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Unit Training & Event 2024

Clink on the on the doc to open our events and training shedue

Unit Training May 2024

2 Days PB2
MVS Inductions
MVS Foundation 

Unit Training May 2024

 Day 2 PB2
MVS Inductions
MVS Patirot 

Training AboardMVSPatriot 2024 See booking tab on top of the screen

Sunset Sailboats

GSC  April 2024

Thank you for a wonderful day at Gravesend Sail Club. Commodores Sail-By
follow the link below.
GSC Gravesend Sailing Club 20-04-24 (

We again help and support our home base members of Gravesend Sailing Club, we have supported the sailing club commodores sail-by 2024 

Thank you Rosmay and Trevor and team

MVS training continued at Gillingham with Rob and David


MVSPatriot 2024

Up date 5th February 2024 work is coming to end on the national training vessel after lift out and lift in works

Medway and Gravesend MVS team are hard at work, sanding, welding, grinding, and getting her ship shape

Test and rework the vessel to suit the best needs, all to a high standard


HOU Alan would like to thank our volunteers for their hard work. we have to continue our efforts, as we plan for sea trails and induction of crew and members ready for our new training programs and events It shows we move together and deal with all our projects as professionals, with the skills we have no project is too big. Thank you! 

Best regards 

Alan HoU 

Boat Cleaning

MVS Medway &  Gravesend  2024

2024 training continues with members and crew training 

Medway and Gravesend MVS team are hard at work, sanding, welding, grinding, and getting all our fleet shipshape

you can try PB Experience to suit you

We can cater to most abilities and the best needs for all, Crew are all trained


The Unit's training program will be released soon.

See The 2024 program top of the page 


Unit Training With MVS Medway & Gravesend Units 2024 April PB2 book now !

Medway and Gravesend Units welcomed our volunteers to the Gravesend Sailing Club. This is the home of MVS training Ribs  Annie, McGarrity, and Tempest, and from time to time our SIB Valkyrie" again for the unit training and vessels inductions continued through the summer months month's, Pre PB2 and of course the ongoing maintenance and cleaning projects for our Ribs.



So what's new? well exciting time ahead with our new training officer in post we are taking unit training inside for winter to come, covering many courses and areas of Seamanship, First Aid and Health & Safety, etc.

Volunteer day on board Patriot  

Medway and Gravesend Units welcomed our volunteers our units to Gillingham marina"This is the home of MVS national training vessel  MVS Patriot." again for the unit training and vessel inductions, and the ongoing maintenance and cleaning project.


These days were filled with Tasks and jobs to be done and inspection of many axillary systems on board to be tested with our fully qualified engineers and boat surveyor

 As with many day's events, this summer weather has not been kind to us, but this day started with an introduction by Head of Unit Alan Metcalf and a Safety briefing by John Griffiths  H&S Officer, again all our members are kept safe and know the tasks in hand and some of the risks involved


With our members and our good friend Maria, these tasks were completed to a very high standard in the watchful eye of Lead engineer Rob Chandler and our unit Cleaning experts Graham and Irene. the afternoon was spent on the Rib's with a historical trip to the Chatham dockyards area and then to Dead Man's inland for power boat inductions & Halman-ship.


From our later evening washup meeting, a solid working partnership was well and truly made, with good achievements all around, not only for our Units.

The working management team included Ian Dunkley John Griffiths Rob Chandler, and many more volunteers

Thank you for your help and support,


Alan and Team 

Volunteer day with Capita 2023 and again in 2024 is our plan! 

Medway and Gravesend Units welcomed a group of 9 volunteer from Capita to Gillingham marina for there volunteer day.

 At The home of MVS national training vessel  MVS Patriot.

The day was fille with Tasks and jobs to be done. Anti-fouling painting MVS Patriot and ribs Anni Tempest and McGarrity all getting a deep clean. 

Day started with introduction by Head of Unit Alan Metcalf and Safety briefing by John Griffiths  H&S Officer.


With our members and our good friend from Capita, these tasks were completed to very high standard un the watchful eye of Lead engineer Rob Chandler and our unit Cleaning experts Graham  and Irene. the afternoon was spent on the Rib's with historical trip to Chatham dock yards area and then to Dead Mans inland for power boat inductions & halmanship.


From our later afternoon washup meeting, a solid working partnership was well and truly made, with good achievements all round , not only for our Unit but nationally for MVS and Capita.

Working management team included, Chair of MVS David Hughes, Rosemary Dimond Vices President of MVS and Unit member's, RVO James Della. and Capita lead for the day Julie, and we were so pleases to hear, Julie will soon to be a very active Commodore of the MVS. 

Unit Safety Boat


Graham, Lucy, and Irene, supported as safety boat Gravesend sailing club regatta racing weekend 19th 20th August 2023


Training Life, Jackets and Boat Safety

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"An opportunity for our team to take part in practical training, not only try for fitting and correct donning of PFD and life Jackets, but and have full deployment action, i.e. "Let pull the cord!" all done in a safe learning and fun environment.


Life Jacket
Buoyancy Aid?


The MVS in line with H&S policy, most of our training recommends that you wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid unless you are sure you don't need to.

The Facts

A life jacket (or Personal Flotation Device - PFD) is the most critical piece of equipment on your boat and the most important consideration should be the size. More than two-thirds of all boating fatalities are drowning incidents and 90% of drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket.

You can base this decision on factors such as weather conditions, the type of activity you are doing, and your level of experience. If you are a beginner or still relatively inexperienced, making these judgments is often not that easy, so if this is the case, always wear one.


The MVS MEDWAY & GRAVESEND strongly recommends that you should always wear personal buoyancy: OR YOU WILL BE ISSUED WITH ONE, when afloat or carrying out activities when near water!

Point to think about (“Donning” put it on!)

  • If you are a non-swimmer and there is any possibility of entering the water

  • When the skipper deems it necessary (follow the change command)

  • When abandoning ship (All ways)

  • When you feel you want to wear one or if you are not sure that you do not need to wear one (Personal preference)


The correct personal buoyancy is critical and needs to be appropriate to the activity.

What is the difference between buoyancy aids and lifejackets?


Buoyancy aids are simply that - a buoyancy aid that generally relies on help being close at hand.

