The Company of
Watermen & Lightermen
of the River Thames

Binding and Admission

What is Binding?

It is simply a ceremony at which the apprentices or trainees enter into a commitment with the Company to serve an agreed period of time as an apprentice or as a trainee. For an apprentice it is likely to be 5 years and the Master or mentor will join in by committing themselves to help and assist the apprentice. For a trainee the period will be at least 2 years. It is a lovely ceremony to which parents and friends are invited to come and support the apprentices and trainees.

It is another ceremony when an apprentice or trainee who having completed their period of binding, having received their Tier 1 Level 2 Boatmaster’s licence with at least two specialist endorsements and having been examined by the Company for their local knowledge, are admitted to the Freedom of the Company.  In addition they are able to receive their Watermen’s and/or Lightermen’s Certificates. Again parents and friends are invited to come and support the apprentices and trainees.

 For further information or guidance, please contact Kelly on

Court of Admissions –  Newly admitted Freemen in the Freemen’s Room. below


The next Court of Bindings is on 13 January 2020, please call Kelly Lesurf on 0207 283 2373 or email to receive an application pack.

Forthcoming training surgery dates, which prospective apprentices will need to attend to meet with our Training Officer, Alex Hickman ahead of the bindings are:
14 November 2019 – 9am-12noon
13 December 2019 – 9am-10.30am
6 January 2020 – 9am-12noon

These are drop-in sessions so please come along during the time-frame specified.

The Company of Watermen and Lightermen, Watermen's Hall, 16 - 18 St-Mary-at-Hill, London, EC3R 8EF

© 2019 The Company of Watermen and Lightermen