We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

One of the great things about boating is that everyone can muck in together. But at least one person needs to know the boat-handling basics, to understand the safety guidelines and to know what to do in an emergency.

Once you’ve chosen a ‘skipper’, it will be his or her job to make sure your crew and passengers have all the information they need to stay safe. It’s a good idea to be clear on each crew member’s duties.


Good boating takes teamwork. So you need competent crew who know how to handle the boat and how to stop the engine, and who can help with mooring, moving through locks, navigation and so on. As well as knowing the procedures, your crew should be aware of the safety risks in each situation and how to avoid them. It’s also a wise precaution to have a stand-in skipper in case you become ill.

Think very carefully before going boating alone as the risks are very much greater.

Passengers who aren’t going to be helping with any of the work still need to read and understand the basic safety rules – so please show them the safety checklist at the front of the Boaters Handbook.

Helmsman training

Why not have a go at an RYA Helmsman Course? You can learn to sail any kind of boat, from a canal boat to a windsurfer, not to mention have loads of fun in the process and bag yourself a certificate at the end.  Find out more about the types of courses available at www.rya.org.uk/go/inlandwaterways.


Last date edited: 9 July 2015