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Bell Boat Helm

The main responsibility of the Bell Boat helm is to ensure safety for themselves and their crew and, of course, provide lots of fun and enjoyment for all.

The Bell Boat is a twin-hulled open canoe seating up to 12 paddlers, including the helm. It is a standard class boat. Bell Boating is a rewarding and enjoyable paddlesport activity that can be used in outdoor education, expeditions and competition. 

The Bell Boat Helm Award is aimed at coaches, youth leaders and others who wish to introduce and develop paddlers on Bell Boats for recreation and sport. Bell Boat Helms may operate on sheltered water including to include slow moving rivers and quiet canals, small lakes or small areas of larger lakes.

For the Course Guide, please visit the British Canoeing Awarding Body website.

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Expand Aspirant Helms

To achieve this award, the aspirant Helm must:

  • Hold a valid one day First Aid training
  • Have a working knowledge of safety and rescue using the Bell Boat
  • Age 18 or over (Candidates may attend when over 16 to become Trainee Helms)
  • Must be competent in the practical assessment

Please note, registration is not required. 

Expand Course Content

In preparing the Bell Boat Helm to take responsibility for the crew and boat, the training will cover the following content areas:

  • Philosophy behind the Bell Boat
  • Sheltered Water – Remit and Ratios
  • Risk Assessment – able to identify hazards and risks and how to reduce/remove them.
  • Safety: Limit of own abilities and the group; Environment (current, weirs, locks, weather); Equipment; Emergency Procedures (including person overboard); Leptospirosis
  • Coaching: managing the group
  • Coaching: techniques – paddling, steering, manoeuvring
  • Negotiating a Lock (lining, if relevant to the location)
  • General Information: The next step; British Canoeing; Access to water; the Environment
Expand Course Structure

Candidates must attend a training course, whether continuous or modular, in order to cover the course content and meet the requirements of the assessment. The course content will include personal skills, group control and safety.

Expand Assessment & Certification

Assessment: Candidates will be conversant with the Bell Boat Helm course content and expected to demonstrate the following knowledge and skills with a Bell Boat and crew, successfully and safely:

  • Safety routines, checking equipment and screening crew
  • Load a boat and give safety information to crew
  • Move away from the bank
  • Basic forward paddling technique
  • Teach proper use of the paddle and basic paddle strokes
  • Emergency stop
  • Steering the boat over a straight course
  • Steering through a figure of eight course
  • The procedure for negotiating a lock
  • An approach to the landing stage, disembark the crew and secure the boat
  • The procedure for lining the boat round a rapid or weir (venue dependent)

Certification: Candidates who successfully complete the course will be recommended to British Canoeing for certification subject to a candidate fee.  

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