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Canal Boating In England, UK

A quick introduction for newcomers

Canal Boating In England, UK - A hotel boat pair motor and 'butty'

Canal Boating In England, UK - A historic working narrowboatCanal Boating in England has a colourful history, from use for irrigation and transport, through becoming the focus of the Industrial Revolution, to today's role for recreational boating.

Today the canal system in the United Kingdom is again in increasing use, with abandoned and derelict canals being reopened, and even the construction of some new routes like the Bedford and Milton Keynes Waterway.

English Canals first saw canal boating during the Roman occupation of the south of Great Britain. The canals were used mainly for irrigation, however, they did create several navigable canals, such as Foss Dyke, to link rivers, enabling increased canal boat transportation by inland by water.


Canal Boating In England, UK - A Waterways Restoration Group at work restoring a lock.

From the mid 19th century, rail track began to replace canals, especially those built with the standard narrow beam bridges and locks. As the modern transport trains, and later road vehicles advanced the canal network went into decline, and some narrow canals became unusable, filled with weeds, silt and rubbish, or converted to railways.

From the 1950s onwards, canals started reopening through the efforts of individuals like Tom Rolt and restoration societies as well as organisations like the Inland Waterways Association.

Many societies are still working on such projects and welcome anyone who wants to get involved as a volunteer.


Holidaymakers began renting 'narrowboats' and canal boating in England, roaming the available canals, visiting towns and villages they passed became a popular 'staycation'. Narrowboat / Cruiser Holiday Advice

Canal Boating In England, UK - A 'narrow' GRP canal and river cruiser.
Other people bought boats to use for weekend breaks and the occasional longer trip, while a few others now live aboard on residential moorings or continuously cruise!

Canal Boating In England, UK - A narrowboat using a narrow lockThere are now around two thousand miles of navigable canals and rivers available for canal boating in England. Most of them are linked into a single English network from Bristol to London, Liverpool to Goole, and Lancaster to Ripon, and connecting the Irish Sea, the North Sea, the estuaries of the Humber, Thames, Mersey, River Severn, and River Ribble. This network is navigable in its entirety by a narrowboat no longer than about 56 feet, but boats up to 72 feet can get around around half of the canal boating system in England. With a  canal maximum speed limit of 4MPH!




Narrowboat Holiday Advice

Our suggestions to help you get the best out of your narrowboat holiday

A Viking Afloat Holiday Hire Narrowboat


1) A narrowboat holiday is a chance to slow down and try and get into your lowest gear, so slow down and relax, you are on holiday, not taking part in a race.


2) Walking or even sitting on the roof of the boat whilst it is in motion is extremely dangerous. It is easy not to notice the approach of a bridge! Keep your body-parts within the profile of the boat. It is also illegal to fish from a moving boat on the canals and rivers of England!


3) Do not take too much luggage. Folding, collapsible bags are best. Suitcases are not a very good idea as storage on a narrowboat is usually fairly limited.


4) Do not take your best clothes. Be practical and remember to take some warm and waterproof clothing. We know the UK does not suffer many monsoons, it can, and does however, rain at a moments notice.


BW Mooring Sign5) Always consider your crew, fellow boaters, wildlife and others using the canal and its environs. Your hire company will probably expect you to stop cruising at dusk and not start again until after dawn. Try not to run your engine near houses or other boats between 08.00PM and 08.00AM as a matter of courtesy and observe BW mooring signs.

6) Do not cruise a boat whilst under the influence of alcohol. This is an illegal and dangerous practice - boaters are not exempt from being breathalysed by the police. It is not a good idea to operate locks either when drunk!

7) Remember, if you are out of a marina - not hooked up to 230v AC you will probably have to cruise or run the engine for at least four or five hours per day to keep the narrowboat's power system charged up. Be careful and try not to use electric power unnecessarily. It is pretty inconvenient if the lights go out or the TV or radio won't switch on!



8) If you take bicycles, you do so entirely at your own risk. In addition, you should take sufficient padding to protect the boat paintwork. Be aware that you do need a BW Cycle Permit to cycle on the towpath - which is private property. These are free to obtain.


