“THAMES BOATING CERTIFICATE”

SYLLABUS AND INFORMATION

OBJECTIVES and MISSION STATEMENT

OBJECTIVES

To enhance the standard of MOTOR BOATING SKILLS and improve the knowledge of procedures on the Thames

MISSION STATEMENT

Through instruction build up the skills of PRACTICAL BOATING and KNOWLEDGE for safer cruising on the River Thames

 

FOLLOWING AN EXAMINATION PROCESS LEADING TO

“THAMES BOATING CERTIFICATE”

(Through the ATYC)

The ‘Syllabus’ defined below has been built to cover all powered driven recreational craft on the River Thames – Including Narrow Boats and Barges

It is cognisant of all motorised propulsion, steering and bow thrusters.

 

TRAINING WILL BE AVAILABLE THROUGH ATYC CLUBS

WHOSE TRAINERS HAVE ATTENDED INSTRUCTION COURSES AND

WHO HAVE ACHIEVED THE NECESSARY ATYC STANDARD TO TEACH

AND WHO SUBSCRIBE TO THE SCHEME’

(A full list of Association of Thames Yacht Clubs subscribing to this scheme

will be found on the ATYC Web Page - www.atyc.co.uk)

NOTE: ONLY WHEN AGREED BY ATYC

 

BOATERS WHO ARE MEMBERS OF CLUBS WHO FEEL THEY ARE COMPETENT TO THE ATYC STANDARD CAN CALL FOR AN EXAMINATION TO ASSESS THEIR SKILLS FOR CERTIFICATION

 

ATYC WILL ARRANGE TRAINING SEMINARS FOR CLUB TRAINERS WHO WISH TO PARTICIPATE IN THE SCHEME.

 

CERTIFICATION IS AFTER EXAMINATION

Full details of the process will be found at the end of this syllabus

 

‘SYLLABUS’

OVERVIEW

A.        Theoretical content taught in lecture room.

B.        Six prescribed boating manoeuvres that candidate should master.

B.1       Initially taught in the lecture room

B.2       Then taught and practiced on the water.

C         Practical line handling and throwing.

C.1      Ability to tie a Clove Hitch and Round Turn, Bowline and Knowledge and use of a Bargeman’s Hitch

 

D.        Knowledge of the ‘Glossary of Terms’ used on the Thames

 

THAMES KNOWLEDGE

1.         BE AWARE OF THE CONDITIONS

1

The Thames is a natural river which runs down hill to the sea. For example if it was left to run free like the Rhine it would be a fast running river, bumbling or rushing through a series of rapids as the ground fell away.

2.

The river has been managed for centuries by the use of weirs that control the current and flow of the water.     Passage through these barriers is by the use of a gated chamber known as a “Lock”.

3.

Between these ‘Locks’ the river continues to flow ‘down stream’, and dependent upon the conditions will be faster or slower.

4.

It should be remembered that this stream or current is not the same as the conditions that will be faced once passing through Teddington, the last normal lock on the Thames.   Once through that lock the boater will face a ‘Tide’.   This tide flows up to Teddington every six hours – a ‘Flood Tide” and then ‘Ebbs’ for six hours – twelve hour cycle.

Note:   There are particular circumstances with this London tide above Barnes which will be described when considering the “TIDEWAY” endorsement within this scheme.

5.

AS WELL AS THE STREAM the boater must consider other elements that will be faced when cruising and manoeuvring the boat.

6.

What the wind is doing is most important, especially if it is strong. So when handling the boat a competent skipper will always be aware of both the wind and stream!

7.

The majority of the time the Thames Boater will have a stream that is stronger than the other elements.   With this in mind, the boat is ALWAYS MOORED INTO THE STREAM.  

Therfore a boat is invariably moored into the stream.   This requires a vessel proceeding downstream to turn the vessel around into the stream to moor.

