How to volunteer with DART

Volunteer helping on a DART tripThe Disabled Afloat Riverboats Trust relies on volunteer support to make holidays happen for our guests. If you’d like to help crew, cater or organise and run our trips, we would be keen to hear from you. In return for your help, we will get you trained up to be a trip manager, skipper, part of the crew or to help with catering keeping everyone well fed. DART will also arrange a DBS check (formerly called CRB) for all our volunteers.

Sounds good? If you’d like to volunteer we would love to hear from you.  Don’t worry if you have not got much boating experience as training can be given or if you don’t think you can volunteer a week of your time but could do a few days we would still love to hear from you.  Please have a look through the pages on the website, and the latest newsletter to see what we get up to, as well as reading the job information below have a look at the documents on our Downloads page.  If you would like to find out more about volunteering with DART contact the office on 01242 644085 or Trustee Paul Treble on 01242 674092. You can download and complete our Application-form-for-volunteers please return it to the office.

Volunteer roles

Happy VolunteerVolunteers play an essential part in helping to organise the administration of trips; operate the boat; cook and clean, as well as making sure everyone enjoys their holiday. Here’s a little more information about what you might do, as a DART volunteer.

Trip Managers

The trip manager is there to take responsibility for the safe running of the trip and organising the activities of passengers and crew.

You will be fully trained and supported to carry out your duties. Often this role is combined with one of the other volunteer positions (skipper, catering, cleaning). You can apply to be a volunteer trip manager if you have disabilities and feel up to the challenge but may need assistance due to lack of mobility. Your responsibilities will be advance planning of the trip, alongside our administrator; responding to inquiries from potential guests and day to day decision-making during the trip. In addition to taking part in training, you will usually have been on a DART holiday previously.  Take a look at the Trip Manager Briefings


Volunteer Skipper on DART holidaySkippers are responsible for the safe operation of the craft that we use and supervise those on board as they steer the boat and operate locks and bridges.

The skipper organises the crew to operate the boat in safely. They will be on hand to teach guests (acting as crew) to operate locks, steer and moor up. You will be a patient person, as crew might have difficulties with mobility, or need to offload and load their wheelchair, slowing progress. You’ll also need good eyesight (to keep a look-out) and be strong enough to operate locks.

Ideally, you should hold a Certificate in Community Boat Management (CCBM) or a Boat Masters Licence Level 3. If you’re experienced and confident, but don’t yet hold these qualifications, you’re still welcome to apply as training can be arranged.


As the name suggests, caterers are responsible for ensuring that everyone gets fed. It isn’t important to be a trained chef; as long as you aren’t afraid of catering on a larger scale (10 per trip) than family dinners. You might need to adapt your plans to cater for special diets and find an alternative, if somebody asks. You’ll also need to manage the food budget and understand food hygiene, preferably holding a first level Food Hygiene Certificate.  When you’re not cooking, you’ll be joining in with crew duties.


Crewing the boat is a great opportunity to get involved with riverboat life for the first time and help make the holidays a success for our guests. You don’t need any experience, as training will be provided. Once they’ve had a taste of life on board, many of our volunteers return year after year. While crewing, you’ll learn special skills and play an important part in the team. Your training will include how to tie knots, use morning stakes, operate locks and steer the boat.

You will be asked to help our guests with anything from operating locks or fetching suncream to shopping and pushing wheelchairs. As part of the team, you’ll also be on duty for cleaning, laying the table and preparing bedding, as required. Be prepared for anything and you’ll have a great time. We like to keep shipshape, for the comfort and safety of everyone on board. Here is the sort of things we would do daily : Daily Cleaning Check List.  If you would like to read  more then please review our policy and procedures, this details your responsibilities, expense claim details and more about safeguarding, something that the Trust takes very seriously.


Our Volunteers can claim out of pocket expenses while they are participating in one of our trips, just download an Expenses Form and return to the office.


If you would still like to help?

We hope we’ve persuaded you that volunteering with DART is worthwhile and enjoyable.  Thank you for thinking of offering us your time, without volunteers helping us none of the Trust’s work would be possible and we couldn’t offer holidays to our guests, it’s as simple as that.  So if you are now thinking of volunteering or becoming crew, please download and complete our Volunteer Application Form, once we have received your completed form,  one of our Trustees will be in touch to have a chat with you about how you can help us.

Our regular volunteers love it so much, they keep coming back!

We look forward to hearing from you soon.