It assumes that the wearer can help themselves to some degree by swimming to safety or by keeping themselves afloat while assistance arrives if required.

Buoyancy aids are suitable for personal watercraft (PWC), dinghies, windsurfing, and generally for activities where the wearer might reasonably expect to end up in the water.

A lifejacket is intended for use where a high standard of performance is required. It will turn an unconscious person into a safe position and requires no subsequent action by the user to maintain this position.

You should consider whether an automatic lifejacket or manually inflate lifejacket, both with sprayhood, light, and whistle, is appropriate to the boating activity you are undertaking.  Ideally, you should fit or buy a lifejacket that is fitted with crotch straps; these will stop the lifejacket from riding up over your head.  You should also consider a lifejacket that is fitted with dye markers and a personal locator beacon to aid location and a harness D ring for harness attachment to stop you from falling off in the first place.

Lifejackets are suitable when on an open boat (e.g., powerboat or RIB), when going ashore in a yacht tender, on a sailing yacht or motor cruiser, and generally where you do not expect to enter the water.

Lifejackets come in different styles and sizes, and some will work better for different body styles than others.  Where possible test your lifejacket in a controlled environment to check that it will work for you.  

Levels of buoyancy


In addition to selecting between a lifejacket and a buoyancy aid, consideration also needs to be given to the level of buoyancy that is required.

Buoyancy aids and lifejackets have different levels of buoyancy. These levels of buoyancy should be considered and influence your choice. There are four primary buoyancy levels: 50, 100, 150, and 275.

In general terms, Level 50 is a buoyancy aid designed for when help is close at hand, whereas Level 150 is a general-purpose lifejacket used for offshore cruising and motor boating.

The levels of buoyancy information sheet include further information on levels of buoyancy and the labeling of personal floatation devices.

Specialist lifejackets are available for infants and children.

Remember that inflatable lifejackets and buoyancy aids are useless unless they work. 

They must be checked regularly and serviced by the manufacturer's instructions.


Levels of Buoyancy Personal flotation devices (buoyancy aids and life jackets) have different levels of buoyancy.

These levels of buoyancy should be considered and influence your choice when selecting a personal flotation device. There are four primary buoyancy levels: 50, 100, 150, and 275. In general terms, Level 50 is a buoyancy aid designed for when help is close at hand, whereas Level 150 is a general-purpose lifejacket used for offshore cruising and motor boating.

To determine these levels of buoyancy under test conditions, the test subjects (real people) are dressed in bathing costumes. This requirement provides good consistency and repeatability for testing but needs to be considered in your selection, as foul-weather clothing or baby nappies are likely to adversely affect the performance level.

 This is particularly true with Levels 100 and 150 when turning a person over so their head is clear of the water. A garment that is the incorrect size for the wearer will adversely affect the performance level. Level 50 Example Label This level is intended for use by those who are competent swimmers and who are near to bank, or shore, or who have help and a means of rescue close at hand. These garments have minimal bulk, but they are of limited use in disturbed water, and cannot be expected to keep the user safe for an extended period. They do not have sufficient buoyancy to protect people who are unable to help themselves.

They require active participation by the user. Standards applicable to this level; EN 393 or ISO 12402 – 5. Level 100 Example Label This level is intended for those who may have to wait for rescue, but are likely to do so in sheltered water. The device should not be used in rough conditions. Standards applicable to this level; EN 395 or ISO 12402 – 4

 2 Level 150 Example Label This level is intended for general offshore and rough weather use where a high standard of performance is required. It will turn an unconscious person into a safe position and requires no subsequent action by the user to maintain this position. Standards applicable to this level; EN 396 or ISO 12402 – 3. Level 275 Example Label This level is intended primarily for offshore use and by people who are carrying significant weights and thus require additional buoyancy. It is also of value to those who are wearing clothing that traps air, and which may adversely affect the self-righting capacity of the lifejacket. It is designed to ensure that the user is floating in the correct position with their mouth and nose clear of the surface. Standards applicable to this level; EN 399 or ISO 12402 – 2.


Medway & Gravesend Units of the MVS

 Volunteer Open Days 4th August was a fabulous success, with over 100 people attending and supporting our day. A full day of safe fun and activities afloat and ashore, thank you, to the team of volunteers, Dave's team Network Rail volunteers, customer support services, and marshalling team. To our sponsors, supporters, and volunteers from Gravesend Regatta & Rowing Club, “Top Job’’. to the PLA, and RNLI Gravesend, it is so good to know we have re-established a solid relationship.

To our guests and special people, for the day a big thank you for coming, we hope you enjoyed the day with us, I can see fo feedback already on our What’s App, you did thank you.

We will ensure our events and training remain safe and achieve fun experiences and learning for all.

Building on the success of this event, we are already planning for our next event in September and detail will be on FB page and our website under Events,

Teams’ volunteers, to name but a few,

MVS team, Jason, John, Graham, Irena, Dianna, Sam, David, Ron, Jackeline, Jordan, Michael, and Kathy.

Network rail Team, Bob, Dan, Vince, John, Jan, Toby, Maureen, Onka, George, and Tamzin.

Gravesend Sailing Club, Cliff & Jan

Gravesend Regatta & Rowing Club, Michal Hall, Ken Miller, Mr. Bishops Sue More, Ian Stevenson. And Bobby Brian, Dennis Stevenson, Maria Davison, and George Dickinson.

Caroline and family for Gillingham marina.

Waterfront Gillingham Marina, Caroline, Danial, Misty, Rider, and Steve

And of course, the wonder people for Kasbah




Head of Unit



Up date 19th July work has started on the national training vessel after lift out

Medway and Gravesend MVS team are hard at work, sanding, welding, grinding, and getting her ship shape


HOU Alan would like to thank our volunteers for their hard work. It shows we move together and deal with all our project as professionals, with the skills we have no project is too big. Thank you! too Irene, Graham, David, Rob, & John 


Alan Metcal

Project Lead an HoU





















Wipes down

July Gravesend Rowing regatta 


M&G supported event July 2023.

Big thank to Alan and team for our Club to you all. 


Training 7th June PB2 on Tempest




DEFRA 1 Flood & Awareness (Part 2 Practical Lesson ) planned for 2024

MVS Gravesend & Medway Unit Training, this April 2024 @ GSC 19:00 to 21:00

This course is focused on the 2nd part of DEFRA 1 people being safe working near the water and raising their awareness about a water environment.

