Narrowboat Holiday Advice
Our suggestions to help you get the best out of your narrowboat holiday
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
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.
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!