DofE Offerings

AAP LOGO DofE Gunmetal_smallHillingdon Narrowboats Association is an Approved Activity Provider as given by the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

We’re delighted to have won this accreditation in early 2016, which means we can offer our 5-day/4-night narrowboating courses to an even wider range of young people, introducing them to a unique challenge and experience on London’s canal network.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) provides a balanced programme of activities for participants aged between 14-24, giving young people the opportunity to develop skills for life and work through team working and social interaction.

Want to know more about the DofE? Click here to link to the DofE website.

The DofE is all about going the extra mile – gaining new skills, pushing yourself physically, helping others and exploring new territories. At the same time, you’ll gather friendships, experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.

It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, as long as you’re 14 to 24, you can choose the activities that motivate you and go on your own personal journey. We know from other participants that the DofE helps you stand out from the crowd when you apply for college, university or jobs. Ready to find out what the DofE could do for you?

Parents and carers: we know you might have some reservations about what may be your child’s first extended stay away from home. We welcome visits from prospective participants and their families to show you what we can do, or, if you’re further afield, we happy to set up a call with either of our two AAP Managers who will be able to answer any questions you might have. See also our Meet your Trainers page to see who will be working with the young people.

Apart from the practicalities of learning to steer a 70-foot long narrowboat on some of the busiest stretches of canal in the country, on a route which will take you from the leafy suburbs of Middlesex, through the industrial parts of West London, the sounds and smells of Camden, the nautical-feel of London’s Limehouse basin, and onto the River Thames, before heading home, you’ll learn to communicate, live and work as a team. And these valuable life skills are important, not just for a five day boating course, but right through the rest of your life. Sure, you’ll make mistakes as we go, but that’s fine: you’ll have as much backup from your experienced trainers as you need, and learning to recover from bad decisions is just as important as not making them in the first place!

We’ve grouped the learning objectives into the following seven categories:


Teamwork Looking out for each other’s safety; listening or giving instructions; working in a confined space; what to do in an emergency; working together to achieve something.
Planning Considering the day’s events; thinking about food requirements; planning meals; thinking ahead.
Responsibility Making decisions and choices; managing the consequences of a bad decision.
Confidence Working with other parties; speaking to a group; meeting new people; living in close confines with others.
Observational Watching what’s going on, both near and far; looking for risk; judging opportunities; examining surroundings (such as weirs) to predict effects on the boat.
Risk Mitigation Identifying, managing, understanding, mitigating and avoiding risk.
Communication Controlling a crew; clear and concise instruction; interacting with other parties; reacting to instruction; understanding differences between requests and instructions; watching for misleading signs.

Want to know more? Get in touch at and one of the team will get back to you as soon as possible.

In October 2017 we’re running another of our courses exclusively for DofE candidates, which will be a five day and four night course, and a maximum of 12 trainees. Click here to learn more about that, and book yourself onto it.

You can also download a sample Training Programme (for DofE delegates). 

If you are thinking of participating in this course, the DofE have asked that you advise your DofE leader before booking.