We are pleased to announce that Ken Bywater, the Blackcountry Man trip boat manager, has recently qualified for his Maritime and Coastguard Boatmaster’s licence. Having had the necessary training to qualify for the licence Ken can now skipper the Blackcountry Man for the coming season. For any vessel that carries more than twelve passengers, under maritime law it has to have a fully qualified Boat Master on board. The training involved in obtaining the Boatmaster qualification ensures that candidates have the required level of boatmanship skills to control a passenger vessel, with particular attention being paid to the comfort and safety of the passengers and crew on board.
The Stourbridge Navigation Trust sponsored the training and Ken had to work hard to absorb fresh knowledge before being thoroughly tested through a written and practical on the water examination. SNT Trustees congratulate Ken whole-heartedly for putting significant effort into passing this qualification and indeed for his massive enthusiasm in running the trip boat operation.
The Blackcountry Man already has over eighty trips booked for the coming season and it is essential that it is crewed by competent, experienced and qualified people in order to ensure the safety of the passengers and others using the waterway. Ken, who is also a keen river boatman, some years ago also qualified for his Royal Yacht Association (RYA) day skipper qualification, confirming that he has the knowledge needed to skipper a yacht on shorter, coastal cruises during daylight.
Ken is using two new steerers he has recently recruited, who are also Boatmaster qualified, so they will be helping to run the Santa trips later this year which we are sure is good news for everyone, especially our younger visitors.
On the subject of accreditation and licencing, Ken and Heide-Marie Barratt (the SNT Trust Manager) have also undergone training and passed their personal licencing course and received certificates to prove it! They have also undertaken Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks which have been processed through Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council who have subsequently issued Personal Licences HABC Level 2. Being a Premises Licence holder means that they can legally sell or authorise the sale of alcohol, with Ken responsible for that on the Blackcountry Man and Heide in the Bonded Warehouse itself.
Clearly this investment in our people at SNT is focused very much on the enjoyment, safety and protection of visitors to the Bonded Warehouse and when on board the Blackcountry Man trip boat.