Occasionally, circumstances may dictate mooring downstream but this should not be attempted unless absolutely necessary.   Once the upstream mooring has been mastered the boat may be moored stern into the stream using the stern cleat of the boat rather than the bow. (See below on boating handling sections of this syllabus.)

8.

If however, the Wind’ is stronger than the stream, which can happen rarely, an accomplished skipper will be aware of this and manage the boat accordingly. For example it is in order to moor into the wind rather than the stream.

9.

At times the wind can be on either side and due consideration of this when mooring will be required.   Blowing onto the mooring or being blown off has to be considered when planning the mooring.

10.

At times when there is a lot of rain the river can become swollen with the extra water.   At those times there is a system on the Thames of Warning Red and Yellow Boards to advise that the river is in flood.

“When these boards are displayed on lock gates, they advise users of all boats not to navigate because the strong flows make it difficult and dangerous. Those in hire boats arriving at a lock where these boards are displayed should stop immediately and contact their hire boat operator to ask their instructions.”

1.

The EA Waterways staff will place a YELLOW board at either end of each lock in the reaches that have a growing stream problem.

    “When these boards are displayed on lock gates, they advise users of unpowered boats not to navigate and users of powered boats to find safe mooring. This is because river flows are likely to strengthen and red boards could be displayed very soon and without warning.”

 

    “When these boards are displayed on lock gates, they advise users of all unpowered boats not to navigate and users of powered boats to navigate with caution.”

2.

As the stream increases a RED board will be placed.

“When these boards are displayed on lock gates, they advise users of all boats not to navigate because the strong flows make it difficult and dangerous. Those in hire boats arriving at a lock where these boards are displayed should stop immediately and contact their hire boat operator to ask their instructions.”

3.

The boards are for guidance only.   Well found boats with a competent “master/skipper” with sufficient power are still able to navigate with care.  

 

The message – always THINK about conditions

when mooring or manoeuvring the boat!

 

2.         USING THE LOCKS

PLEASE NOTE: Whilst it is at times acceptable to work a lock using a centre breast line the Thames Conservancy Regulations; still in use by the Environment Agency, makes it mandatory to use a bow and stern line when working Thames locks.

1.

Place adequate fenders around the boat to meet the level of the lay-bye and to protect both sides of the hull. Recognising that going up river, the hull and rubbing strake will need protection; and when the lock is full, protection is required on the waterline.

Fendering is also required to protect the hull from other craft using the lock at the same time, and who might come alongside your boat or you’re coming alongside them.

2.

Queue on the lay-by, moving up as boats move into the lock or moor again.   Protocol on the Thames is that you take your turn on entry; even if you have to moor on the other side of the lay-bye and wait.

3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be aware of the movement of the water as the lock works, both upstream and down and during operation.

1

Dependent upon river conditions, be aware of the strength of flow above the weir which will pull craft towards the flow.    

2.

Especial care is required when the entrance to lock has the weir alongside it – Chertsey weir is an example.

3.

Below the lock the turbulence as the water is let out of the lock gates.

4.

Always read the water to note the wind, turbulence and stream.

 

4.

Obey the instructions of the lock keeper – advise him/her if you require assistance.   It is the lock keeper’s prerogative to pack the lock to suit the traffic, but there are no priorities other than an emergency boat on call.   Passenger boats take their turn.

5.

If the lock is busy, move right up the lock chamber to your position.

6.

Unless otherwise advised moor on alternate sides to make best use of the available space

7.

Avoid ‘death defying’ leaps by stopping the boat   using the engines in the exact position you need to be in, and by proper throwing of the mooring lines from the boat around the lock bollard and back to the boat.

8.

Never tie up in a lock, but hold the line around the boat’s mooring cleat by taking a “turn” and standing up to work the line as the boat moves either up or down as the lock works.

9

Recognise that on some boats, when there is no power there is no steerage and entry to the lock has to be cognisant of this by using short burst of power to enable steerage.

10.

