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Marine safety and training business expands in the Midlands

Published on: 11 November 2021

Birmingham Midland Marine Services Ltd

Birmingham & Midland Marine Services Ltd offers a wide portfolio of services to the civil engineering, rail, utilities, environmental, and ecology sectors, working in an open water environment.

  • Occupational Water Safety and Rescue Training
  • Procurement, Project and Safety Management
  • Comnercial, Support, Safety and Rescue Vessel Services
  • Boat Coxswain and Crew Training – Workboat, Powerboat and Safety/Rescue boat

Companies and organisations working on, beside or above open water are faced with a multitude of logistical complications; in fact, a ‘minefield’. This ranges from obtaining workboats, floating welfare vessels, pontoons, safety boats, licences, permissions, marine risk assessments, obtaining life jackets and rescue equipment, plus sourcing the appropriate training specific to the environment in which they will be operating.


Further complications can include providing emergency first aid support at these often inhospitable waterside locations, seldom easily accessible by ambulance. Training requirements can be confusing for Human Resources and Health and Safety Managers with The HSE, DEFRA and the CDM Regulations 2015 all requiring training. Furthermore, the levels of training required also change depending upon the location of the watercourse, the specific environment and the expected level of water contact those personnel are faced with. 

Potentially having to contract a specialist safety team to cover the water margins is a further complication; to what level should the rescue teams be trained and with what equipment, licences, and insurances? 

Does this sound like a stressful day at the office? In steps Birmingham & Midland Marine Services Ltd.

Headed by Rich Gray, Maritime and Coastguard Agency Boat Master, ‘Water’ Rescue Instructor and Rescue Boat Operator with 23 years’ experience in the industry, Birmingham & Midland Marine Services was established in 2013 and expanded as a limited company in 2020, in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic.

As a small, yet niche business servicing the civil engineering, rail, utilities, environmental and ecology sectors, supporting and training the ‘Search and Rescue’ sector, clients are assured of a one-stop-shop approach to having the project supported from the initial tendering process to completion.

Registered with Achilles on the National Procurement Framework, the Commercial Boat Operators Association, the Inland Waterways Association and British Marine, approved trainers to the Canal & River Trust and the Environment Agency, the companies’ credentials are assured.

Recent courses developed by Birmingham & Midland Marine Services include a bespoke ‘Small / Inflatable Craft’ course for the Canal & River Trust’s Craft Licencing Department and an ‘Inland Waters – Rescue Boat Operator’ course, certificated by Outreach Rescue. 


This new rescue boat course bridges the gap in the safety and rescue boat training sector and is ideally suited to companies wishing to provide an element of in-house support on the water, derived from the higher-level course yet excluding the fast-flowing water, tidal and coastal considerations. The syllabus includes casualty management, recovery, shallow-water operations, capsize drills and search considerations.

For those companies looking to provide their personnel with relevant First Aid Marine Environment training, encompassing elements such as the protocol for drowning within CPR, crushing, amputations, use of tourniquets, cold water shock, hydrostatic squeeze and vasoconstriction; elements not found in a ‘standard’ First Aid at Work course.

Birmingham & Midland Marine works with its TQUK registered partner to provide bespoke marine environment Level 3 TQUKS regulated (RQF) Emergency First Aid at Work, First Aid at Work and First Responder (IPOS) courses.

Royal Yachting Association VHF radio and First Aid courses also available at Gailey Wharf Training Centre with our partnering trainers.


Occupational Water Safety & Rescue courses are, in the main delivered via the Outreach Rescue DEFRA training programme. Based upon the DEFRA Flood Rescue Concept of Operations documentation, and commercial river-based courses are based around the Annex ‘H’ syllabus, satisfying the Environment Agency as well as DEFRA. Basic DEFRA Module 1), Module 2) Water Rescue First Responder and Module 3) Water Rescue One Technician courses also available in ‘closed course’ format by arrangement.


Commercial Boat courses include workboat oriented RYA Inland Waterways Helmsman Certificate training, Powerboat Level 2, Rescue Boat Operator and Maritime & Coastguard Agency Boat Master training, including ‘Boat Fire Safety’ and ‘Water Safety & Personal Survival’ ancillary courses.


With the company’s primary base being canalside at Gailey Wharf on the Staffs & Worcester Canal, Base-Two at a privately owned stately home with sixty-acre lake and licences and permissions in place for various other venues including National Trust property, our training areas a both diverse and dynamic: the marina, farm shop and cafe at one of our training venues in Great Haywood, Staffordshire is owned by the descendants of the inventor of the lifejacket!

New courses are being developed and accreditation is underway, examples include the ‘Inland Waters Marine Operator Programme’. The IWMOP is full suite of courses available as a package and aimed at those looking to break into the inland and open water commercial sector is currently being developed for roll-out during the Spring of 2022. The ‘IWMOP’; is a four-week programme developed to take a novice to a sufficient level of competency to begin working in this expanding sector.

Another course under development is our ‘Workboat’ course; specifically designed to provide relevant training and experience to commercial skippers and coxswains, working on category ‘A’ & ‘B’ waters, canals, and non-tidal rivers. Covering craft ranging from small inflatables, landing craft, displacement workboats, pusher tugs and towing operations. Again, breaching a gap between a leisure oriented RYA Inland Waterways Helmsman licence and a full Maritime & Coast Guard Agency Boat Master’s Licence.

A ‘Rescue & Recovery from Lock Chambers’ course and a boat-based HIAB Operator course are also planned for the 2022 season.

Further information can be found on the company website: and the management team are always happy to invite potential clients to their Gailey Wharf canalside depot or our second training centre and event location at the Chillington Estate in Staffordshire to discuss their requirements.