About Wildcat Enterprises

RYA Training Centre WILDCAT ENTERPRISES is a small family run company established over 20 years for instruction in Inland Watercraft Handling, and engine / boat maintenance. It is a Royal Yachting Association Recognised Centre. Our operating base is on the South Oxford Canal 10 miles North of Banbury. We give instruction on peoples own boat anywhere in the U.K. if required, on both canals and rivers. We prefer individual or a maximum of two trainees per course. This ensures that training is given personally with far more hands on experience than if there were more trainees on a course. Our instructors have many years of experience in all types of craft.

Courses are run throughout the year with dates that are mutually agreeable, the only exception is Christmas!

The cost includes the relevant books and certificates, food and drink, if required. Courses of more than one day the trainees may stay on the boat. If they want to stay on the boat the night before or after a course there will be an additional charge.

Courses are run on fully equipped 57 foot long cruiser stern narrowboat .

People enjoying RYA training course


With the exception of the family taster days, we never take more than 2 people per course. All our prices are inclusive of VAT. Prices include drinks, the RYA course handbook and the RYA certificate. Courses commence at 0900hrs and finish between 1600-1700hrs. For those wishing to arrive the evening before the course to stay overnight on the boat there is an additional charge of £20 per head. All bedding is provided on the boat.

Courses can be held on your own boat anywhere in the country as long as traveling expenses from Oxford are added to the course.

R.Y.A. Inlands Waterways Helmsman’s Course

This course was developed jointly by the R.Y.A. and British Waterways (now Canal and Rivers Trust) to provide the essential practical knowledge and skills for the safe and proficient navigation of our inland waterways. It assumes no prior knowledge of boats. On successful completion of the course you will awarded the Inlands Waterways Helmsman’s Certificate.

2 days
One person - £350.00, Two people - £450.00

R.Y.A. Inlands Waterways Helmsman’s Course - Including extra experience days

This is comprehensive course includes narrow and wide locks and a long tunnel, and at the end trainees should be very competent to handle all situations on the Inland Waterways as well as having an interesting trip.

4 days
One person - £500.00, Two people - £600.00

R.Y.A. Inlands Waterways Helmsman’s Course - Assessment for experienced helmsman

This is for trainees who have plenty of experience and just want to be tested to be able to gain the Inlands Waterways Helmsman’s Certificate.

1 day
One person - £180.00, Two people - £240.00

R.Y.A. Inlands Waterways Crew Course

These can be undertaken at the same time while an Inlands Waterways course is in progress. It is aimed at complete novices, including youngsters, from 8 years old, who wish to be useful and competent crew on inland waterways craft. All aspects of crewing are covered including basic boat handling, lock work and dealing with emergencies.

Same time as an Helmsman Course
£150.00 Per crew

Wildcat One Day Boat Handling

This can be a day out on a boat or include tuition in handling a canal boat. It can be taken as the initial stage in obtaining the Inlands Waterways Helmsman’s Certificate.

1 day
One person - £170.00, Two people - £220.00

Family Taster Day

This can be a day out for the family on a boat or include tuition if wanted in handling a canal boat. It can be taken as the initial stage in obtaining the Inlands Waterways Helmsman’s Certificate.

1 day
£220.00 Per family

Diesel Engine and General Boat Maintenance Course

This covers the basic course of the R.Y.A. Diesel Engine Course plus basic maintenance of all the other items on a boat. It can be altered to what a trainee desires and having the training on your own boat has been found to be very popular.

1 day
£160.00 Per head

Shake Down Cruise on your own boat

Note this has been found to be helpful to people with a new boat, new to boating and before using a used boat. This often turns out to be a commissioning cruise

1 day


This is a part that is required if you wish to obtain The International Certificate of Competence Inland that is now required by many countries to use a boat in their country. The R.Y.A. Inland Waterways Helmsman Certificate is a possible adjunctive to the CEVNI to gain this. Please contact us for more information if required.

1 day
£30.00 Per head (Price includes CEVNI booklet)

Course Syllabus

RYA Inland Waterways Helmsman Course Syllabus

Deck work

  • Common nautical terms.
  • Handling warps and fenders.
  • Coiling rope, throwing line.
  • Knots and bends.
  • Securing to bollards, rings, cleats and mooring stakes.
  • Anchor work.
  • Centre line work.
  • Rope work in locks..

Helmsmanship and boat handling

  • Loading and weight distribution.
  • Steering in canal and river/control of speed
  • Interaction of bank and bottom of canal/river.
  • Turning
  • Berthing and unberthing, alongside and between obstructions.
  • Entry to locks
  • Recovery of man over board.
  • Rules of the road.
  • Steering backwards.

Personnel safety

  • Identification of risks – including cold shock.
  • Use of life jackets and buoyancy aids.
  • Avoidance of personnel injury, dangers of fending off.
  • Special risks to children

Boat safety

  • Fire hazards especially gas and petrol
  • Use of fire extinguishers
  • Watertight integrity.
  • Re floating after grounding.
  • Removing debris from fowled propeller.
  • Travelling during the dark
  • Tunnel light and navigation lights.


  • Engine care. Start up checks. Checks to be carried while running.
  • Needs for routine servicing.
  • Red diesel.
  • Diesel bug.


  • General understanding.
  • Operation of both wide and narrow locks.
  • Tending lines in locks.


  • Safety.
  • General understanding of operation of movable bridges.
  • General understanding and safety with tunnels.

Collision avoidance and regulations..

  • Rules for the Road for Inland Waterways.
  • Speed regulations.
  • Speed for the water.
  • Sound signals.
  • By-laws and local regulations including traffic signs and priorities.
  • Awareness of other national regulations CEVNI etc
  • V.H.F. marine band.

Care of environment

  • Avoiding damage to banks and other boats.
  • Pollution avoidance.
  • Consideration for other waterway users.

Before you start your cruise.

  • Planing your cruise.
  • Boat checks before setting off.

Diesel Engine and General Boat Maintenance Course Syllabus

  • The diesel engine
  • Principle of converting reciprocating motion to rotary
  • The diesel engine
  • The cycles
  • The power of the engine
  • Turbo charging
  • Inter cooler
  • Direct & indirect systems
  • Air supply
  • Fuel system
  • Fuel tank
  • Primary (water separator)
  • Mechanical lift pump
  • Electric fuel pump
  • Main fuel filter
  • The Injector pump
  • The governor
  • The Injector
  • General points of interest
  • Servicing
  • Bleeding the system & changing filters
  • Engine cooling
  • Calorifiers
  • Pressure caps
  • The electrical system
  • Wiring size & terminations
  • Valve clearance adjustment.
  • Drive belt assessment/adjustment
  • Engine mounts
  • Winterisation
  • Engine fault finding
  • Gearbox, coupling & propeller shaft
  • Shaft seals
  • Remote controls
  • Electrical problems
  • The rudder
  • Hoses
  • Painting
  • Galvanic corrosion
  • Glass fibre boats
  • Wooden boats

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Wildcat Enterprises

Return both the registration form and signed cheque to
The Boathouse, 39 St. John’s Road, Grove OX12 7NP


Feel free to contact us at anytime...

39 St. Johns Road, Grove, Wantage, Oxon, OX12 7NP