Recognise that on some boats it is not possible to crew from a sloping bow and practise with the method that suits each individual boat by working the lock from the cockpit.

11.

It is usual to moor into the stream, but coming down stream into a lock or on an upriver lay-bye this is not possible.     It is better practise to make the boat’s stern line first in these instances.

12

If using the chains to assist, wearing safety gloves is recommended.   If however holding the chain do not try and pull the boat into the side as this can be a dangerous activity with the boat moving away from the side and the crew being straddled between boat and chain – inevitably there will be a swimming practice.

13

On the Thames the locks are manned as follows (2009)

  • January - March 09.15-1600
  • April 0900-17.30
  • May 0900-18.30
  • June - August 09.00-19.00
  • September 09.00-18.00
  • October 09.00-17.00
  • November - December 09.15-16.00

Teddington lock provides 24-hour service throughout the year.

 

14.

Lock keepers take their lunch break between 1300 – 1400.

 

During summer months extra staff works the locks to provide continuous service.  

 

A large white board is positioned at each end of the lock.  

 

When the lock is unmanned a blue disc is unfolded with the words “No Service”.

At those times it is in order for boaters to work the lock themselves using the out of hours power that is available from 0700 – 2100hrs in the summer months – it changes with the hour amendment March and October.

 

3.      PROTOCOLS

PLEASE NOTE: There is a speed limit on the Thames above Teddington of 8 kilometres per hour – Approximately 4.9 miles per hour – 4.2 knots - A fast walking pace.   Some boats have very clean entry into the water and make little wash, others, normally the smaller runabout make more.     Skippers should be aware of what is happening and look behind and see what their wash is doing as it hits the bank and how it affects moored craft.

Be aware that boats in convoy, multiply the effect of wash when the river is narrow – lock cuts are an example. This is called ‘canal affect’.

1

The river can be extremely busy when used by many different disciplines.

2.

In the mid 1980’s it was recognised that in some reaches there could be over-crowding and this could lead to aggravation. The River User Groups were set up to help solve this problem as well as other important local issues.   One outcome of this was a published explanation by different users of the river and this has been carried forward by the EA.

3

It is necessary for the motor boater to understand why other users may appear to be undertaking manoeuvres that in the first instance can cause annoyance to a cruising motor boater who is not aware of why it is happening. (It is also necessary that other disciplines should also understand.)

4.

Fishermen are asked to consider passing traffic and avoid casting their lines across the line of cruising boats.   To help, the cruising motor boater should be aware of what is happening on the bank and where possible try to give the angler some help by moving out from the bank side when traffic on the river allows.

5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sailing Boats. High sided motor boats are very vulnerable to wind on their beam as are some narrow boats.

With any wind, sailing boats are much more manoeuvrable and can easily avoid a motor boat that maintains a slow forward speed.

1.

Motor Boaters should be aware of this

2.

Motor Boaters should be aware that in the vicinity of sailing clubs from time to time sailing craft congregate behind their starting line and wait for the starting gun.   Normally it gives a ten, five minute warning and then the starting gun which sets off the sailing boats around normally a diagonal course.   Motor Boats should endeavour to give the starting line a wide berth where possible, and avoid the turning buoys where sailing boats will be converging to turn around the mark.

3

It is usually better to take a very slow straight course through racing or milling yachts.   These sailing boats are in any wind able to manoeuvre around such motor boats by tacking in front or behind. Common sense and understanding is required from all parties – DO NOTE -SOME TIMES IT IS NECESSARY TO TAKE AVOIDING ACTION!

 

6.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rowing craft should also be treated with respect.   It does not take much wash for the water to run down the side of the rowing shell and ship water onto the rowers – not very comfortable.

1.

Motor Boats should cut their speed overtaking or passing a rowing craft.   Remember that it takes time for the effect of the wash to diminish so the reduction should take place earlier than when alongside.

2.

When rowing crews are embarking or disembarking on the shore the rowing crews are vulnerable.   Motor Boats should reduce their speed to alleviate their wash.