9) When outside the cabin enclosure, children and non-swimmers should wear lifejackets at all times. Your hire company will provided lifejackets against a refundable deposit. We also recommend that pets have lifejackets too!

10) If anybody should fall in the canal - turn off the engine at once. Use the rescue equipment on the boat - do not be tempted to jump in the canal after the man or pet over-board!

11) Always take out personal and cancellation insurance to cover the duration of your holiday - even if you are based in the UK. Many Brits do forget but don't let it happen to you. Probably all hire companies offer comprehensive insurance cover at a very competitive rates.



12) Follow the simple daily service schedule for the boat and keep the fresh water topped up every day or so, if possible, to keep the boat trimmed.


13) Unlucky for some - DO NOT barbecue over live coals onboard or adjacent to a boat!


14) Enjoy your narrowboat holiday!


Canal Boating In the UK

Canal Boating in the UK is a major part of the maintenance of the inland waterways keeping the channel navigable from water weeds and debris.

Canal Boating In England, UK - A hotel boat pair motor and 'butty'


Canal Boating In England, UK - A historic working narrowboatCanal Boating in England has a colourful history, from use for irrigation and transport, through becoming the focus of the Industrial Revolution, to today's role for recreational boating. Today the canal system in the United Kingdom is again in increasing use, with abandoned and derelict canals being reopened, and even the construction of some new routes like the Bedford and Milton Keynes Waterway.


English Canals first saw canal boating during the Roman occupation of the south of Great Britain. The canals were used mainly for irrigation, however, they did create several navigable canals, such as Foss Dyke, to link rivers, enabling increased canal boat transportation by inland by water.


From the mid 19th century, rail track began to replace canals, especially those built with the standard narrow beam bridges and locks. As the modern transport trains, and later road vehicles advanced the canal network went into decline, and some narrow canals became unusable, filled with weeds, silt and rubbish, or converted to railways.


Canal Boating In England, UK - A Waterways Restoration Group at work restoring a lock. With canals reopening through the efforts of individuals like Tom Rolt and restoration societies as well as organisations like the Inland Waterways Association.


Canal Boating In England, UK - A 'narrow' GRP canal and river cruiser. Holidaymakers began renting 'narrowboats' and canal boating in England, roaming the available canals, visiting towns and villages they passed became a popular 'staycation'. Other people bought boats to use for weekend breaks and the occasional longer trip, while a few others now live aboard on residential moorings or continuously cruise!


Narrowboat / Cruiser Holiday Advice


Canal Boating In England, UK - A narrowboat using a narrow lock There are now around two thousand miles of navigable canals and rivers available for canal boating in England. Most of them are linked into a single English network from Bristol to London, Liverpool to Goole, and Lancaster to Ripon, and connecting the Irish Sea, the North Sea, the estuaries of the Humber, Thames, Mersey, River Severn, and River Ribble. This network is navigable in its entirety by a narrowboat no longer than about 56 feet, but boats up to 72 feet can get around around half of the canal boating system in England, with a canal maximum speed limit of 4MPH!


Canal Kayaking - Canal Kayaks

Most narrowboaters and canal cruisers welcome responsible canal kayaking and canoeists - And remember you need more than just an open canoe or kayak to go canoeing. You need to stay safe and warm too.

Canal Kayaking - Canal Kayaks
Enjoy the canal or river and countryside, leaving it as you found it, treating wildlife and other river users with respect. There's something magical about spending time by water. The peaceful atmosphere, the beautiful surroundings, the sights of the wildlife and much more.

Canal Kayaking - Canal KayaksThere are canal canoe clubs for canal kayaking using suitable canal kayaks, like the Gailey (Canal) Canoe Club, at Gailey in Staffordshire, just off the A5 Trunk Road.

If you are looking to buy a canal kayak for touring down canals and flat water, we suggest that you might like to buy something cheap! There are three main types of canoe – the fast-turning kayak, the straight-running kayak and the open canoe. We have been told that you will soon get bored with canal kayaking and want to progress onto moving water quite soon.

