About Us | Our Crew | Woods' Silver Fleet


Over the last 60 years Woods’ Silver Fleet have developed their own training system to ensure the highest standards of safety, service and engineering are maintained onboard their vessels.

Woods’ have established a rigorous induction and training policy, recruiting all crew members 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.

Woods’ employ this system as it enables them to train all their Captains and engineers to the highest standards possible, making them an unrivalled, prestigious and highly respected institution on the river.

We make it happen.

Robert Coleman

Head of Marine Operations

Robert joined Woods’ as an apprentice in April 1989 when he was 16 years old. He became a captain for Woods’ Silver Fleet in 1994.  From this date Robert has captained every vessel in the fleet, becoming the Captain of the Silver Sturgeon in 1999. In 2007 Robert became the Marine Operations Manager for the Woods’ fleet, and was also appointed a Waterman to HM the Queen at the same time.

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 part of the company ever since. Graham is now the Chief Engineer for Woods’ Silver Fleet, looking after all aspects of engineering and planned maintenance that keep the vessels in the best of condition.

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 largest vessel, the Silver Sturgeon.  Jim brings lots of experience to the fleet, as all of his working life has been spent on the river since he was apprenticed at 16 years of age.