Starting off in the classroom we go through our introductions over coffee and tea, have our safety brief, look at life jackets, the route, the itinerary then head down to 'Eiger', our narrowboat. She is a heavily built 38 foot, flat fronted vessel, a commercial vessel rather than a ‘leisure’ one. Same techniques but less to damage! This training can also be done on your own boat by prior arrangement.

An introduction to vessel systems, inside and out, basic emergency procedures and drills, rescue drill, deck equipment and a few nautical terms then we set off.

A return leg for two and a half hours on a lock free section of canal (to get the steering / stopping / turning organised) and then we look at locks. Negotiating six locks downhill through beautiful rural Staffordshire into the village of Penkridge where we will leave the boat for the evening.

We are collected from Penkridge, from a very pleasant, real ale serving, canalside country pub (Not immediately you'll be glad to hear!) and brought back to the training centre and your vehicle. If you are staying in Penkridge you have the option to leave your car at the training centre and walk back to your rooms in the village. Five minutes!

Remember… We are not a residential centre / vessel so accommodation should be found locally. Talk to us for details! An example; Garden cottage, 01785 712238 sleeps two, self catering for just £40.00!

Day two We reconvenes at 0900 for teas and coffees at the training centre, (or rendezvous back at the boat if you prefer) we drive to the boat (via a spectacular Family run village bakery for bacon and sausage rolls and pasties…!) and, once the boat is set up for cruising, engine checks done and so forth, we have a look at rope work and rescue techniques and more practice turning and reversing before we commence the climb of six locks back to Gailey Wharf Training Centre. Arriving for a mid-afternoon finish and completion of your paperwork; those making a lengthy drive appreciate missing the rush hour traffic!

There is an option to combine your training course with a holiday afloat. See our ‘Leisure’ page.

Experience Needed to Take this Course

None at all!

Included in the course fee;


A non residential course. Solo or standard two place bookings will be joined by another / other individual(s) looking to complete the course.

If you wish to book a 'closed course' for two or three people training together or to make a booking inquiry, get in touch us via the 'contact page'. We are happy to offer a bespoke course for you at dates of your choosing if we are available to do so. Please ask!

RYA IWHC 1 day assessment / exam dates available throughout the year for experienced hands. Contact us for details.

RYA First Aid Certificate

Our one-day course covers all the usual first aid subjects, but from a boating perspective. It is aimed at anyone who goes afloat, whether on inland waters, rivers, estuaries or on cross channel passages.

In a medical emergency a little first aid knowledge and immediate action can save lives, especially in remote locations. This one-day course is designed to provide a working knowledge of first aid for people using small craft and to support skippers.

It fulfills the requirements for:

The subjects specific to boating include:


£195.00 per candidate (one place booked)

£185.00 per candidate (two places booked)

£175.00 per candidate (three places booked)

£525.00 closed course (two persons/couple)

RYA First Aid

£130.00 per candidate.

RYA International Certificate of Competence

Practical Assessment £95.00 per candidate(Minimum of 2 people per booking).

Click here to go back to the training page