Unit Members Please, ensure you are dressed in uniform with your Hi-Viz coats we will be outside PPE will be issued.

For more information contact John on 07588314534

Unit Training in Your Own Time and at you pace

Finding Inspiration in Every Turn

Training between the Units is actively encouraged with the aim of broadening the knowledge of a member without diluting their primary specialisation.

Members progress through the various levels in their own time dependent on the amount of time they can commit to their training.

Previous experience in either a professional or voluntary capacity will be taken into account towards a qualification, providing suitable documentary evidence of such experience can be provided.

Training takes place at units in the evenings and at weekends both ashore and afloat.

Our list of Supported Training Courses
Available to Our Members 

The Medway and Gravesend Unit is committed to the New MVS Training Pathway

each new member will complete this training but is under no time resection for assessments and units to be signed off.

Training Centre Courses 2024 and onwards

Courses and Timetable of Activities

RYA Essential Navigation (Basic) RYA Essential Navigation & Seamanship Course Details

This is our basic beginner’s course and leans itself as a good place to start even before you get out on the water.

We use this course to support the introduction to training with MVS Pathway.

This course is available at our center face-to-face with our instructors. It offers a great introduction to navigation and safety awareness for new or inexperienced skippers and crew, and those wanting to refresh their skills.

In fact, it's for anyone interested in sailing, power boating, sea angling, or diving, and works well in complementing our on-the-water training as a member, but all such as the RYA PWC Jet ski, Powerboat Level 2, Power Boat Intermediate, Start Yachting, and Helmsman courses this is the basics all need to know.

“Day Skipper Theory is recommended for students looking a sail or motor cruising courses”.

It's a highly informative course, with lots of opportunities for you to put your newfound knowledge into practice. If you decide to take the course, you will find many interactive exercises to help reinforce the information and lots of chances to try out what you've learned. You can get hands-on with most activities and see real boats to look at and formalise safe boating practices. 

Course topics include: 

Training Charts and Publications RYA training materials and navigation equipment / the Arminake and Workbook

Safety Engine checks 


Tidal awareness 

Visual and electronic navigation 


Rules of the road 


Weather forecasts 

Passage planning

An RYA certificate successful completion of the course















RYA approved PB1 Power Boat 1.

The RYA Powerboat Level 1 is a 1-day practical introduction course to powerboat handling and safety.

During the day we look at:

Launching and recovering a boat

Launching and recovering a boat from and onto a trailer using slipways. We look at how we need to set up the boat prior to launching and potential problems that could arise. We show you how to recover a boat onto a trailer by both driving the boat on and winching the boat on - again we look at potential problems

Preparation of boat

What do we need on the boat before we go to sea? We check equipment like lines, fenders, anchor and warp, bailers, fire extinguisher, engine spares, and tools, pump, paddles and oars, compass, flares, torch, whistle, charts, first aid kit; is the fuel tank full, do we have a spare full fuel container, does the radio work, is the GPS working.

Boat handling

How we start and stop the engine; the use of a kill cord, steering - Steer then Gear, controls, how the boat is affected by wind and tides, trimming the engine as we get underway, high-speed manoeuvres, low speed handling both forwards and backward. Picking up and securing a mooring buoy. Leaving and parking alongside a pier, pontoon, or wall. Tying the boat up correctly and safely. How your boat should be towed if that becomes necessary.

Shore Based

We spend some time just before and just after lunch looking at the ‘Rules of the Road’, safety on your boat, the importance of life jackets and the differences between life jackets and buoyancy aids, and the main knots we use with our boats

Time Table Assessment Days

Day One

  • 9 am Meet your instructor, Tea, and Coffee while we discuss the day. Get kitted up.

  • 9.30 - 12 Practical session with the boats

  • 12 – 2 pm Lunch and shore-based sessions

  • 2 - 5 pm Practical session with the boats

  • 5 – 5.30 pm Review of the day

RYA approved PB2 Power Boat 2

Over the 2 days, we look at:

Launching & recovering a boat from and onto a trailer using slipways or by crane. We look at how we need to set up the boat prior to launching and potential problems that could arise. We show you how to recover a boat onto a trailer by both driving the boat on and winching the boat on - again we look at potential problems

Preparation of boat, what do we need on the boat before we go to sea? We check equipment like lines, fenders, anchor and warp, bailers, fire extinguisher, engine spares, tools, pump, paddles and oars, compass, flares, torch, whistle, charts, and first aid kit; is the fuel tank full, do we have a spare full fuel container, does the radio work, is the GPS working, do we have a mobile phone in the waterproof bag?

Boat handling, Boat handling while underway - Steer then Gear, high-speed maneuvers; trimming the engine correctly, planning, S turns, U-turns, The Emergency Stop, Man overboard, and the J turn. Slow maneuvers - coming alongside and parking the boat against a wall, jetty, pier, and pontoon. Parking the boat in a marina, reversing, picking up a buoy, and how winds and tides affect the slow maneuvers. We spend some time looking at how we deal with potential emergencies. How we tow a boat. We will also spend time about different types of power boats. Passage planning and teamwork. And of course, we teach you to navigate your way through the water’s ways!

Shore Based, we spend some time looking at and understanding Charts and Compasses, we plan a passage, get a basic understanding of the Buoyage system, learn about tides and tidal streams, and basic VHF radio handling (NB to use a VHF radio you do need a license)

Timetable of Assessment days

Day 1

  • 9 am - Meet your instructor, Tea, and Coffee while we discuss the day. Get kitted up.

  • 9.30 - 11.30 Practical session with the boats

  • 11.30 – 2 pm Lunch and shore-based sessions

  • 2 - 5 pm Practical session with the boats

  • 5 – 5.30 pm Review of the day

Day 2

  • 9 am Meet your instructor, Tea, and Coffee while we review what we learned yesterday and discuss how today will unfold. Get kitted up.

  • 9.30 - 12 Practical session with the boats

  • 12 – 2 pm Lunch and shore-based sessions (Passage Plan)

  • 2 - 5 pm Practical session with the boats (Follow your passage plan)

  • 5 – 5.30 pm Review of the day and issue of Certificates



RYA Approved PB2 Advanced


The aim of the 2-day Advanced Power Boat course is to teach boat handling, seamanship, pilotage, and navigation up to the standards required to drive a powerboat safely by day and night in tidal coastal waters.

