Inland Waterway​s Courses

Bargecraft Limited; RYA inland waterways helmsman's course, crew course and ICC assessments with CEVNI examination.

We appreciate our clients will be subject to flight dates and times and other travel hurdles, so our training courses will be available during any days of the week unless others have previously booked. Our main periods of operation will provisionally be during March/April and September/October, although outside of that period we may be able to offer a limited number of courses (as we go cruising too!).  To ensure all students receive close instruction with plenty of practice the maximum instructor to student ratio is 1:3.

Here's the RYA training courses on offer:

Inland Waterways Helmsman's Course (IWHC)

Pre-course experience: None

Assumed knowledge: None

Course content: includes safety, helmsmanship, general seamanship, locks and tunnels, collision avoidance, an introduction to engine maintenance.

Ability after the course: Able to helm a vessel safely on inland waterways.

Minimum duration:  2 day course

Minimum age: 12. Certificates for children aged between 12 and 16 will be endorsed to show that they must use boats only under the supervision of a responsible adult

This RYA training course is aimed at students who do not have any or a limited amount of boating experience by giving you the tuition that suits your needs and a full opportunity to practice your new skills over the two days. Our usual route covers some 18 locks; 9 up and then 9 back down - more than enough to make them less mysterious!

This route involves two full days of training, with a 9am start and concluding at around 5-6pm on both days.

Our aim is to give you the confidence to navigate a vessel safely on the inland waterways. Bargecraft concentrates on the specific requirements in Europe as opposed to those specific to the UK.

Here, on the inland waterways of France, there are different needs, such as the different types of locks and the likelihood of sharing your waterway, and in some cases, a lock with a 120 metres long commercial vessel. That needs a little something extra to help equip you for the European Waterways.

Successfully completing this fully inclusive course will provide you with your Inland Waterways Helmsman Certificate and if required, an endorsed ICC application form for submission to the RYA who are authorised to issue your ICC for European cruising. This is assuming you also pass the CEVNI examination, which is taken at the conclusion of day two. Please note that it is your responsibility to prepare for the CEVNI examination as boat schools only facilitate the examination itself.

The IWHC is a two day training course in which you will cover the wide ranging RYA syllabus, which includes these objectives:

  • Personal and Boat Safety
  • Importance of regular engine and equipment checks
  • Participation in deck work - knots and lines
  • Recognising and practising the skills required for safe navigation of your vessel, including coming alongside, entering and leaving a lock, turning a vessel, steering through tight spaces, dealing with strong currents and wind to name but a few
  • Understanding and using navigation instruments

Inland Waterways Crew Course (IWCC)

Pre-course experience: None

Assumed knowledge: None

Minimum duration: 1 day as a stand-alone course, 2 days if accompanying a helmsman's course.

Minimum age: 8

The IWCC is a one day training course to help novices crew their vessel safely. It can be good fun if run alongside a two day Inland Waterways Helmsman's Course if there's another member of the family who will be helping you on your boat. So, in these circumstances we would be happy to extend this into two days at no extra cost, thus allowing you more time to practice your new skills.

The course itself covers:

  • Personal and Boat Safety
  • Basic seamanship skills; knots, lines, use of fenders and boat hook.
  • Roles in an emergency; man overboard, fire and flooding.
  • Communication between helmsman and crew.
  • Understanding crew requirements when negotiating hazards.
International Certificate of Competence (ICC) Assessment and CEVNI Examination

Pre-requisite: level of competence sufficient to undertake formal assessment

Assessment: oral and written elements with demonstration of a level of competence in driving a pleasure craft

CEVNI: choice of examination paper

Minimum age: 16

Duration: 1 day

Students who pass the RYA Inland Waterways Helmsman's Course can automatically qualify for the ICC once they have also successfully taken a Code Européen des Voies de Navigation Intérieure (CEVNI) test, which can be taken with Bargecraft.  This allows the holder to navigate on mainland Europe.  Don't forget to study well before you come as we only provide the test.

You will find all the subject matter you need in the RYA European Waterways Regulations and ICC Handbook publications, both available at the RYA Bookstore. We do not charge for the CEVNI test if taken with the Helmsman's course, otherwise normal charges apply.

For those who feel they are already at the required standard, we also offer a one day ICC assessment that will reward the student with a certificate that can be forwarded to the RYA to initiate the issue of an ICC certificate. The CEVNI test must still be taken at this time (unless you have previously passed this through another provider). The one day assessment does not facilitate you receiving a IWHC licence.

Please note, this one day assessment does not include any tuition, but is purely an observation and questioning of the skills you have already mastered before coming to us.


Preparing for your course

As with any form of training, preparation and study is recommended so that you achieve the best results and enjoyment. The RYA bookshop stocks all you need to prepare for your CEVNI. Don't forget that boating schools only provide the examination for CEVNI, so getting to know those regulations thoroughly relies on the work you put in prior to attending your course. (Those who book an inland waterways helmsman's course will have a copy of the Inland Waterways Handbook sent to them as a part of the course.)

To assist those who may not be too familiar with CEVNI signs, we have collated a small gallery of some you might see to help you become more familiar with them. It's good to see them in context.