Do I need training before hiring a Bruce Boat?
Bruce accessible boats are wide beam and weigh in excess of 20 tons. They are specially designed and equipped with boarding ramps and hydraulic lifts. Our guests include people with physical disabilities and other special needs. Bruce Boats are committed to safe boating and because our boats are larger and different, in both design and in use, to most other canal boats, for self-drive hire we ask that hirers have:
- Appropriate previous boating experience (please discuss this with the Bookings Administrator) OR
- Undertake training with us
We have over 30 years of expertise in boat handling and community boat management and our training team run a variety of courses over the year:
- Basic Boat Handling– for hirer skippers and crew
- Distance Learning and Training Package – for hirer skippers and crew
- Advanced Practical Training and Certification– for groups or individuals involved in community boating.
Basic boat handling: If you do not have an experienced skipper within your group, the best option for training is to attend our 2-day basic boat-handling course. These take place on our boats from Great Bedwyn, at regular intervals throughout the season, usually at a weekend. Our aim is to enable hirer skippers and crew to become fully conversant with all aspects of operating a Bruce Branch boat, both safely and enjoyably, on the Kennet and Avon Canal.
The cost for holiday hire skippers and crew is just £175 per person and includes all catering and accommodation on the boat. The course is suitable for the less experienced boater and complete beginners alike.
‘The training weekend was intense, thorough, professionally done and great fun. The trainers were demanding, patient, inspired confidence and were open to discussion and questions. The hands-on practical focus on helming and emergency drills were invaluable – we would never have left Bedwyn Wharf without it!– Annie Whitcher
It’s essential learning for skippering the barge and keeping additional crew/passengers safe. Without it we wouldn’t have briefed our ‘crew’ as thoroughly, been aware of the dangers and felt competent to deal with them, confidently got through locks, negotiated low water levels and got ‘ungrounded’!
We were provided during the training and on board with clear structures and procedures – great to be able to refer to.
. . . And the food was yummy and plentiful!’
The Distance Learning and Training Package: We understand that some of our groups may live a long way away or have other reasons that prevent their skipper or crew from attending a 2-day training course. Therefore, with this in mind, we have developed our distance learning and training package. This involves some online learning beforehand and then having one of our trainers with you for the first day and a half of your hire. The cost of this is £125 per group.
We undertook the online training as we were unable to attend any of the training weekends in person. The videos were engaging and informative, and the key points and associated reading were thorough. There was a lot to learn and the questions were challenging, making us feel we had covered and digested all the key detail. Overall we felt it provided a great foundation to build on when we subsequently took out a boat with further guidance from the trainer on our first day.– Caroline Ball
Advanced Training and Certification: we offer the National Community Boats Association Certificate in Community Boat Management (CCBM) course to both organisations involved in community boating and private individuals seeking this qualification. We can also offer single crew training days tailored to your needs.
Please contact our booking team to discuss your needs, availability and pricing.