Participants in the Advanced Power Boat Course should be competent and ideally hold the RYA National Powerboat Certificate Level 2 (coastal) and have knowledge of navigation and chartwork to the level of the Day Skipper Shorebased Certificate.

Participants should also ideally hold a First Aid Certificate and a VHF Operator Licence.

During the 2 days, we cover:

Section A – Practical Boat Based

  • Preparation for sea.

  • Preparation of powerboat, fuel and engine checks, stowing, and securing gear.

  • Boat handling.

  • Characteristics of various hull forms and propeller configuration, knowledge of action to be taken in rough weather, understanding the correct use of power trims and trim tabs, effects of tide/wind when maneuvering including steering to transits, turning in tightly confined spaces, berthing, picking up moorings, etc.

  • Passage making.

  • Plans and pilotage for entry into or departure from the harbor, use of leading and clearing lines, transits, and sounding as an aid to pilotage, high-speed navigation, and GPS waypoint navigation.

  • Night cruising.

  • Powerboating at night, including entering and leaving the harbor, with special considerations for keeping a lookout and identifying marks by night.

Section B - Shorebased

  • Meteorology.

  • Sources of forecast information, interpretation of forecasts, terms used in shipping forecasts, including Beaufort Scale and their significance to small craft.

  • Rules of the road.

  • Application.

  • Use of engines. basic engine checks

  • Emergencies.

  • Correct action to be taken in case of: fire, hull damage, medical emergency, VHF emergency, helicopter rescue, use of flares, man overboard and search. techniques




International Certificate of Competence

Under 10m Powered


This is the most popular ICC and covers powered vessels under 10m. It is valid for coastal waters. The RYA Powerboat Level 2 license allows the holder to apply for the actual ICC by completing a form and submitting it to the RYA along with a copy of your RYA Powerboat Level 2 license or certificate along with the relevant fee paid directly to the RYA.

Alternatively, we offer a day assessment:



RYA First Aid

First Aid at Work Level 3. Valid 3 years 3 days class-based

Or basic Emergency First Aid at Work First Aid valid for 3 years. 4–6-hour e-learning and 1-day class-based.

The RYA Small Craft First Aid Certificate is valid for 3 years Or the Online Assessment First Responder Level 2 is valid for 1 year.

First aid is not a troublesome subject but can be a challenge and a lifesaver.

However, Imagine You are miles offshore it's got into rough sea conditions suddenly and a sudden drop in temperature /colder. A member of your crew has fallen overboard and is not breathing / and starts to drown. (that’s scary and only makes you think an accident happened.

The RYA course is designed to teach you what to do if this happens and more plus, how to cope with minor ailments like sunburn, headaches, and small lesions, and how to respond to serious medical emergencies. There is an emphasis on resuscitation techniques, the ‘first care' of a person overboard victim. The procedures for obtaining outside medical help and the Helicopter rescue services etc. will be explained. Our instructors are not only hugely experienced Instructors and highly qualified and experienced 'Mariners'. He instructs in a hands-on and clear manner in line with accredited standards.

The RYA course is organized in a very maritime way. This course is a must for all who go afloat. Skippers should encourage their crews to attend. It could be you who needs some first-aider attention! The RYA Small Craft First Aid Certificate is valid for 3 years from the time of issue and is a prerequisite for those taking the Advanced Power Boat Course and for those who wish the Advanced to be Commercially endorsed plus other offshore RYA courses. Our instructor has had hands-on experience administering first aid in confined spaces such as small boats. You will have the chance to try and perfect these actions such as CPR and the recovery position. Mouth to mouth on a dummy “rescue aid” Anni is not easy as mentioned but the course can be made very interesting and good fun for the team!

As a skipper, you have the responsibility able to care for your crew. We have the responsibility to make sure you can. We actively look at supporting e-learning with assessments, this also Includes guided learning with tutors/instructors in some training sessions of up to 6 hours.

4-6 hours of e-learning

  • One Day – 10.00 am to 4.00 pm.

  • No equipment is needed.

  • Refreshments provided.

  • RYA First Aid Book included.


More advanced Levels 3 x3 days course including ongoing assessment and x1 MCP



RYA Sea Survival


Boating is one of the safest leisure sporting activities and 99.9% of Yachtsmen and Powerboaters will never use their life rafts.

However, if you are one of the unlucky few, your chances of survival will be greatly increased if you understand how to use the equipment and how to help yourself.

This is an excellent course that gives a real insight into safety at sea.

The day is split between a classroom session looking at many areas of safety in detail. Then a pool-based session, where you spend time practicing deploying, righting, and entering a life raft.

It's a real insight into how lifejackets work and how to keep as warm as possible and how uncomfortable life rafts can be!

Most students comment on how enlightening the course is.

The course is a good 'revision' also. Subjects such as making a Mayday call, EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon), SARTS (Search & Rescue Transponders) GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress and Safety System) Flares, all items we may know about but have forgotten exactly when or how to use them.

The course will also cover Helicopter rescue, immersion in cold water, and how to deal with and recognize hypothermia, sunstroke, heat stroke, etc.

The course is a requirement for those wishing to commercially endorse their Yachtmaster or Advanced powerboat Certificates of Competence.

We hope you will never need the skills gained on this course but we strongly believe if the worst happens and you or your crew's lives depend on it, this training will prove invaluable and help to preserve life.

  • One Day

  • Equipment needed:

  • Spare clothing (you will get wet)

  • Towels

  • The course will include the RYA booklet (sspcn) Sea Survival








Marine Radio (SRC)

The RYA Short Range Certificate is the minimum qualification required by British law to use a VHF and/or a VHF Digital Selective Calling (DSC) Radio/equipment on any British-flagged vessel fitted with a radio. This includes both fixed and hand-held Radios using international channels.

The VHF radio is an important piece of safety equipment on board any boat and it is important to understand how they work and to use the correct procedures. Unnecessary transmissions could for example block out a Mayday distress call.


Course topics include:


  • The basics of radio operation

  • The correct frequencies (channels) to be used

  • Distress, emergency, and medical assistance procedures

  • Making ship-to-shore communication

  • Digital Selective Calling (DSC) using simulators

  • Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS)

  • Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB)

  • Search and Rescue (SART)


The course is taught on one day and generally examined the following day. The exam will also include a short written test.

