Canal boat training courses

Free training is available for members of our Volunteer Skippers team.

Certificate in Community Boat Management (experienced crew)

The Pirate Castle is an accredited training centre for this course. This is a 20 hour course usually spread over a long weekend, taking place on Pirate Prince or Pirate Viscount and is available to those people who already meet (or are close to meeting) the 'Experienced' criteria as outlined under 'Levels of Experience and Qualification'. The minimum age requirement is 17.

Certificate in Community Boat Management (newcomer or some experience)

With identical course content, only the delivery format is different in that we will include time to gain experience through practical hands-on boat work before taking the formal course. We typically find that 30 hours' guided practical experience on the boat forms the minimum knowledge base required, this suits people with less experience or who prefer to learn at a slower pace. The Course can be completed over a week if done intensely or spread-out over several months as required, and in the case of Pirate Club volunteers will entail a commitment to offer their services to the club on the completion of training. The minimum age requirement is 17.

Community Crew Course (newcomer or some experience)

This is a very practical, hands-on course that will take the younger and/or less experienced boater and give them experience on all aspects of running a boat. This is a 20 hour course which can be run over a weekend or spread over 4 or 5 weekly sessions depending upon your requirements. The minimum age requirement is 14.

Boat Handling Certificate (newcomer or some experience)

This is a practical, hands-on course based on the Complete Crew Course. It is designed for people and small groups with their own boat, or those contemplating a boating holiday, who would like to get some training to enable them to operate their boat safely and efficiently. The training can be carried out either at our club or on the persons own boat (subject to certain requirements), and can be taken over one or two days depending on aptitude and experience. Please note that this course is not suitable if you are intending to skipper a small passenger or work boat. The minimum age requirement is 14.

Training for Young People

The Pirate Castle is experienced at training young people in boating skills. We run our own training at the Pirate Castle and elsewhere. In addition to the Complete Crew Course we have run our own Junior Skippers Scheme where we train youngsters in basic boating skills. Perhaps we could offer something like this for your club. Training could be over 5 days on board ‘Pirate Prince’ with 6 young people and two of your staff. The course could be run on a weekly basis or over a couple of residential weekends and a couple of evenings. The minimum age requirement is 8+.

Call the Pirate Castle on 020 7267 6605 and ask us about canal boat training or e-mail us at