FOUR new skippers have been trained to take command of a passenger boat.

The volunteers – Peter Close, Matt Stanley, Jeff Hill and Dick King – are now qualified to skipper the John Pinkerton II, which is based at the Colt Hill Wharf, Odiham.

They passed the exams set by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and will be able to take trips up and down the Basing-stoke Canal this summer.

The volunteer-run boat raises money for maintenance projects on the 32-mile waterway.

Trips this summer will include music evenings, including jazz and ale, and half-term activity trips where all the crew will dress in pirate costume.