All new VHF sets are either fitted or can be interfaced, with DSC allowing calls to specific vessels. If you hold the 'old' VHF license (pre-1999) you need to upgrade your qualification if you purchase new equipment. To upgrade a Restricted VHF license to a GMDSS Short Range Certificate contact our Training Officer.


Additional Requirements

When you have completed and passed the online course you will receive an online certificate. You will also need to follow the link and pay the RYA directly for the actual license (£60).
then arrange the actual exam/test day.

Or why not complete our 1-day course face to face? Cost depends on the numbers/attendees it could be only £40 to £80 including refreshments. Plus, RYA license (£60)

In addition to the smaller inshore craft operated by most MVS Units, the Service operates sea-going vessels around the UK coast for extended training periods.

Alongside that certain MVS units are also a Royal Yachting Association accredited Shore Training Centre, meaning they can teach a variety of shore-based courses which members can use in their units and elsewhere. This provides members with nationally recognized qualifications that are very useful not only in the maritime sector but in everyday life.

If you’re a business, talk about how you started and share your professional journey. Explain your core values, your commitment to users of our service Training,
















We offer all our members, Water and Flood Awareness Training / Module 1 DEFRA (Compliant)

What does DEFRA do?

  • We are responsible for improving and protecting the environment. We aim to grow a green economy and sustain thriving rural communities. We also support our world-leading food, farming, and fishing industries. Defra is a ministerial department, supported by 33 agencies and public bodies.

What is the Defra Module 1 course?

  • This course complies with DEFRA module 1 content requirements and is also recognized by the Environment Agency. This training is designed to make people aware of the hazards associated with water and carry out basic land-based rescue techniques. The dangers of working near water are explained and basic safety measures are introduced to the student.

Water and Flood Awareness (Module 1 DEFRA Compliant)

Water and Flood Awareness is a course designed to provide individuals who may as part of their role, work near the water with sufficient knowledge to be aware of the hazards created by this environment and develop an understanding of various water rescue techniques. This course complies with DEFRA module 1 content requirements and is also recognized by the Environment Agency.

This training is designed to make people aware of the hazards associated with water and carry out basic land-based rescue techniques. The dangers of working near water are explained and basic safety measures are introduced to the student.

The session includes awareness of water-related hazards, water hydrology, scene organization, principles of water safety, varying rescue options including low to high-risk options, and introduction to basic water safety PPE.

The training is split into separate units which cover the essential knowledge and understanding plus the practical application of items of equipment that may or may not be available to the students. The practical units are delivered as dry land sessions.

Scope of the Course

This course is mainly classroom-based based with practical elements being conducted outside, however, these practical elements can be covered as a classroom session if necessary.

The course is not designed to train individuals as dedicated water rescuers but to make them aware of the hazards associated with water environments and the range of control measures that can be introduced to reduce the risk.

Course content includes an introduction to some low-risk rescue options that may be attempted by individuals trained to this awareness level as well as an explanation of higher-risk options available to individuals trained to a higher level.

Our Aim

To develop individuals to Water and Flood Awareness level 1 in water safety.
After successful completion of the course, candidates will be able to:

  • Identify and apply suitable dynamic risk assessment.

  • Detail a range of hazards associated with working near water.

  • Detail suitable control measures.

  • Select the suitable water-safety PPE.

  • Describe and understand various rescue options.

  • Demonstrate the effective use of rescue throw lines.




Our Supporters 

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Navigation Terms

A guide to 

ABAFT – Toward the rear (stern) of the boat. Behind.

ABEAM – At right angles to the keel of the boat, but not on the boat.

ABOARD – On or within the boat.

ABOVE DECK – On the deck (not over it – see ALOFT)

ABREAST – Side by side; by the side of. To define abreast in non-sailing terms would be alongside something.

ADRIFT – Loose, not on moorings or towline.

AFT – Toward the stern of the boat. The aft of a ship is towards the rear of the ship or the back of a boat.

AGROUND – Touching or fast to the bottom.

AHEAD – In a forward direction.

AIDS TO NAVIGATION – Artificial objects to supplement natural landmarks indicating safe and unsafe waters.

ALEE – A good alee definition would be: away from the direction of the wind. Opposite of windward.

ALOFT – Above the deck of the boat.

AMIDSHIPS – In or toward the center of the boat.


ANCHORAGE – A place suitable for dropping anchor in relation to the wind, seas, and bottom.

ASTERN – In the back of the boat, opposite of ahead.

ATHWARTSHIPS – At right angles to the centreline of the boat; rowboat seats are generally athwart ships.

AWEIGH – The position of the anchor as it is raised clear of the bottom.

BATTEN DOWN – Secure hatches and loose objects both within the hull and on deck.

BEAM – The greatest width of the boat.

BEARING – The direction of an object expressed either as a true bearing as shown on the chart or as a bearing relative to the heading of the boat.

BELOW – Beneath the deck.

BIGHT – The part of the rope or line, between the end and the standing part, on which a knot is formed.


BILGE – The interior of the hull below the floor boards. A bilge pump is a special device for this area.

BITTER END – The last part of a rope or chain. The inboard end of the anchor rode.

BOAT – A fairly indefinite term. A waterborne vehicle smaller than a ship. One boat definition is a small craft carried aboard a ship.

BOAT HOOK – A short shaft with a fitting at one end shaped to facilitate use in putting a line over a piling, recovering an object dropped overboard, or in pushing or fending off.

BOOT TOP – A painted line that indicates the designed waterline.

BOW – The forward part of a boat. The bow of a boat can also be referred to as the front. It’s the opposite of the stern of a boat in sailing terms.

BOW LINE – A docking line leading from the bow.

BOWLINE – A knot used to form a temporary loop at the end of a line.

BRIDGE – The location from which a vessel is steered and its speed controlled. “Control Station” is really a more appropriate term for small craft.

BRIDLE – A line or wire secured at both ends in order to distribute a strain between two points.

BRIGHTWORK – Varnished woodwork and/or polished metal.

BULKHEAD – A vertical partition separating compartments.

BUOY – An anchored float used for marking a position on the water or a hazard or a shoal and for mooring.