For touring you want length and a bit of stability and there are plenty of custom touring boats suitable for canals, rivers and estuary paddling. You will soon know if touring is going to be your thing or not and then you can spend the serious money on the kayak you need whether you want to or not.

We recommend that you join a club for canal kayaking and get some experience, if you can use their their canal kayaks, until you know what you want, so much the better, and joining a club gives you the chance to get out on the water with other people.

There are differences between canoes and kayaks;

A canoe - Open canoe or 'Canadian' has no deck and the oarsman use a single-bladed paddle either kneeling or sitting.
A canoe - Open canoe or 'Canadian' has no deck and the oarsman use a single-bladed paddle either kneeling or sitting. The canoes available today are closely related to those used by the native north American Indian tribes hence the term 'Canadian'. Most today are made from plastic and can be paddled by 1 to 4 people.

A kayak - Closed cockpit or decked. The oarsman uses a double-bladed paddle in a sitting position only. Kayaks are related to those used by Inuit or Eskimos for hunting but made today using modern materials. The range of kayaks available is large, covering the many varied specialisations; sea kayaking, touring, surfing, whitewater, freestyle etc.

The term 'canoeing' is used to cover paddling in both canoes and kayaks.

Which Canoe or Kayak is right for you?

Open Canoes or Canadian Canoe paddlers use a single bladed paddle. Ideal for family canal canoeing and river touring, carrying one or more paddlers and their equipment. Open Canoes or Canadian Canoe paddlers use a single bladed paddle. Ideal for family canal canoeing and river touring, carrying one or more paddlers and their equipment. 'Old Town canoes' are amongst the toughest, made in Cross link 3 plastic or Royalex material.

Recreational Kayaks - These craft are very stable with a large open cockpit. Fun to paddle on canals, calm or sheltered water. Excellent for beginners or those who want a gentle paddle. They are also good family boats and are available in singles or doubles. Boats worth looking at are the 'Kiwi 1' and the 'Kiwi 2'. These kayaks are made of plastic, polyethylene.

Sit-on-tops - These are a range of kayaks without a cockpit that you sit-on-top. They are wide, stable and self-draining fun boats for all the family. These kayaks are made of plastic, polyethylene great for quiet canal canoeing.

General Purpose Kayaks - These are good all-round boats that are used to teach paddling skills by clubs and centres. Ideal for those who don't want to paddle in extreme conditions. Kayaks for all sizes of paddler. Suggested boats are the 'Pyranha Acrobat 275' and the 'Dagger Legend' Series such as the 'Redline'. These kayaks are made of plastic, polyethylene.

Touring Kayaks - These are longer boat's that track well in the water and have storage compartments for camping and other kit. Ideal for calmer coastal paddling, lakes and canals. Faster than general purpose boats and sometimes fitted with a rudder. Singles and doubles available. Suggested boats are the 'Dagger Blackwater 10.5' and the 'Perception Carolina'. These kayaks are made of plastic, polyethylene.

We won't discuss Sea Kayaks, Whitewater and Surf Kayaks in this article, just sufficient to know they exist.


Living On A Narrowboat In The UK

Some of the 'living on a boat' emails we have received recently - Answers given in good faith

Living on a boat in Yorkshire

Dear CC,

I shall be moving to the Leeds area within the next 3 to 6 months. I will want to rent some suitable ( self contained ) accommodation. I shall be mobile hence if there are any possibilities for a lower rent due to my locating outside of Leeds then I would be interested in that possibility. I understand that there is a canal network nearby to Leeds hence the idea of renting (long term) a narrow boat appeals to me. My stay in the Leeds area is likely to be from 1 ½ years to 3 years. Are you able to make suggestions at this stage? And also an indication of the rent to pay? Regards K J

Hi K,

I wouldn’t say there is no chance but finding a narrowboat with a residential mooring for rent is highly unlikely as these are highly sought after by boaters for themselves.

If you go down the non-residential; long term moorings route then you will have the problem that you are not legal for 24/7 occupancy of the boat, of access and lack of services: water, sewer, electricity rubbish disposal, mail etc.

