Beatrice is operated by two volunteers, a qualified skipper and a trained crew member. Crew members take a full part in running the boat, under the supervision of the skipper. They take their turn at the helm and at working the locks. Passengers are encouraged to help with the locks but, with children, a member of school staff must also help.
Our crew is responsible for the safe handling of the boat but teachers and carers are responsible for their charges.
Because our volunteers are effectively supervised by teachers or carers in interacting with children and vulnerable adults, they do not need to have DBS clearances. This used to be called CRB checking. The skipper has the main responsibility for the boat, but crew members must be able to take control in an emergency. Both must be able to cope if there is an accident or emergency, steering the boat to the canal side and mooring it. Once safely moored they have to be able to disembark passengers, including those in wheel chairs, call for assistance, and respond to any eventuality. This takes a calm head and some physical strength, but we do give all our volunteers full training.
Crew who wish to do so may go on to train to become qualified as a skipper, at our expense. We currently have eight qualified skippers but hope to raise this to ten or even twelve.
If you are interested in volunteering, a trial run will be arranged. You will go out with Terry, the Training Skipper, and an experienced crew member to see if you are suited to the role. Although it’s a responsible position, crewing Beatrice is good, healthy fun and working with our passengers is a delight. Please leave your details using the Contact Us page and we will be in touch with you.