BURDENED VESSEL – That vessel which, according to the applicable Navigation Rules, must give way to the privileged vessel. The term has been superseded by the term “give-way”.


CABIN – A compartment for passengers or crew.

CAPSIZE – To turn over.

CAST OFF – To let go.

CATAMARAN – A twin-hulled boat, with hulls side by side.

CHAFING GEAR – Tubing or cloth wrapping is used to protect a line from chafing on a rough surface.

CHART – A map for use by navigators.

CHINE – The intersection of the bottom and sides of a flat or v-bottomed boat.

CHOCK – A fitting through which anchor or mooring lines are led. Usually, U-shaped to reduce chafe.

CLEAT – A fitting to which lines are made fast. The classic cleat to which lines are belayed is approximately anvil-shaped.

CLOVE HITCH – A knot for temporarily fastening a line to a spar or piling.

COAMING – A vertical piece around the edge of a cockpit, hatch, etc. to prevent water on deck from running below.

COCKPIT – An opening in the deck from which the boat is handled.

COIL – To lay a line down in circular turns.

COURSE – The direction in which a boat is steered.

CUDDY – A small shelter cabin in a boat.

CURRENT – The horizontal movement of water.

DEAD AHEAD – Directly ahead.

DEAD ASTERN – Directly aft.

DECK – A permanent covering over a compartment, hull or any part thereof.

DINGHY – A small open boat. A dinghy is often used as a tender for a larger craft.

DISPLACEMENT – The weight of water displaced by a floating vessel, thus, a boat’s weight.

DISPLACEMENT HULL – A type of hull that ploughs through the water, displacing a weight of water equal to its own weight, even when more power is added.

DOCK – A protected water area in which vessels are moored. The term is often used to denote a pier or a wharf.

DOLPHIN – A group of piles driven close together and bound with wire cables into a single structure.

DRAFT – The depth of water a boat draws.

EBB – A receding current.

FATHOM – Six feet.

FENDER – A cushion, placed between boats, or between a boat and a pier, to prevent damage.

FIGURE EIGHT KNOT – A knot in the form of figure eight, placed at the end of a line to prevent the line from passing through a grommet or a block.

FLARE – The outward curve of a vessel’s sides near the bow. A distress signals.

FLOOD – A incoming current.

FLOORBOARDS – The surface of the cockpit on which the crew stands.

FLUKE – The palm of an anchor.

FOLLOWING SEA – An overtaking sea that comes from astern.

FORE-AND-AFT – In a line parallel to the keel.

FOREPEAK – A compartment in the bow of a small boat.

FORWARD – Toward the bow of the boat.

FOULED – Any piece of equipment that is jammed or entangled, or dirtied.

FREEBOARD – The minimum vertical distance from the surface of the water to the gunwale.


GALLEY – The kitchen area of a boat.

GANGWAY – The area of a ship’s side where people board and disembark.

GEAR – A general term for ropes, blocks, tackle, and other equipment.

GIVE-WAY VESSEL – A term used to describe the vessel which must yield in the meeting, crossing, or overtaking situations.

GRAB RAILS – Hand-hold fittings mounted on cabin tops and sides for personal safety when moving around the boat.

GROUND TACKLE – A collective term for the anchor and its associated gear.

GUNWALE – The upper edge of a boat’s sides. These are found on the sides of a boat.

HARD CHINE – An abrupt intersection between the hull side and the hull bottom of a boat so constructed.

HATCH – An opening in a boat’s deck fitted with a watertight cover.

HEAD – A marine toilet. Also, the upper corner of a triangular sail.

HEADING – The direction in which a vessel’s bow points at any given time.

HEADWAY – The forward motion of a boat. Opposite of sternway.

HELM – The wheel or tiller controlling the rudder.

HELMSPERSON – The person who steers the boat.

HITCH – A knot used to secure a rope to another object or to another rope, or to form a loop or a noose in a rope.

HOLD – A compartment below the deck in a large vessel, used solely for carrying cargo.

HULL – The main body of a vessel.

INBOARD – More toward the center of a vessel; inside; a motor fitted inside a boat.

INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY – ICW: bays, rivers, and canals along the coasts (such as the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts), connected so that vessels may travel without going into the sea.

JACOBS LADDER – A rope ladder, lowered from the deck, as when pilots or passengers come aboard.

JETTY – A structure, usually masonry, projecting out from the shore; a jetty may protect a harbour entrance.

KEEL – The centreline of a boat running fore and aft; the backbone of a vessel.

KNOT – A measure of speed equal to one nautical mile (6076 feet) per hour.

KNOT – A fastening made by interweaving rope to form a stopper, to enclose or bind an object, to form a loop or a noose, to tie a small rope to an object, or to tie the ends of two small ropes together.

LATITUDE – The distance north or south of the equator measured and expressed in degrees.

LAZARETTE – A storage space in a boat’s stern area.

LEE – The side sheltered from the wind.

LEEWARD – The direction away from the wind. Opposite of windward.

LEEWAY – The sideways movement of the boat caused by either wind or current.

LINE – Rope and cordage used aboard a vessel.

LOG – A record of courses or operations. Also, a device to measure speed.

LONGITUDE – The distance in degrees east or west of the meridian at Greenwich, England.

LUBBER’S LINE – A mark or permanent line on a compass indicating the direction forward parallel to the keel when properly installed.


MARLINSPIKE – A tool for opening the strands of a rope while splicing.

MIDSHIP – Approximately in the location equally distant from the bow and stern.

MOORING – An arrangement for securing a boat to a mooring buoy or a pier.

NAUTICAL – It’s easy to define nautical: it is an all-encompassing word for anything concerning sailors or maritime travel. All of the boat terminologies here can be defined as nautical words.

NAUTICAL MILE – One minute of latitude; approximately 6076 feet – about 1/8 longer than the statute mile of 5280 feet.

NAVIGATION – The art and science of conducting a boat safely from one point to another.

NAVIGATION RULES – The regulations governing the movement of vessels in relation to each other, generally called steering and sailing rules.

OUTBOARD – Toward or beyond the boat’s sides. A detachable engine mounted on a boat’s stern.

OVERBOARD – Over the side or out of the boat.

PIER – A loading platform extending at an angle from the shore.

