Canal Boat Skipper or Crew

We have volunteers working at our mooring locations and along the whole length of the navigation helping to restore and maintain the navigation with tasks varying from lawn cutting, removing invasive plant species, painting, landscaping and building projects. For more information contact the Navigation Manager. We are currently especially looking for volunteers to Skipper and Crew our trip boats as described below. The money raised from passengers will go back to Essex Waterways Ltd to help maintain the navigation.

Blackwater Dawn and Albert can each carry up to 12 passengers. We need a volunteer skipper and one crew member to operate each boat. We aim to run Blackwater Dawn as regularly as possible out of Heybridge Basin for hour long trips and Albert from Paper Mill Lock (no lock on these short journeys). Customers will just turn up and pay on the day for these one hour trips. Both are also available for longer private charter hire booked in advance but again only with our volunteer skipper and crew. For longer trips the boats may pass through locks.

What we can offer you

In return for your time, we hope volunteers will have a rewarding day on the navigation, make newfriends and have a sense of achievement in helping to support the long term preservation ofChelmer and Blackwater Navigation. We don’t pay volunteer travel or other expenses, however we will provide training if required and support volunteers in other ways. Find out more at


All skippers need to hold an IWA COBM, or RYA Helmsman’s Training, or Boat Masters certificate or other recognised qualification. They must also have good customer skills, be confident to provide safety information to the customers, as well as information to make the trip enjoyable for all.

If you have no boating experience you can start as crew and train to be a skipper. Crew need to be physically fit, and confident to support the skipper if required in the unlikely event of an emergency. They are required to ensure the safety of the passengers when the skipper is busy navigating, and provide information and support to the customers so they have an enjoyable and safe time. They assist the skipper with mooring and locks if required.


  • Accessibility
  • Data Protection policy
  • DBS check required
  • Equal opportunities policy
  • Expenses reimbursed
    Only by prior agreement
  • Health and Safety Policy
  • Ongoing support
  • Suitable for under 18s
  • Training provided
  • Volunteer induction
  • Volunteer policy
  • Volunteers covered by insurance
  • Written role description

When can I volunteer?

Start Date: 11/07/2019

End Date: 31/12/2020

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Morning No No No No No No No
Afternoon No No No No No No No
Evening No No No No No No No

Availability Details

Ideally a commitment of one day a week from 10.30am to 4pm but more or less is also ok.


This opportunity is available in: Braintree, Chelmsford, Maldon

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