Over the last 70 years, Woods’ Silver Fleet have developed their own training system to ensure the highest standards of safety, service and engineering are maintained onboard. We have established a procedure of rigorous training, recruiting all our crew from the Royal Company of Waterman and Lighterman, between the ages of 16 and 18. All members of Woods’ Silver Fleet’s crew have undergone a four year apprenticeship with us, consisting of courses and exams, and culminating in the attainment of their Boatmaster licence. We use this system as it enables us to train all our young Captains and engineers in the way that Woods’ Silver Fleet expect, making us an unrivalled, prestigious and highly respected institution on the river.

Robert Coleman - Marine Director

Robert joined Woods’ as an apprentice in April 1989, when he was 16 years old, becoming a Captain in 1994. From this date, Robert has captained every vessel in the fleet, becoming the Captain of the Silver Sturgeon in 1999. In 2015, Robert was appointed a Waterman to HM the Queen in 2007 and Queen's Bargemaster in 2015 and promoted to the role of Marine Director at Woods' Silver Fleet.

Graham Downs- Chief Engineer

Graham started at Woods’ Silver Fleet in October 1974. He originally worked in the shipyard that built the Silver Barracuda. When the build was complete, Graham stayed with the vessel when she was launched and has been with the company ever since. Graham is now the Chief Engineer for Woods’ Silver Fleet, looking after all aspects of engineering and planned maintenance that keeps the vessels in class.

James Howard - Senior Captain

James started at Woods’ Silver Fleet in July 2001. He has worked his way through the fleet and is now Captain of the Silver Sturgeon. Jim brings lots of experience to our fleet, working on the river since he was apprenticed at 16.


Create a stunning top deck canapé reception followed by an intimate dinner in the River Room, or invite a larger guest list to enjoy the entire vessel and the drama of your own private yacht, luxurious in space and service.

Talk to one of our team to start planning your event