3.

All rowing shells with have an identification number on the side.

4.

Chase and rescue boats are all registered with the EA and should fly an identification pennant

5.

Other than overtaking, rowing craft should not row abreast unless on a previously announced regatta, with the course suitably marked.

6.

Between Teddington and Putney there is a PLA/Thames Rowing booklet advising where rowing craft are permitted to be and some of the information it contains is pertinent to the upper Thames Motor Boater.

 

7.

By arrangement with the River User Groups and with the permission of the EA the river can have areas buoyed off used for regattas and such other events.   At such time boats should ease down and cruise with caution.

8.

The Environment Agency should be advised of any untoward incident or complaint, advising the time and place.

The Telephone number to be used is 0800 80 70 60

 

4.      SAFETY AND PRACTICE

PLEASE NOTE: Life Jacket or Buoyancy Aids.   It is RYA policy that a life jacket is put on before a boating activity starts.     Then the decision can be made to take it off should circumstances allow.   There are times when cruising on the upper river with a full crew and the conditions allow, the use of a life jacket can be dispensed. BUT THE DECISON HAS TO BE TAKEN AFTER A FULL RISK ANALYSIS BY THE SKIPPER

Children and others who cannot swim should always wear suitable life jackets or buoyancy aids.

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boating can be inherently dangerous, but providing proper steps are taken any risk has to be considered minimal.

1.

Imagine that your boat is taken out of the water and is on hard standing on either trolley or chocks.

2

If you were to walk around the side of the boat, enormous care would be taken as you moved around, holding onto the boat for safety to prevent a fall down to the ground.

3

The same care should be taken when the boat is afloat.   One hand always on the boat for safety.

4.

This is most important when stepping on or of off the boat.   NEVER straddle your weight between your legs.   Have your weight comfortably either on the boat or on the shore or pontoon.

 

2,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As well as conditions already addressed, there is one basic skill that needs to be mastered.

1

The ability to hold your craft completely still by sensitive use of power and steering.

2

 

 

 

 

 

.

All boaters should practise the manoeuvre:

1.

Face the boat into the constant element

2

With the use of the engine find the revolutions that will hold the boat still in the water.   Take a sighting on the shore to assist your staying in the same place.

3

At the same time sympathetic use of the steering can assist. Remember with some outboard propulsion, no power, no steerage.

4.

It becomes more difficult with a wind, but take the opportunity to practise in these conditions.

 

3.

Mastering this skill will make it easy to moor, enter a lock, and bring your craft to any position under complete control.

 

3.

An appreciation of fire risk on board a boat.   The following information is most useful for the boater to understand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Identify a serviceable BSS approved fire extinguisher:

1

The appliance is in a good condition, rust free and free of any significant denting.

2

The gauge (if fitted) is in the green.

3

The minimum fire rating is 5A/34B

4

  • The appliance carries a suitable Type Approval marking such as a Kite, a BAFE, a LPCB ,NF or Wheel.

 

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Identify the most suitable fire suppression agent for an engine room.

1

Should be an automatic appliance.

2

Halon has been illegal since Jan 2004

3

Powder leaves a residue and can damage engines if ingested. The powder may not reach the seat of the fire.

4

Halon replacement agents such as FE36 and FM 200 remove the oxygen from the engine compartment thus starving the fire.

5

Only one appliance per compartment is recommended. The size of the appliance is set by the volume of the engine compartment.

 

3.

Actions to be taken on identifying an engine room fire. (boat specific).

 

Do not raise any hatches

1

As quickly as possible without panic make for the nearest bank.

2

  • Make a Mayday call/mobile phone call – on the Thames a 999 Mobile is preferable

3

  • Circumstances will dictate the action – if there is imminent danger of explosion providing all can swim or have life jackets abandon the ship to make for the shore by swimming or walking!

4

  • Call all crew/passengers on deck and to wear lifejackets.

