This is a course specifically designed for those who wish to learn or improve inland waterway boating skills. For those students who start with some experience the one-day course provides plenty of opportunity to improve ‘seamanship’, These notes are compiled specifically for inland waterways, and are issued to every student providing a permanent reference for future boating activities; The day starts at 0900hrs; tuition and assessment should be completed by 1730hrs.
In fact on our day it was rain that was the problem; Lifejackets are the next decision. At Top Lock they insist you wear them when working round locks, as they point out that the water in a filling lock is full of air-bubbles, which makes it less dense, and even less likely to support your weight. Since we had brought our own, we opted to wear them all the time. With wet decks, and a long, cold day in prospect, this seemed a sensible precaution. At Canal Boat we use the automatic inflatable variety, as they are unobtrusive do not hamper your movements, yet will give full protection should you fall in, even if you knock your head and are unconscious. So the first of the pre-trip checks was to make sure the lifejacket is not damaged, and the gas canister is primed for use. He also advised against walking along the side of the boat, pointing out that it is safer to walk though the boat at all times, and that you should avoid fending the boat off with your hands or feet. He then handed us a piece of paper, with four basic principles of narrowboat handling. Boatmaster courses can be held anytime during the normal canal cruising season of April to October and at other times subject to the availability of the canal system for navigation Top Lock Training will prepare you for the MCA examination which is carried out by an MCA examiner and is divided into two main sections: Part A – a practical test and Part B – an oral examination of your knowledge.