Certificate of Boat Management
An Overview.R. J. Abbott. Registered IWA Trainer & Assessor.
There are situations when organisations such as small private businesses, community groups and charities operate vessels for up to 12 passengers on inland waterways. Often these organisations experience a regular turnover of staff and/or volunteers and therefore they would find it very difficult to keep finding qualified skippers, Steerer's and crew to operate their vessels. Another financial consideration is the cost of frequent training for new staff and/or volunteers, particularly if the operation is seasonal.
The IWA's Certificate of Boat Management Scheme is designed to ensure passenger and crew safety within a defined area of operation and for a specific operational purpose such as boat pleasure trips and charters. However it is not applicable to public transport service operations such as a water bus or ferry.
To satisfy the needs of small organisations the Inland Waterways Association developed a Certificate of Boat Management Scheme in 2008 to ensure that accreditation and certification of persons managing and steering Small Passenger Boats can be achieved through a system of structured training and assessment. The training and assessment of such persons is appropriate to the operation of Small Passenger Boats carrying not more than 12 passengers on Category A Waters (narrow & shallow, low risk) and is accepted by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency(MCA). Currently practicing Small Passenger Boat Steerer's can claim competency established through long term gained knowledge & experience of the role. This is referred to as Non Accredited Prior Qualification. An approved and qualified IWA Trainer Assessor would determine when persons can claim sufficient competency, or have achieved an acceptable level of competence through training within their organisation. When successful they will then be issued with an IWA Certificate of Boat Management. (COBM). This qualification would not normally be transferable to another waterway or a non associated organisation.
So that small organisations can further reduce their training cost they firstly establish a Boat Operations Training Manager position. This person would need to be qualified to a minimum standard by having a RYA Inland Waterways Helmsman's Certificate, (IWHC) or another acceptable qualification. When such a training manager is fully trained, qualified and certificated by a senior IWA Moderator he can then train and assess within the organisation and apply to the appointed IWA Trainer & Assessor for Steerer's certificates of competency. The appointed Trainer & Assessor would then continue to have an overseeing role to ensure compliance, continuity and quality of the training that satisfies the IWA Scheme. The appointed Trainer & Assessor would then arrange for qualified Steerer's to receive their Certificate of Boat Management.
Private tuition is also available for individuals who may be intending to begin inland waterways boating, hire a holiday boat or would just like to improve their skills and knowledge and get more enjoyment from their boating experiences on a river or canal.