The Nottage Institute in Wivenhoe will be the first in the country to pilot a new river users course funded by Trinity House.

With the increased use by non-sailors on local waterways like the Colne, Stour and Blackwater, it's never been more important to learn the rules of the river.

And that's why Richard Barnard and Bernie Hetherington of the Nottage decided to run a course for canoeists, water ski-iers, paddle boarders or those who just fancy a bit of wild swimming.

Both Royal Yacht Association qualified instructors, they will be leading river users through a variety of topics from personal and vessel safety, to checking for weather and tides, as well as the rules and regulations governing UK waterways, and how to look after the nature that lives nearby.

Bernie says: "We are arguably the oldest yacht training institute in the country so it's only right we move with the times. The river has changed considerably over the years so it's not just sailing boats, yachts, and commercial vessels. Lots of other people are using it as well."

The River Users Course is being generously sponsored by Trinity House, the safety body responsible for up keeping the country’s navigational aids and lighthouses, which has an important regional base in Harwich.

Taking place on the last Sunday of each month, the course costs just £10, upon which participants will receive a joint certificate from the Nottage Maritime Institute and Trinity House.

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