Etiquette On The Canal System
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Tue Nov 1, 2016 at 10:36am

Dear All, as the busiest part of the boating season draws to an end and we all sit back and reflect on our journeys and experiences, could we or others have made cruising a more enjoyable and pleasurable experience for others on the canal system?

In this article we are going to look at a few points that will make boating better for everyone.

The common denominator in our top tips is to think about other people’s feelings first because it’s not all about maximizing your personal convenience.

Here are our five top tips that we think helps makes boating better for all involved:

1 Don't be a queue jumper

This can happen purely by accident and can be easily avoided by just talking to the other boaters close by. When approaching the locks it may seem that the passage way is clear but other boater’s maybe actually be moored up waiting their turn to go through the locks.

So by taking a few minutes to approach nearby boats and talking to the owners you will be able to assess the situation. If you are new to boating don't worry about talking to complete strangers, the boating community is a very friendly place and such conversations are very common and actually welcomed amongst boaters. 

If you see someone walking towards the lock with a windlass this is a sure indication their boat is just about to enter the lock and you should wait your turn.

2 Be prepared to share the locks

This is only possible where there are double locks on the canal network but it can make a huge difference to water conservation during busy times when the water levels are low. When the system is at its busiest we want to save water and we can achieve this by sharing the locks with other users on the system.


So even if you approach the lock and no one is right behind you consider waiting a short while to see if other boats you have passed will join you shortly.

3 Be considerate when cruising and mooring

When passing moored boats you should slow the speed of your boat right down to around 2mph, merely reducing speed by a token amount of revs is not really acceptable.

When cruising behind another boat, just like when you are driving your car, don’t sit right up close, give them some space. The water turbulence is affected by the distance left in between the lead boat and the boat behind; it will affect any boats passing in the opposite direction and will actually slow the lead boat down.

When it comes to overtaking it is up to the boat you are following to decide if it is acceptable for you to pass, so wait for indication from the lead boat that overtaking is safe to do.

When a boat is coming towards you and you are both at cruising speed, slacken the revs off a bit until you have passed each other. This lessens the likelihood of the water being 'stolen' from one boat or the other - remember that a narrow boat sucks water in behind it and alongside it. You shouldn't move too far into the shallow sides as you are likely to go aground.

It is very rude to pull out from a moored position in front of a cruising boat, let the boat pass before you leave your mooring spot.What's the rush!?   

When mooring your boat, it is your responsibility to moor properly. Unsecured boats will be thrown around by passing boats, or even go adrift (this will not be the passing boats fault). Secure your boat by using proper ropes set at approximately 45 degrees consider the ground conditions to make sure the mooring pins are securely in the ground.

Don’t moor in unsuitable places, this includes; next to locks, moveable bridges, tunnels and in winding holes, even if it’s for a short stop these locations should be avoided for your own safety as well as others.

4 Be a good neighbour

Every marina will have its own set of marina rules, so it’s wise to check these before signing an agreement with the marina. Rules are set for a reason and generally they are there for the benefit and safety of everyone in the marina.

If you feel you will not be able to follow the rules set out, then it might be best to look for alternative moorings. Living together in a marina requires you to be respectful of others, showing consideration to others will go a long way.

By abiding by the rules set out everyone will mosey along nicely. Being selfish and annoying isn’t going to make you very popular with the marina management or your neighbours! It’s all about getting on with each other and it’s better to be a good neighbour, people are more likely to help you out if you play fairly.   

5 Don't be a rule breaker

The rules set out by the Canal and River Trust are there to protect you and all users of the canal system. So it's important to follow the guidelines set out to ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable time on the water ways.

Please don't hesitate to call our office if we can be of any assistance.

Happy boat from the team at Venetian Marina.


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