PILE – A wood, metal, or concrete pole driven into the bottom. Craft may be made fast to a pile; it may be used to support a pier (see PILING) or a float.

PILING – Support, protection for wharves, piers etc.; constructed of piles (see PILE)

PILOTING – Navigation by use of visible references, the depth of the water, etc.

PLANNING – A boat is said to be planning when it is essentially moving over the top of the water rather than through the water.

PLANING HULL – A type of hull shaped to glide easily across the water at high speed.

PORT – The left side of a boat looking forward. A harbour.

PRIVILEGED VESSEL – A vessel which, according to the applicable Navigation Rule, has right-of-way (this term has been superseded by the term “stand-on”).

QUARTER – The sides of a boat aft of amidships.

QUARTERING SEA – Sea coming on a boat’s quarter.

RODE – The anchor line and/or chain.

ROPE – In general, cordage is purchased at the store. When it comes aboard a vessel and is put to use it becomes a line.

RUDDER – A vertical plate or board for steering a boat.

RUN – To allow a line to feed freely.

RUNNING LIGHTS – Lights are required to be shown on boats underway between sundown and sunup.


SATELLITE NAVIGATION – A form of position finding using radio transmissions from satellites with sophisticated onboard automatic equipment.

SCOPE – Technically, the ratio of the length of anchor rode in use to the vertical distance from the bow of the vessel to the bottom of the water. Usually, six to seven to one for calm weather and more scope in storm conditions.

SCREW – A boat’s propeller.

SCUPPERS – Drain holes on deck, in the toe rail, or in bulwarks or (with drain pipes) in the deck itself.

SEA COCK – A through hull valve, a shut-off on a plumbing or drain pipe between the vessel’s interior and the sea.

SEAMANSHIP – All the arts and skills of boat handling, ranging from maintenance and repairs to piloting, sail handling, marlinespike work, and rigging.

SEA ROOM – A safe distance from the shore or other hazards.

SEAWORTHY – A boat or a boat’s gear able to meet the usual sea conditions.

SECURE – To make fast.

SET – Direction toward which the current is flowing.

SHIP – A larger vessel usually thought of as being used for ocean travel. A vessel is able to carry a “boat” on board.

SLACK – Not fastened; loose. Also, to loosen.

SOLE – Cabin or saloon floor. Timber extensions on the bottom of the rudder. Also the moulded fiberglass deck of a cockpit.

SOUNDING – A measurement of the depth of water.

SPRING LINE – A pivot line used in docking, undocking, or to prevent the boat from moving forward or astern while made fast to a dock.

SQUALL – A sudden, violent wind often accompanied by rain.

SQUARE KNOT – A knot used to join two lines of similar size. Also called a reef knot.

STANDING PART – That part of a line that is made fast. The main part of a line is distinguished from the bight and the end.

STAND-ON VESSEL – That vessel that has right-of-way during a meeting, crossing, or overtaking situation.

STARBOARD – The right side of a boat when looking forward.

STEM – The forwardmost part of the bow.

STERN – The after part of the boat in nautical terms. The stern of a boat is the back portion of the vessel. It is the opposite of the bow of a boat, which is the front.

STERN LINE – A docking line leading from the stern.

STOW – To put an item in its proper place.

SWAMP – To fill with water, but not settle to the bottom.

THWARTSHIPS – At right angles to the centreline of the boat.

TIDE – The periodic rise and fall of water levels in the oceans.

TILLER – A bar or handle for turning a boat’s rudder or an outboard motor.

TOPSIDES – The sides of a vessel between the waterline and the deck; sometimes referring to onto or above the deck.

TRANSOM – The stern cross-section of a square sterned boat.

TRIM – Fore and aft balance of a boat.

UNDERWAY – Vessel in motion, i.e., when not moored, at anchor, or aground.

V BOTTOM – A hull with the bottom section in the shape of a “V”.

WAKE – Moving waves, tracks, or paths that a boat leaves behind it when moving across the waters.

WATERLINE – A line painted on a hull that shows the point to which a boat sinks when it is properly trimmed (see BOOT TOP).

WAY – Movements of a vessel through the water such as headway, sternway, or leeway.

WINDWARD – Toward the direction from which the wind is coming.

YACHT – A pleasure vessel, a pleasure boat; in American usage, the idea of size and luxury is conveyed, either by sail or power.

YAW – To swing or steer off course, as when running with a quartering sea.

Boating Slang

Now that you know the basic boating terms, what about talking like a sailor? You’ll notice these are two very distinct things. While all of these official terms and names are important to know, there is more. If you spend a lot of time around sailors you may start picking up on boating slang. Less official but no less important, boating slang can convey just as much information as those other terms. Many of these come to us from the naval tradition or even piracy, and some have gone beyond the nautical into our everyday lives.

Slang from Sailing Ships


A1: Not just a steak sauce, this slang term means something is high quality or the best. It comes from ship classifications. The highest-rated ships were rated A1.

At Loggerheads: This term means to be locked in a disagreement. It comes from the term “loggerhead” which was a stick used to stir pitch and other hot liquids. If sailors got into a fight, they would sometimes use these loggerheads as weapons.

Barge In: Large, flat-bottom river barges is hard to maneuver. Thus, they had a bad habit of forcing their way into places where they weren’t wanted, which is where the modern meaning comes from.

Booty: Pirate booty is a phrase we’re all familiar with. It traces its origins to the word “bottyne” which was plunder taken in war.

By and Large: This term originally referred to how sails took the wind. By referred to the ability to sail into the wind and large was off the wind. If a sailing ship could do both then by and large it sailed well.

Deep Six: This is used to mean getting rid of something. In nautical terms, a fathom was six feet, so you’d be dumping something one fathom, or about the height of a sailor, if you deep-sixed them.

Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: This term refers to being between a rock and a hard place, as it were and this one does have a nautical origin and it does refer to the seam where the hell meets the deck. When a sailor did have to caulk this on the fly, they’d be suspended from the deck. The seam was called the devil, and the sea was right under them as they worked.

Hand Over Fist: This phrase typically refers to earning money, and means you’re pulling it in very fast. The phrase’s nautical origins refer to sailors rapidly pulling in ropes on a ship.

In the Soup: Fog is often described as being thicker than pea soup. If a boat is in the soup, it’s in the fog.