If you go down the permanently cruising route, then you have to keep moving at least every 24 hours to 14 days depending where you moor.

If you have had a holiday on a narrowboat then you have some idea of the concept of living aboard if you haven’t then I would recommend you take one.

I know this doesn’t sound very positive but I meet hundreds of people each year who ‘like the idea of living aboard’ but would never be able to hack it as it’s not necessarily the idyllic life that everyone assumes.

If I haven’t changed your mind by now, get back in touch and I’ll discuss further.

Kind regards Graham


Furtherance:



Hi K,

The hiring of the boat may well be legal but the validity of the mooring of said craft is usually the problem.

There are different classes of legal moorings – Here are the ones we know :

Residential – BW or other Waterways Licence usually required even in a private marina - Where tenure has been approved by the local council planning department - you are liable for council tax (even if you don’t actually receive any services)

Long Term Moorings – BW or other Waterways Licence usually required even in a private marina – LTM are for the boat not the occupants! You may be permitted to stay aboard for periods of time, say; two weeks at a time - dependant on the individual mooring permit.

Visitor Moorings (Signposted) - BW or other Waterways Licence required – for periods of time from as little as 30minutes up to 14 days or more.

Unofficial Moorings - BW or other Waterways Licence required – Mooring on the towpath outside of Residential, Long Term or Visitor moorings. You may be permitted to stay for up to 14 days, dependant on local by-laws.

The best people to speak to ate your local waterways office (BW or other as applicable).



Living on a boat - some practicalities



Hi CC

I have found your web site and have been reading about those who 'sold up' and now live on their boats, and mention is made of residential moorings which can provide a postal address.

How about doctors services? Do you register with a local GP? Do GPs accept permanent boaters?

Thank you G H


Hi G,

We are still registered with the doctor we had in our last residence town of T**** at one of our daughter’s address. Our two daughters live within a couple of miles of T**** so they come and take us to the doctors as and when (desperately) required.

If you have your NHS Medical Card and proof of identity you can use any NHS doctor as a temporary patient.

We also use NHS Direct by phone and dispensing Pharmacists for queries about things, lumps and bumps! Hope this helps?

Kind regards Graham


Looking at living on a boat

Hi CC,

I am considering “selling up” and moving onto a narrow boat for good.

I am reading your website with great interest and would really appreciate as much help & advice as you can possibly afford or point me in the right direction of where to start. I want to be based around the Leeds area due to work commitments.

Where on earth do I begin? Best Regards, A R

Hi A,

I think we would need to know a bit more about you before we can really give ‘best advice’ but here’s a starter.

Walk the towpath and talk to boaters – they will usually answer any questions you have.

Have you ever been on a narrowboat for a week or more? If you haven’t then hire a 60 foot or longer narrowboat for at least 1 week - we recommend 2 weeks cruising in the area where you are planning to ‘live’ – just to make sure you are not just falling in love with the idea.

If you are looking to stay in on one place – you will need to find official residential or long term moorings where the owners will permit you to live aboard. (Do this before you do anything else! – If you can’t find ‘residential’ moorings in your area – you’re scuppered before you start!) Make sure you have a mobile phone signal actually on the proposed moorings!


Decide what you are going to need aboard your boat: Central heating / coal fire / combination.

Washing machine, tumble drier, fridge, freezer, microwave, hairdryer, TV, computer (internet through mobile internet service provider – 3G) then decide how you’re going to power them!

Visit a couple of boat shows and talk to heating and power management companies.

Let us know when you have specific questions.


Kind regards Graham


Windlasses

Windlasses are available with a variety of hole sizes and tapers to match the myriad of lock-gear spindles. The basic double-headed windlass used on most hire boats will get you almost everywhere. This type are heavy and generally short shafted – giving poor leverage!

As a boater becomes more experienced they find personal windlasses that suit themselves and the regular lock-gear spindles they use.

The length of the windlass shaft is critical to the health and wellbeing of your knuckles! The longer the handle the higher the mechanical advantage but the more likely your knuckles will get in the way.

