As escapes from the hustle and bustle of daily life go, there’s no better way to really get away from it all than to go on a narrowboat holiday somewhere in the UK. There’s nothing quite like being the captain of your own luxury ship, waking up to a new view every morning and relaxing with friends and family. What could be better?
But it’s important that you know how to stay safe on the water, whether you’re an experienced narrowboater or a first-timer eager to get going with their boating ambitions.
Here are a few top tips from us to help you make sure you can have the holiday of your dreams, without putting yourself or anyone else at risk as you go.
Read the Boater’s Handbook
If you’ve never hired a narrowboat before, it’s essential that you read up on how to drive and steer it, as well as how to moor it. The Canal & River Trust has a very helpful guide that can help give you confidence when taking control of a boat for the first time, with detailed information on boating safety and how to navigate locks, tunnels and bridges.
Gen up on canal etiquette
Knowing the rules of the water is a must, as well, so do some research and reading up on canal etiquette to ensure you don’t fall foul of others in the vicinity.
At a glance, this includes only cruising at a max speed of 4mph, not cruising after 20:00 or before 08:00, cleaning up after your dogs, offering assistance to others, saying hello and keeping the towpath free from litter and other obstructions.
Learn the terminology
There are a lot of terms you’ll come across while boating that you may not have heard before, so it could be useful to familiarise yourself with as many of them as you can so you understand what’s going on.
Did you know, for example, that a ‘gongoozler’ is actually someone who enjoys watching the activity along the canals? Every day’s a school day!