Narrowboating scheme

Get the theory and the practical experience you need to become a qualified narrowboat skipper

Run exciting narrowboat trips with our narrowboating scheme.

Taking girls out on narrowboats, whether for a day trip or a residential, provides a great opportunity for them to do something new, challenging and fun. What’s more, some Girlguiding countries, regions and counties either own narrowboats or have access to community boats that Girlguiding groups can use.

Narrowboating sessions must be led by a qualified skipper - and this scheme teaches you all you need to know so you can take girls on watery adventures!

If you’re interested in learning to drive other powered boats, the Royal Yatching Association (RYA) offers training and qualifications, including for river cruisers and cruisers on tidal waters.

What will I learn?

Our narrowboating scheme covers the theory, knowledge and practical skills you need. It includes 3 compulsory modules that cover:

  • Safety
  • Boat handling
  • Taking girls afloat

These 3 modules will qualify you to take girls out on canals in a narrowboat, but not on more open water. An additional module is available for those who wish to take girls out on a river or on tidal waters.

What will I need to do?

  • Attend a Girlguiding-approved narrowboating training course.
  • Gain further experience of narrowboating and record it in your log book.
  • Attend a Girlguiding-approved assessment course.
  • Plan and complete an assessed boat journey.
  • You'll also need an up-to-date 1st response certificate or higher first aid qualification.

Who can take this qualification?

Anyone who's interested in supporting girls and young women to go narrowboating. You don't have to be a Girlguiding member.

You should have some prior boating experience but some countries and regions offer training for beginners. Enthusiasm is also essential!

How much will it cost?

You'll need to pay the cost of training and assessment. Speak to your outdoor activities adviser for more information. If you need financial support, there may be grants or funds you can access.

How can I get started?

  1. Speak to your commissioner, who'll put you in touch with your local outdoor activities adviser or water adviser.
  2. Download a copy of the Girlguiding narrowboating scheme. This contains the syllabus you need to cover and guidance on completing the scheme.
  3. Your local outdoor activities adviser will be able to help you with next steps, like finding a Girlguiding narrowboating training to attend.

When are the courses running?

Courses run throughout the year, and are organised by training teams in countries and regions. You can attend a course in any region - it doesn't have to be the region you belong to.

When a course is organised it will appear on this page, so check regularly for updates.

How can I find out more and book?

For more information about these courses, you can email [email protected] and we'll put you in touch.

Renewing your qualification

This qualification should be renewed every 3 years. To renew yours, you'll need to have a log of relevant boating sessions within the last 3 years, your renewal form and a copy of your up-to-date 1st response certificate or a higher first aid qualification. Send these to [email protected] for your renewal to be processed.