Make sure the windlass you choose suits the job in hand. The size of the socket should correspond with the mechanism spindle size. If you put an oversize socket on a small spindle it may make winding possible but there is an increased likelihood of the windlass slipping. Likewise if you choose to place a small socket on the end of a long spindle unless you are very strong there is a risk of slipping off the end of the spindle. This may result in damage to the lock-gear or you!

Do not leave a windlass on the spindle without your hands on it – particularly in the paddle up position. A flailing windlass can cause severe damage to hands and if it flies off the spindle your face and body are vulnerable to injury. Don't be a hero and try to stop a spinning handle - I tried that once and, even though the handle had only just started moving, I ended up with a bruise like a small hen's egg!


Boat Hooks, Barge Poles and Gang Planks

Boat hooks are designed to be used for retrieving things from the water or pulling the boat into the bank or towards other boats and manoeuvring in a wide lock. Boat hooks should not be used for fending off – that is what the barge poles are for. The strongest type of boat hooks are the traditional wooden handled versions with a galvanised steel head. The shaft is generally Ash wood. The head can be single or double hooked, some are spiked. There are ‘modern’ aluminium versions and telescopic types with plastic hooks. For those who like brass – yes there is a brass version! We have a boat hook, gang plank and a barge pole rack-mounted forward and another set at the stern; both positions are easily accessible from the forward and aft decks.
Barge poles are also usually turned from Ash wood, generally much longer than the boat hook and a little thicker. These can be used for fending off and assisting in the re-flotation of a stranded boat. It is not recommended to paint barge poles as water entering behind the paint can cause the wood to rot and the rot can’t be seen!
Gang planks can be made from any rough, long grained wood about 2.5cm (1 inch) or more thick, long and wide enough to be used for the purpose. It is best not to paint gang planks as this makes them slippery when wet and you can’t see the condition of the wood if it is painted. We have attached some black plastic lorry spray suppressant to one end to use as a ‘door mat’. There is an anchor hole in the ‘bank’ end of the gang plank to fix it down with a flat headed mooring pin.>


Boat Anchors

You are required to carry a boat anchor on your craft by most river regulatory authorities. So it makes sense to purchase one at the start of your ownership. Inland craft will generally only need a boat anchor in an emergency. This may be in the case say of engine failure passing a weir! Loss of control in fast flowing water may be another case. Most boat anchors work best if the drag on them is close to the horizontal. A good length of heavy duty chain will settle the anchor on the river bed which can then be connected to a strong synthetic warp attached to a fixed point on the deck. The size of boat anchor will depend on the size and weight of your boat. We have a 14kg, galvanised Danforth boat anchor for ‘Maid Of The Mist’, a 60 foot steel narrowboat, and brought it into use on the River Nene when we lost power on our maiden voyage. The anchor should be ready to deploy whilst cruising rivers. Ours is mounted on a lockable rack on the bow outside bulkhead. The chain and connected warp are stowed in a forward locker. Before cruising on rivers the chain should be attached by way of a heavy duty ‘D’ ring to the anchor and the warp end similarly fastened to an anchor point welded on to the deck.


Canal Speed Limit UK

Have you lost your water-skier?

The British Waterways and Environment Agency's Boater's Handbook of 'Basic Boat-Handling and Safety' section on Good Boating Behaviour sets out the Canal Speed Limit as, "The maximum speed on narrow canals as 4mph. But if you're making waves or your wash is hitting the bank, you're going too fast - slow down.

Keep your speed down when you're approaching bridges, locks, bends or other junctions, and when passing other boats or anglers."

Respecting other waterway users: Always slow down before passing other boats.

The Science Bit

4 Miles per hour converts to 1.95 yards per second or 1.788 meters per second - That's not very fast - Around 2 paces per second!

117 yards or 107 meters in a minute.

Mile posts on canals are generally 1 mile apart so at 4 miles per hour it should take, at least, 15 minutes to travel between mileposts if there are no moored boats, wildlife, soft canal banks or other obstructions when it should take you considerably longer.