Keel Over: This slang term refers to passing out or even dying. The keel, of course, is located under a ship so for the keel to flip over the boat has to capsize. When applied to people the meaning is clear.

Knot: We knot nautical speed is measured in knots, but why? Back in the 17th century, sailors used something called the common log or chip log to measure speed. This consisted of a piece of wood used as a float at the end of a rope. Knots were tied in the rope every 47 feet 3 inches. A sailor would let these knots pass through their hands as the ship sailed, and the timing would be measured with a 30-second hourglass. The number of knots that passed through the sailor’s hands indicated speed.

Know The Ropes: Also “show you the ropes,” which means understanding how something is done. This one is fairly self-explanatory as any sailor hoping to master their ship would need to literally know the ropes and how to use them.

Limey: This is still used as a slang term, somewhat insultingly so, for British people. The phrase dates back to the British Navy providing its soldiers with rations of limes. Scurvy was a serious issue for sailors and it was caused by a lack of vitamin C. The limes were meant to combat this.

Loose Cannon: A character in a TV show or movie is a loose cannon if they’re unpredictable. The term comes from cannons used on wooden ships. If a cannon was not secured, it would come loose on deck and could cause serious damage.

Pipe Down: This phrase means to be quiet or settle down. Boatswains would blow on a pipe to signal that it was time to head below deck in the evening. Piping down the hammocks was the term used.

Scuttlebutt: This is a term that means gossip. It dates back to sailing vessels and the literal scuttlebutt which was the term for a water barrel. Sailors would gather around with a drinking ladle to chat when they had a moment free, hence its usage in terms of gossip.

Stinkpot: This is a modern term used by some boaters to refer to powerboats. In specific, the kind that races by very quickly and leaves a wake of smelly exhaust.

Three Sheets to the Wind: A sheet is the line used to control a sail. One sheet left to flap in the wind would take control of the vessel harder. Three sheets means it’s downright sloppy and the sails would be all over the place. That’s why, today, the phrase refers to being drunk.

True Colors: When someone shows their true colors, it means they’re showing who they really are. In most contexts, this phrase means someone deceives you in some way but then you learned the truth. In nautical terms, some vessels would hide their flags or colors, and even fly the flags of enemies in order to trick people, especially in battle. If they had shown their true colors, the enemy would have known they were being tricked. Flying colors have the same origin.

Under the Weather: If you’re feeling ill, people will still use this phrase. It comes from the days of sailing when an ill sailor would be sent below deck. That kept you out of the weather which could make the situation worse by placing you literally under the weather.

The Slang That Didn’t Come From Sailing


Words and phrase origins are often steeped in myth, legend, and outright hoaxes. A lot of terms that allege to come from nautical origins are actually not nautical at all. You’ll find many websites that claim these stories as true origins. It’s always good to do a little extra research just to be sure.  None of these terms and phrases are actually nautical at all.

Above Board: we use this term today to mean something that is honest or honourable. Some people claim it has a nautical origin. That a crew that stayed on deck was honest and, literally, above board. But if they were pirates they might hide below deck. This is not true, however, and the term traces its origins to gambling, not piracy.

As the Crow Flies: A popular story relating to this term is that vessels had crows in cages on board and would release one to see what direction it flew and then follow it to land. There is no evidence that this ever happened, however. Keeping birds alive in a cage would have been difficult, especially crows since they will fight each other.

Brass Monkey: A popular story is that pirate ships used to call the brass trays that held cannonballs brass monkeys. If it got cold enough, the metal would contract and the balls would fall off. However, that’s not actually true. Sailors never actually used the term “monkey” or “brass monkey” to describe anything on a ship. Also, cannonballs were never stored up on deck.

Buoyancy Operated Aquatic Transport: Ever heard this as the origin of the word “boat?” It’s not. That’s from a cartoon.

Cat out of the Bag: When you let the cat out of the bag, you reveal a secret. Some websites claim this has a nautical origin. The story goes that a sailor would be punished on board with a whip called a cat-o-nine tails. The whip was kept in a bag so to let the cat out of the bag meant something bad was happening. However, there is no evidence that this was ever used in a nautical context.

Clean Slate: People attribute this, meaning a fresh start, to sailors very often. However, the idea of a clean slate is literally as old as the slates themselves. The Ancient Greeks had a concept called “tabula rasa” in philosophy which essentially translates to clean slate. Schools used to use chalk and slate before paper notebooks and every day those slates had to be cleaned. The phrase does not have any notable link to nautical history.

The Devil To Pay: This is a fun one that is often explained wrong. On a ship, the devil referred to the seam of the hull at deck level. Word is that this was the hardest of all seams to caulk, hence calling it the devil. The devil to pay meant caulking that seam. However, that is not the phrase’s origin. It looks more like sailors took the already existing phrase and used it to describe what they were doing. The true phrase predates nautical use for over 100 years. There is a lot of history of terms relating to people making bargains with the devil that require payment, including the very famous story of Faust.

Posh: A word used mostly in England to describe something fancy or expensive. There’s a story that comes from ships that travelled from Britain to Boston. The rich customers were put in rooms labelled “port out, starboard home” as an instruction on where to store their luggage so it wouldn’t be ruined by the sun. This, however, is untrue.

Square Meal: This is another popular one from folk etymology. The story goes that sailors were fed on square plates thus the origin of the square meal. And it’s true that the Royal Navy used square plates. However, the phrase was never recorded anywhere in naval history. But the word “square” meaning “good” “proper” or “trustworthy” dates back hundreds of years. The first usage of “square meal” in print comes from US sources in advertisements.

The Whole Nine Yards: There are many supposed origins of this phrase, but one claims to be nautical. It suggests that square-rigged vessels with three sails on three masts had “the whole nine yards” out when all sails were up. However, there is no evidence to support this and it also doesn’t make much sense. Not all vessels had three sails or three masts.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the back of a boat called?

The back section of a boat is referred to as the aft, while the actual back of a boat is known as the stern.

Where is the stern of a boat?

The stern of a boat is the back of a boat. In nautical terms, the bow is the front of a boat, and the stern is the rear.

Where is a boat’s gunwhale located?

A boat’s gunwhale is the top section of the boat’s sides. In ship terminology, a gunwhale definition is the upper edges of the side of the boat.

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