Consultation on new qualifications for tidal inland waterways

Published on: 12 April 2017

A new set of qualifications for tidal inland waterways, which offers more steps towards BML Tier 1 Level 2 certification and a higher qualification beyond that, has been developed. It will not be introduced unless operators want it. Therefore, British Marine wants to hear your views.  

Why has this come up?

Some time ago the Maritime Skills Alliance (MSA) created a Diploma which provided a structured route, approved by the MCA, for anyone who wants to gain the underpinning knowledge they need for BML Tier 1 Level 2 certification. The Diploma also forms the basis of the Government-funded apprenticeship.

More recently, the BML Working Group has been considering two things: 

  • Interest from operators on the tidal Thames in having a series of steps up towards full Boatmaster certification (Tier 1 Level 2), so that people on the lower rungs have something to aim for (and some recognition for their achievements). This would be in place of the all-or-nothing Diploma.    
  • A worry that the Diploma is ‘only’ a Level 2 qualification. Though employer practice varies, that licence formally permits someone who holds it to be Master of a substantial passenger vessel (i.e. to have a position of real authority on the back of a Level 2 qualification).

To download the full consultation document, as well as the specific questions British Marine is seeking answers to, click here.

Please send all consultation answers to Blue Davies at