An army marches at around 4mph which is an average brisk walking pace. A good way to test your speed is to allow a member of your crew to walk between bridges a couple of times early on in your cruise to see what your engine rev counter reads when you are just keeping pace with them. If you start to creep passed the walking crew member - you're going too fast; so slow down and reassess your engine revs.

Once you have found the maximum cruising speed (4mph) then consider other situations in accordance with the Good Boating Behaviour code. Pass moored boats at around 2mph - half your cruising speed! This may be 'tick-over' for your engine but that's OK, you are on the great inland waterways of Britain to enjoy a slower pace of life.

Please observe the Canal Speed Limit in the UK




Boat descriptions - Wide-beam boats

Wide-beam boats with a suitable draught can be used on some navigable rivers and most wide canals in the UK.

wide-beam boat

If you believe you will be happy at being restricted to the broad waterways and rivers of the UK, where the bridges are high enough to allow navigation of such a craft - then you may wish to consider a wide-beam boat. They by nature have a greater volume of living accommodation and generally have a weather proof helmsman's wheelhouse (that may fold down to negotiate low bridges). The wheelhouse can be a social area for the helmsman and crew when cruising. Wide-beam boats with a suitable draught can be used on some navigable rivers and most wide canals in the UK. If your boat has a keel then it may also be cruisable in tidal waters and in some instances costal waters subject to licensing. Generally wide-beam boats are over 30 feet long with a beam over 7 feet built on a hull style of a canal, river or coastal going barge, and can be constructed with or without a keel.

Dutch Barge style Widebeam boat in Limehouse Basin, London - used as a live-aboard

Dutch Barge Widebeam craft make great houseboats Wide-beam boats also make good 'houseboats' due to their roominess and ability to displace a higher tonnage, giving less restriction on the carriage of water volume (and black water). The usual build for wide-beam boats is of the 'Dutch Barge' style, although there are other styles and designer boats. If you just like the appearance of the Dutch Barge style, then this is adapted by some boat builders for a narrow boat design.


Boat descriptions - Narrowboats

Traditional narrowboat

Narrow boats are generally steel, aluminium, GRP (glass re-enforced plastic) or wooden boats of 6 feet 10 inches wide beam or less, built on the style of hull used for canal or river barges. Narrowboats can be constructed with, but usually without, a keel. The engine power output and propeller will determine the ability to navigate some rivers.
No two narrowboats are the same. Each boat that is built is built with the customers requirements at the forefront of the design. When the authors had their narrowboat built they chose to have a 60 foot, square cruiser stern boat, regular modern bow, with a mixture of narrowboat windows and portholes. Windows forward, in the saloon, dining and galley, portholes aft, in the bathroom (obscure), bedroom and utility area. One huge side-hatch opening with a slide back roof section, opposite the dining booth. Two tinted roof 'Houdini' hatches one in the galley the other in the bathroom for extra ventilation in the areas generating steam.
The general shape of traditional and modern boats is easily understood. There are three main styles of stern configuration:

Trad stern Traditional Narrowboat. (Commonly referred to as 'Trad') Based on the traditional working boats - hence the name. With the traditional style of narrowboat the cabin superstructure is taken as far aft as possible, leaving a deck at the stern big enough for the helmsman to steer the boat - either standing on the small deck area or from the hatchway of the cabin. The deck is usually between 1metre and 1.25metres long. The Trad stern is usually rounded. The engine is usually mounted either forward of the aft deck or in an engine room, with side hatches, forward of a boatman's cabin.
Semi-trad sternSemi-Traditional Narrowboat. (Commonly referred to as 'Semi-trad') From the side or at a distance the Semi-trad looks like a Trad, but the aft deck is actually much longer to accommodate between 2 and 6 people seated on fitted bench style seating as well as giving protection from the elements to the helmsman, surrounded by a superstructure that gives the appearance of being a Trad stern. The Semi-trad stern is usually rounded. The engine is usually mounted under the deck with accessibility to it by lifting a section of the decking.  
Square cruiser sternCruiser Style Narrowboat. The Cruiser stern is designed to give an open space aft. The aft deck is usually 2 metres or more long, surrounded partly with safety rails and completely open to the elements. The engine is usually mounted below the aft deck and is accessed by lifting a section of decking. The stern can be rounded or square. A square stern boat gives more deck space but can be more difficult to manoeuvre, especially in reverse. This style of boat originated with hire-boats but is popular with private owners.

