Birmingham & Midland Marine Services

Birmingham & Midland Marine Services offer commercial and leisure skipper training and HSE endorsed water safety awareness and rescue training at Gailey Wharf Training Centre on the Staffs and Worcester canal.

Located just off junction 12 of the M6 we are convenient for both the motorway network and also that of the rail. Penkridge station is on the Birmingham line and is a short taxi ride away.

Approved trainers and contractors to the Canal & River Trust; our mainstay is training skippers and personnel working waterside in order to obtain the correct type of licence to be able to undertake their work roles.

Training on offer includes:

Royal Yachting Association Including;

‘Inland Waterways Helmsman Certificate’ (Training & Direct Assessment) The basic licence to ‘work’ on the system as a recognised ‘alternative’ to an MCA BML licence on Category ‘A’ Waters and becoming a prerequisite for obtaining cover for leisure craft by many insurers.

Royal Yachting Association ‘First Aid’

Royal Yachting Association ‘VHF Radio’ (Specialist instructor)

Royal Yachting Association ‘International Certificate of Competence’ (Practical assessment) A requirement for the European inland waterways.

Royal Life Saving Society ‘National Water Safety Management Programme’. (HSE Endorsed & DEFRA compliant) Including: ‘Water Awareness’, ‘Still Water’, ‘River’, ‘First Aid’, ‘In Water Skills’, ‘Aquatic PPE’, ‘Flood’ and ‘In Water Rescue’ modules. To safely work at the water’s edge.

Maritime & CoastGuard Agency ‘BoatMaster Ancillary’ training: Including ‘Water Safety & Personal Survival’, ‘Boat Fire Safety’ and also ‘Task Record Book completion sessions’. Passenger Operations, (12+passengers) Towing & Pushing, plus Workboat entitlements

National Community Boats Association ‘Certificate of Community Boat Management’ (Specialist Instructor)

Canal & River Trust CAATS training & assessments: Including; ‘Workboat’ and ‘Small / Inflatable Craft’.

We see here two specific sectors, both water-based. Skipper training covers the ‘on-board’ market which is highly regulated in terms of licencing whilst the other sector, Water Safety, is now a statutory legal requirement for personnel working within three metres of the bank and whom a risk assessment has shown could be in danger of unintentionally entering the water.


Workboats, dis-similarly to ‘leisure’ type craft on the inland waterways have many differences and nuances such as handling, accessibility to the bow, configuration, the effect of hydrology on interaction and in lock chambers.

Birmingham & Midland Marine offer our specialist workboat training on a workboat. Training to be a ‘workboat’ skipper on a ‘leisure’ type vessel and hypothetically discussing the differences seemed inappropriate; we use our vessel, Workboat ‘Eiger’ for training. When she is not being used as a platform for training she is available for commercial operations, generally bridge inspection works and light civil engineering duties.

An essential difference between a leisure vessel and a commercial one is the need to be able to control the vessel in general from the stern, with limited access to the bows. (plant / equipment / scaffold) Crews may have to be working ‘shorthanded’ and will be expected to be wearing aquatic PPE such as lifejackets and be required to conduct ‘throwbag’ rescues.

Our RYA Inland Waterways Helmsman Certificate course covers the full syllabus of the IWHC and in addition, at no extra cost also covers the above plus, self-rescue, co-worker rescues, lifejacket users training, servicing, checks, correct wearing, casualty handling, cold water shock, post rescue welfare, gastrointestinal considerations and a host of other subjects, relevant to a commercial operation aboard a commercial vessel. MCA training builds upon these skills to ensure a high level of competency at the helm of a commercial vessel.

Water Safety

“Anyone working in, near or around water - including on or with boats - are strongly advised to undertake appropriate water safety training to ensure they are able to manage risk and mitigate the risk of accidents, including drowning, in water."

“In order to meet statutory regulations, employers need to ensure work operations are risk assessed and any staff at risk around water are appropriately trained. RLSS UK is here to help employers comply with these regulations by offering the National Water Safety Management Programme.”

Source: The Royal Life Saving Society.

Canal & River Trust personnel are trained in water safety awareness and basic rescue skills. Other personnel such as contractors, sub-contractors and third-party workers are also obliged to have undertaken accredited water safety training should a risk assessment discover that such personnel are in danger of unintentionally entering the water.

Basic water awareness training and further self-rescue, co-worker rescue, cold water shock, aquatic PPE and risk mitigation sections are added in the various levels of training available through this excellent RLSS scheme. Still water and river specific modules cover these dynamic environments and specialist training in drysuits, buoyancy aids, defensive techniques and a host of other critical subjects are covered on the one- or two-days training; duration dependent upon the modules undertaken.

Your instructor is an MCA BoatMaster with twenty years commercial experience and holds ‘Passenger Operations’, ‘Towing & Pushing’ and ‘Workboat’ entitlements. An RYA, MCA, RLSS, IWA & NCBA instructor and has been a member of Search & Rescue in an operational and operational support role for over five years. Specialising as an Advanced Swiftwater & Flood Rescue Technician and Rescue Boat Operator in high volume and flood water. Support staff are similarly qualified and of a military background. Please visit for further information or email us at

Potential candidates are more than welcome to call to arrange an appointment at the centre so we can discuss your requirements in detail and provide your company or organisation with a tailored programme of training. Please call to arrange an appointment. 07527 727169. Regards, Richard Gray Training Centre Principal.


Gailey Wharf Training Centre at Gailey Marine.

Watling Street
ST19 5PR

Disability Access Information

We are glad to be able to welcome candidates with disabilities and our disability and equality & diversity policy is available upon request. We cannot however cater for wheelchair users due to the structural nature of the centre and the vessels. We would however be delighted to hear from you and try to recommend an alternative venue or company that may be able to assist. Note: We are not set up or registered for persons under the age of 18 or who are considered 'at risk' or 'ESN'.