5

Activate the remote fire suppression system (if fitted).

6

  • If the bank is safely made, moor the vessel,  turn off the engine, switch off bilge blowers and close engine compartment ventilators (if fitted).   Do not moor on any other boat!

7

Turn off the fuel cocks and battery master switches (if located outside of the engine compartment) and isolate the gas bottles if time permits.   If possible remove them!   But do not delay your safety is the priority!

8

  • Ensure that all crew/passengers are gathered at a safe distance from the vessel and await the arrival of the fire crews.

 

 

 

5.      RIVER ABOVE TEDDINGTON – ‘RULES OF THE ROAD’

NOTE:   PORT indicates the left hand side of the boat facing the front, or to use nautical terms “The PORT side, in boating terms referred to as the RED side is the left side of the boat facing the BOW.

            Conversely, the STARBOARD side, is coloured GREEN is the right hand side of the boat again facing the BOW.

            When the boat is turned to face downstream, the sides of the boat retain the same designations.  

1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a recognised system of marking safe channels by using “BUOYS”. It is the recognised IALA system. (Not covered in this syllabus)

1.

Working inwards from the sea cruising upstream different shaped buoys with different top marks and red and green buoys indicate the navigation channel.

2.

The same system continues above Teddington and boaters will find that there are RED and GREEN buoys marking where there is danger.

3.

Cruising UPSTREAM, the rule is that buoys will be found marking an area of danger.      

Red buoys indicate that the danger is to the PORT (left) of the buoy.

It follows that the buoy should be left on the PORT side of the boat.

Likewise, there are Green Buoys marking danger on the other side and the Green Buoys should on the starboard hand, with the danger the other side of the buoy.

4.

Conversely cruising DOWNSTREAM the buoys will not move – coming downs stream the red buoys are to be left on the STARBOARD side.  

The designation of the sides of the boat remain the same – what has changed is the direction of travel!

 

2.

Craft navigate upstream using a course STARBOARD of the centre of the river.

Conversely coming downstream boats will be found cruising down the river nearer to the left hand side of the river, again keeping to their STARBOARD.

3.

Overtaking is permissible when the river is wide enough, and there is nothing coming towards you that will impede the manoeuvre.     There is no designated side to overtake, what is safer is preferable.   Be aware of approaching bends – ensure you can see what is coming down or up!

The overtaking boat is responsible for the safety of the manoeuvre until finally past and clear of the overtaken vessel.

4.

Boats cruising upstream give way at bridges and at other narrow places to those coming down stream,  

This makes common sense as the boat coming down stream has the stream on its stern (name of the back of the boat) and therefore is harder to manoeuvre.

5.

 

 

 

 

On the Thames there are signals made by the boat’s horn to indicate what is the intention of the boat making the sound.

1.

ONE short blast means I am altering course to STARBOARD

2.

TWO short blasts mean “I am altering course to PORT

3,

THREE short blasts mean “My engines are GOING ASTERN

4.

FOUR BLASTS (pause) ONE BLAST – Tuning right around to STARBOARD

5

FOUR BLASTS (pause) TWO BLAST – Tuning left around to PORT

6

ONE LONG TWO SHORT BLASTS – Unable to manoeuvre

 

        

6.      MOORING

1.

Where to moor when cruising the river between Teddington and Lechlade is an often asked question.

2.

The EA and Local Authorities provide transit overnight moorings, and depending upon local circumstances there might be an element of ‘free’ moorings.

3.

Regretfully growing problems are boats that do not have a base mooring taking up these moorings.     Action is continuing by the authorities to police this situation.

4.

As a rule of thumb, up to three nights on these moorings is acceptable, albeit there might be a charge.     After that it is expected that the cruising boat moves on to find another mooring to allow other cruising boats a mooring.

5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is now policy to expect where the river is wide enough boats raft out on each other to moor when all the alongside moorings are full.   The protocol for this is:

1.

Ask the host boat for permission which should not be refused.