Other less common styles of Narrowboat

Director's Inspection Launch. Director's Launch Based on the old Canal Company's Director's Launches used to inspect their investment. Usually with large windows in the saloon and forward steering position. Practical as a day boat and very appealing to the eye.




There are also different styles of bow to consider.

Tug front style narrowboat

Tug-Style. Tug-style narrowboats have front sections that derive their shape from working boats. They have a long fore-deck, usually 3 metres or more which are flat with actual (or false) decking or 'freeboards' covering a compartment below. This can be stowage or in some cases accommodation.   Joshers. Named after Joshua Fellows one of the founders of a renowned canal carrying company. The characteristics were its riveted long streamlined bow. Simulated rivets and copied styling is available today from many boat builders.


Boat descriptions - Cruisers

Types of Cruisers

Widebeam GRP Cruiser - Forward Steer

Cruisers or cabin cruisers: These are usually constructed of GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic) compound that gives a low maintenance hull that will only deteriorate over a period of many years. They are not as resilient against impact as steel hulls so do require good fender protection. GRP hulls are somewhat cheaper than steel and are usually monocoque, in which the shell absorbs all or most of the stresses to which the cabin cruiser hull is subjected. Cruisers may also be manufactured in wood or steel. Properly maintained both wood and steel boats may last as well as GRP hull boats. Aft cockpit cruiser: Aft Cockpit CruiserThese craft usually accommodate up to 4 persons. Aft cockpit boats tend to be smaller, and are a popular choice cabin cruiser for first-timers to boating being generally easier to manoeuvre, since all of the boat is visible forward from the helmsman's steering position.
Dual steering cruiser: Usually accommodates between 2 to 8 persons. This style of craft gives the helmsman the benefit of the choice of steering positions - one on the raised sundeck and one below inside the accommodation area. This style makes for really good all weather cruising.

Forward helm cruiser: Forward Steer CruiserThese popular cabin cruisers usually accommodate up to 8 persons. Forward vision is very good. They usually feature a single-level deck which many families find more convenient and easy.
Centre cockpit cruiser: Centre Steer GRP CruiserUsually accommodates from 2 to 10 persons. Features a large retractable or sliding canopy over saloon and or cockpit area. These craft offer the choice of a wide range of layouts.


Boat descriptions

Which type of boat is right for you?

        

The generic descriptions below, explained in more depth on other pages, will start to help you decide which type of boat you are looking for. The type of boat you choose will depend greatly on what you expect to get out of your boat, where you want to use it and to a great degree on how much you are willing or able to spend. Follow the route through and you find the type of boat that is right for you.

There is a current stock of over 2000 miles of navigable waterways in the UK today, and with canal and river restorations ongoing and new canals being built it is no wonder that boating is becoming more popular. Notwithstanding TV programmes, like 'Waterworld', extolling the virtues of boat ownership and waters recreational use!


Narrowboats:

Most narrowboats can be used on most navigable rivers and canals in the UK. Narrowboats are generally steel, aluminium, grp or wooden boats of 7' wide beam or less, built on the style of hull used for canal or river barges. Narrowboats can be constructed with, but usually without, a keel.

Wide-beam Boats:

Wide-beam boats can be used on most navigable rivers and wide canals in the UK. Wide-beam boats are generally boats over 30' with a beam over 7' built on a hull style of a canal, river or even sea going barge. Wide-beam boats can be constructed with or without a keel.

River / Canal Cruisers:

Most Cruisers can be used on most navigable rivers and canals in the UK. Cruisers are boats that are of any length and are generally 'designer' boats. Usually constructed of glass fibre re-enforced plastics (GRP), aluminium or wood. They can be narrow or wide-beam.