Boat Handling


Price on request


  • Typology


  • Methodology


  • Duration

    2 Days


To gain knowledge and skills on boat handling.
Suitable for: Open to all (minimum age 14)

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Course programme


The course is designed to give students, with little or no boat handling knowledge or experience, instruction in small boat handling, including techniques relevant to diving, and related safety knowledge.


All instructors must be approved Boat Handling Instructors (BHIs). They may be assisted by Boat Handling Assistants (BHAs) who may only give instruction under the direct supervision of a BHI. Requirements for qualification as a BHA or BHI are defined in the relevant standards in the Appendices to the Instructor Notes.

Ratio – One approved boat handling instructor for every three students.


Classroom – a classroom of an adequate size to seat all students plus staff. Either OHP or data projector / computer facilities will be required to present visual aids. Sufficient space and tables for each boat group (students plus instructor) to lay out charts etc. to prepare their voyage plans.

Boats – small planing boats, typically of a length between 5 and 8m. As a minimum, they must be adequate size for groups of up to four people. It is recommended that they be equipped in accordance with the Combined Diving Associations document “Guidelines for the Safe Operation of Member Club Dive Boats‿. All boats used must be covered, as a minimum, by their own third party insurance in accordance with BSAC Rule 5 (E).

Location – a coastal location that provides access to both sheltered water for the initial lesson and more open water for the later lessons. Different locations may be used to satisfy the two requirements. Inland sites are not acceptable.


Course registration procedure applies. A BSAC Boat Handling Student Pack must be provided for each student.


Day 1

Instructor briefing
Assemble, Introductions, Administration

BH1 - Classroom Lesson - Course Objectives & Outline - 15 minutes

BH2 - Classroom Lesson - The Boat and its Equipment - 60 minutes

Types of craft:

  • seaworthiness
  • Engines and drives
  • Hull types
  • Engine installation, fuel supply, controls
  • Navigation and Communications equipment
  • Ancillary and safety equipment

BH3 - Practical Lesson - ‘Walk Round’ Familiarisation - Ropes and knots - 45 minutes

BH4 - Classroom Lesson - Owner and Driver Responsibilities - 45 minutes

  • Legal obligations
  • Trailing and the law
  • Bye-laws and insurance
  • Voyage planning
  • Rule of the road
  • Buoyage
  • Emergencies

BH5 - Classroom Lesson - Boat Handling Basics - 45 minutes

  • Operating a boat
  • Launching & loading
  • Handling the boat
  • Retrieval
  • BH6 - Practical Lesson - Voyage Planning Exercise 1 - 30 minutes
  • Area familiarity
  • Weather
  • Impact of tides
  • CrewBack-up plan

Allocation of group for practical sessions -15 minutes

  • Group briefings by Instructors

BH7 - Practical Lesson - Sheltered Water Handling - 3 hours

  • Preparing the boat, pre-launch checks
  • Launch
  • Starting/stopping engine, warm-up
  • Loading
  • Calm water handling Medium speed and High speed
  • Recovery

Day 2

BH8 - Classroom Lesson - Voyage Planning Exercise 2 - 45 minutes

  • Operating area
  • Weather
  • Impact of tides
  • Adequacy of crew
  • ‘Get home’ plan

BH9 - Practical Lesson - Open Water Handling - 3 hours

  • Preparing the boat, pre-launch checks
  • Launch
  • tarting/warm-up
  • Loading
  • Calm water handling Manoeuvring/Towing
  • Open water handlingHigh speedLow speed
  • Mooring, coming alongside, approaching shore

BH10 - Practical Lesson Anchoring and Diving - 3 hours

  • Preparing the boat, pre-launch checks
  • Launch
  • Starting/warm-up
  • Sheltered water handling Approaching fixed buoy/Anchoring and recover/Dropping shot line and recover
  • Simulate dropping divers and recover(Repeat in more exposed water)
  • Sidestep manoeuvre
  • Man overboard simulation
  • Approaching shore/slip
  • Recover onto trailer

Open Forum

Course debriefing on the day’s activities - 15 minutes

  • Instructor debriefing


1. Theory instruction may be spread over a series of shorter (evening class) lessons if desired, in which case all theory should be covered before practical experience is gained.

2. Boats used on the course should be fast planing craft between 3 and 8m in length with engines in the 30 to 200 hp range. They may be rigid, RIB or inflatable and the availability of a variety of craft and engines is desirable.

3. Teaching should be continuous during practical sessions and should involve all students as far as possible, not just the person at the helm. As and when opportunities present themselves, teach rope handling, knots, position fixing and other aspects of seamanship.

4. During man overboard and diver cox'n skills training, a 'tide rode' buoy must be used, not a live volunteer.

5. Further information about the BSAC Diver Cox'n Assessment is available from the Technical Department at BSAC Headquarters.

Boat Handling

Price on request