The training course is held over two residential weekends. Each normally starts at about 17:00 on the Friday, and returns about 16:00 on the Sunday.
The training route starts at Preston Brook just south of Warrington, and travels along the Trent and Mersey Canal to Kings Lock in Middlewich and back.
The course is run by leaders, for leaders. It is done in a friendly relaxed environment. There are four instructors and up to four trainees doing weekend one and weekend two, on each course.
The course not only covers boat handling, and safe procedures at locks, but also daily boat maintenance, route planning, incident response, etc.
The first weekend follows the NCBA – (National Canal Boat Association) – CCBM – (Certificate of Canal Boat Management )- training structure, with additional modules that are specific to scouting. It is formal training with the inevitable lectures, but as far as is possible the training is ‘Hands On’.
The weekend finishes with the CCBM examination. Student competence with the boat is monitored through the weekend and if satisfactory, and the examination is passed, then a Certificate of Course Completion and Application for Permit are presented. If a student has satisfcatory experience required for the NCBA then a CCBM application form is also issued. This form will also be issued to anyone completing the course and subsequently logging the required experience.
The second weekend runs concurrently with the first. The students of the second weekend use the time that the first weekend students are training to get more experience with the boat.