Helmsman Courses

Motor Cruising Training Cornwall

Motor Cruising - Helmsman

HelmsmanA two-day course covering basic boat handling, engine checks and safety.

This course is ideal for new owners conscious of the difficulty and hazards of boat handling in the marina.

It is useful for crews as well as skippers. Apart from the obvious safety benefits of extra boat handlers on board, it adds interest if everyone can contribute to the trip.

To book this course please contact Phil on +44 7971 546378

Requirements & Outcomes

Pre-course experience None
Assumed knowledge None
Minimum duration 2 days
Minimum age 12
Course content Boat preparation, boat handling, types of craft, engines and drives, engine operation and maintenance, safety and seamanship, rules of the road, securing to a buoy, berthing alongside, man overboard recovery
Ability after the course Competent to a handle motor cruiser of a specific type in sheltered waters
Further Information

HelmsmanAreas covered during this course are:

Safety and Seamanship:

To provide and understanding of the importance of crotch straps on life jackets, the differences between manual and self inflating automatic life jackets and appropriate clothing for cruising. You will be able to correctly fit a life jacket after this session.

Engine operation & maintenance:

Provide a knowledge of fuel consumption, range and reserve. You will gain an understanding in engine monitoring while running, routine maintenance checks and basic fault diagnosis. You will be able to perform pre-start checks, locate fuel cut offs and perform a close-down procedure at the end of this session.

Boat preparation:

Understanding of local boating conditions and regulations. CE certification marks and their relevance to capabilities of a particular vessel, loading; effect on handling and performance.

At the end of this session you will have gained an understanding of:

  • The use of safety equipment; life jackets; dangers and the needs of the crew
  • Use of a kill cord (if fitted)
  • Secure stowage of equipment before departure

You will be able to:

  • Tie and know the relevant use of relevant knots: round turn and two half hitch; bowline; clove hitch
  • Prepare boat, lines and fenders

Boat handling:

You will gain an understanding of hull shapes and propulsion systems.

These sessions will include providing the knowledge and understanding of:

  • Steering; controls and windage
  • The effect of wind on the bow

Carrying way:

  • Movement around the boat and positioning at sea
  • Boat controls in waves
  • Use of power and trim tabs

HelmsmanAt the end of this session you will be competent to start and stop the engine, steer in a straight course at low speeds, turn in a confined space, handle a boat at planing speed, Use trim tabs, power trim (where fitted).

Securing to a buoy:

You will gain an understanding of crew communication, methods of approach in various wind and the conditions, taking way off and the procedure when overshooting.

At the end of this session you will know how to prepare mooring warps, be able to use a boat hook, make fast and approach and secure to a buoy.

Berthing alongside and leaving:

You will understand methods of approach in various conditions.

At the end of this session you will be able to attach a fender, coil a line, throw a mooring line, secure ones to cleats, make fast alongside and use springs to leave a berth.

Man overboard:

HelmsmanYou will learn the various methods for recovering the person overboard from the water.

You will understand that engines should be switched off unless it is unsafe to do so.

You will be confident following this session to take immediate action, observe the man overboard, carry out the correct return with awareness of the propellors and approach and recover the man-overboard dummy.


Understanding different types of anchor and their appropriate use, depth of water; holding ground; scope required.

At the end of this session you will understand anchor stowage and attachment to the boat, preparation of anchor, chain and warp, correct approaches in various conditions, taking way off, the importance of crew communication whilst anchoring, use of the anchor windlass and weighing anchor.

You will be able to approach and anchor, check the holding and weigh anchor.

If you require further information about this course, contact Phil on +44 7971 546378.