A two-day course taking place from Gailey Wharf, Staffs and Worcester Canal.

Birmingham & Midland Marine Services ‘displacement craft’ 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 boating on the inland waterways 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, 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.

Covering handling, reading the channel, etiquette, look out duties, ‘winding’ or turning, emergency stops, man overboard procedures and rescue drills, rope handling, turning, reversing and coming alongside we have a full day on the lock free section of the canal south of Gailey Wharf.

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 2

We reconvene at 0930 for teas and coffees at the training centre then head up to the boat on her moorings. Once the boat is set up for cruising, engine checks done and so forth, we set off down three locks, ‘wind’ (turn around) and we’ll discuss collisions, grounding, actions to be taken in event of a fire or first aid incident as we make our return leg back to Gailey Wharf Training Centre. Arriving for an early afternoon finish following the final theory and; if you’ve passed the course, presentation of your photographic ID card certificate.

There is an option to combine your training course with a holiday afloat on one of the Wharf’s hire fleet of narrowboats. See our ‘Leisure page’ of our website.

Experience Needed to Take this Course:

None at all!

Included in the course fee:

  • RYA IWHC training book
  • RYA IWHC Photographic ID card upon successful completion. (Bring a photo!)
  • Tea’s, Coffee’s
  • All boat costs
  • MCA, RYA, IWA, & RLSS Instructor


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 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.

Ratio: 1 instructor to 3 students maximum.

Contact us for details.