Historic Narrowboat Skipper & Crew – Volunteers Wanted

This is an opportunity to work with the Hazel project, which uses a 100-year old wooden boat as a resource, to promote wellbeing in general and provide respite and short escapes for people experiencing mental health difficulties.

Learning boating skills and boatcraft opens up a whole friendly world of other boaters and empowers you to explore Britain’s fantastic network of historic waterways. Being on a boat changes your perspective from the everyday. It’s a slower pace and closer to the outdoors.

Crew might be steering the boat, paying attention to the engine, welcoming people on board, giving instructions to passengers or telling them about the canal, tying up, loading and casting off and calmly carrying out emergency procedures, if they are ever needed.

The Skipper is in overall charge, so they need to understand how to do all these things and coordinate the rest of crew to make sure they are done safely. The Skipper also needs to take care of the passengers, who may have a range of support needs. A vital part of this role is taking care of the boats and keeping them in good condition, so you need to be willing to stay and tidy up at the end of a trip.

Volunteers take trips on Hazel, a restored historic narrowboat, stopping along the way to collect donations from the local community. These are either recycled or sold in our charity shop. You will be helping keep our charity afloat (ahem), allowing us to continue conserving heritage and working with people with poor mental health. You will also be contributing to a recycling initiative, all whilst reconnecting with the outdoors.

You also need attention to detail, awareness of surroundings, understanding of hazards, communication and listening,and working with people. The role requires moderate physical fitness and the ability to keep balance and move about in small spaces and around the boat.

Experience of mental health issues is desirable but not essential; however an inclusive attitude is a must.

The most important quality we need in crew and skipper is reliability, as without them the boat cannot operate!

Find other voluntary roles at the WCBS: Do-it.org search.

Membership application form or Online application form (needs printing)

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Crew Induction Day – Wednesday 7 June, 2017

If you are thinking of volunteering as crew, this is a good time to start.

All current trainee crew are required to attend an induction day if they haven’t done so before, it will count towards your CCC (Community Crew Course), BHC (Boat Handling Certificate) or CCBM (Certificate in Community Boat Management) training, when we have full NCBA (National Community Boats Association) accreditation.

If you want to attend but can’t make this date please reply anyway as we may be having another session on a Saturday in July.

RSVP please to atc@wcbs.org.uk (this will forward to Phil, Tony & Claire)


  • 9:00am Registration
  • Volunteer Crew Agreement
  • Volunteer crew training record
  • Volunteer questionnaire
  • Medical form – Sealed (what ambulance services need to know when carting you away)
  • Medical form – Open (what the Skipper needs to know)
  • DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) Form – fill in now or later
  • Photo Consent Form
  • Hand Out Crew Handbook
  • Membership Form (not essential but volunteers are encouraged to be members as well)
  • (anything I’ve forgotten)
  • 10:00am Start
  • Intro to Society
  • Intro to Hazel Project
  • Society’s Expectations of Volunteers
  • Volunteers Expectations of Society (ask!)
  • Vulnerable Adults/Volunteers Policy
  • Equality & Diversity Policy
  • Safeguarding
  • Crew Handbook
  • Guided Tour of Hazel
  • Operating the Wheelchair Lift
  • (anything I’ve forgotten)
  • 2:00pm Finish (canal time – i.e. very approximate time)

The induction will be on Hazel in Portland Basin. Lunch included, please inform us if vegetarian etc.