2.

Ensure that your craft is adequately fendered to meet hull to hull.

3.

Moor your craft fore and aft and use springs to stop movement of the boat.

4.

Take a shore line from the boat to the bank to take the weight of your craft off the host boat.

5.

Ask the host boat which way you should pass over the host boat.   Over the bow or stern.

6.

It is easier for similar boats to moor together, but probably if you have learnt your skill a comfortable mooring can be accommodated.

SEE PRESCRIBED MOORING EXERCISES BELOW.

 

6.

Moorings can be taken on any land that does not proscribe mooring, but the land owner might well levy a charge

7.

It is possible to anchor off the fairway and lay overnight.

SEE PRESCRIBED ANCHORING EXERCISES BELOW

 

 

7.         MANOEUVRING TWIN SCREW BOATS with ONE ENGINE DOWN

1.

The ability to manoeuvre a twin screw boat is a skill that is required.

2.

A twin screw boat is not designed to steer easily with one engine down

3

The time to practise this is when you are learning

4

During the entry to the lock exercise, exit using one engine will be practised.

 

8.         HOLDING POSITION

1.

This has been explained earlier in the syllabus

2,

During the entry to the lock exercise you will have opportunity to practise this exercise.

During training take advantage of any circumstance where there is an element that you can work against to see how you can hold your boat.

 

REFERENCE BOOKS:

ATYC Glossary of terms used in describing boating manoeuvres

A Users Guide to the River Thames Edition 8/2009 – Published by EA

Tide Tables and Port Information (Annual Publication) Published by PLA

Rowing on the Tideway 2009 – Published by PLA

Boatyards Marinas and Services – Published by TBTA (Thames Boat Trades Association)

River Thames Recreational Users Guide – Teddington to Sea Reach – PLA

Environment Agency Visit Thames Web Site – www.visitthames.co.uk

 

PRESCRIBED TESTS FROM HAND BOOK AMENDED TO SUIT

AA.      Mooring Alongside with springs – (Once scheme approved Andrew B will work this up, mentioning use of bow thrusters and take cognisance of rafting out and holding water)

BB.      Anchoring or using Mud Weight. – (Once scheme approved Dennis H will work this up)

CC.      Mooring 45 degrees into the bank using a stern anchor to keep the stern off the bank. (Once scheme approved the 2010 Test will be used – MS)

DD       Reversing the boat (Once scheme approved Mike C will work this up)

EE.      Towing another boat in an emergency (Once scheme approved Norman W will work this up)

FF        Working a Lock (Once scheme approved MS will work this up)

.XX      Practical test of throwing lines, taking turns around Bollards/Cleats (Question Knots/Bends?)

 

 

 

EXAMINATION PROCESS:

After training within the club environment, the club/candidates can request the services of an approved ATYC Examiner who will attend the club to examine candidates at an agreed date.

There will be a fee of £10 for each examination.

The club or owners will provide the appropriate boats, preferable their own, ensuring that they are adequately insured, licensed and have a valid BSS certificate.

A suitable room to take the theoretical test will be required.

Each boat will need a crew.   The examiner is not to be considered as crew.

The practical test will be taken on the boat with the propulsion/type configuration for which the candidate wishes to obtain the necessary certification.     Passing the examination process will enable the successful candidate fly the burgee for the class for which his qualification has been achieved.   This will show that the skipper of the boat has the appropriate skills for the Thames for that configuration of boat.   The burgee should not be flown if the boat is being skippered by any other person.

The examiner will require recompense for his/her travelling expenses and will need suitable refreshment during the day.   It is the responsibility of the organising club or candidate to arrange the necessary payment.   The cost will be agreed before the day of the examination.

On the completion of the examination, successful candidates will be advised and the scheme managers will arrange certificates and burgees to be forwarded.

The cost the burgee or other regalia will be an additional to the examiners expenses.

 

 

 

040110-ms (1530 amended)

160310-ms