Our narrowboat ‘The Trebalisa’ was purpose-built for the Centre under Urban Programme funding in 1991. It was designed to make a ‘floating classroom’ with access for people with disabilities and it was built by Selwyn Jordan at the Associated Cruisers boatyard. We operate the boat to enable groups to have access to the canal network, with its peace and quiet, unique wildlife and rich local history. We take groups of all ages and abilities for school trips, community outings or private family bookings. In 2014, our youngest user was eighteen months old and our eldest was 93.

‘The Trebalisa’ is licensed by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to carry an absolute maximum of 25 passengers plus the skipper and crew. Generally groups will be more comfortable with around 20 passengers. We can operate on the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, between Autherley Junction and Stourton, and Autherley Junction and Great Haywood Junction; on the Shropshire Union Canal between Autherley Junction and Norbury Junction; and on the Birmingham Main Canal between Broad Street and Tipton. Our narrowboat skippers are fully qualified with the Boatmaster’s Licence (Grade 3).

The boat has bench seating, central heating, ramp access for wheelchairs, two toilets (that can also be arranged for wheelchair users), a sink for washing up and cupboards. We can supply hot water flasks and tea and coffee on request at a small additional cost. We have clipboards, quizzes, worksheets and pencils and crayons on board.

You will almost certainly get a chance, if you wish, to steer the boat. On a trip to Wightwick, you will be able to see how the locks work and perhaps help with operating them. Anywhere on your trip, if you are lucky, you might see a kingfisher or a water vole.

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