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Canal Cruising Skills - The Dummies Guide To Mooring and Tying Up A Narrowboat

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Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 1:17pm
Whether you are intending to buy a narrow boat/have a narrow boat or you are going to take a boating holiday there are two things you are going to need to know about; where you can moor and how to safely tie up your boat.

Of course there are other things you need to learn about, but in this article we are just going to concentrate on these two points.

mooring a narrowboat

Where Can I Moor My Narrow Boat?

If you are on a boating holiday or own a boat then these rules will apply to you;

1. Mooring on the towpath is free (for short periods of time) and you can moor anywhere along the towpath. You will find occasional mooring points which have rings or posts you can use to tie the boat up. If there are no designated points with mooring pins you will need to use your own stakes. Always leave room for other boats to go pass you and to moor near you.

2. For your own safety and so not to get in the way of other boats don’t moor near to a canal lock unless there are designated points already there, if that is the case you will be able to stay at these points for 48 hours.

3. The same goes for swing bridges it is not safe to moor near these bridges.

4. Don't moor in turning points as this will make it difficult for other boats to use.

5. Moor on the straight parts of the towpath and not on a bend.

6. Try and stay away from designated fishing areas as you will be in the way of the fishermen.

mooring a narrow boat on the canal towpath

Finding Moorings If You Own A Narrow Boat

This information is for boat owners who need to know what options they have available to them when looking for moorings. If you don’t need a residential mooring then there is a wide choice of spots along the canal system to stay or if you prefer you can use a marina or join a boating club.

Moorings in marinas usually charge by the length of the boat so as a guide you would be looking to pay around £1.00 per foot per week, so a 60 foot boat will cost you around £60.00 a week. There are benefits of mooring in a marina as you will be able to use all the marinas facilities and it is a safe and secure setting.

Alternatively you can moor on the towpath however you will need to either move your boat every two weeks as your licence only permits you to stay for short periods of time. When the time comes to move you are required to move a reasonable distance and not return to the same area for a while, so basically you can't just move from A to B then back again in two weeks time. The idea is you are moving on and along the canal system, not going backwards and forwards in a small area. Or you can apply for a linear mooring licence from the Canal and River Trust which will allow you to stay in one place for longer periods of time.

Finding a residential mooring is not as easy as the above options as some marinas, boat clubs and boat yards do not offer this facility. If you want to livaboard and need to have a long term residential mooring then we suggest you find your moorings before making a purchase.

More information can be found here.



How do I tie up my boat to the canal bank?

So now we know where we can and can’t moor we need to look at how to tie up the boat securely and safely. Tying up a narrow boat isn't actually very difficult and you will soon get the hang of it.

Follow these simple steps and you will be securely moored in no time.

1. Decide where you are going to moor, look for the mooring rings on the bank if there aren’t any, you will need to use your stakes. The front and the back of the narrow boat need to be tied to the canal bank.

2. Fasten the front of your boat to the mooring ring or stake just to the front of your boat, then do the same for the back of your tying again just behind the back of the boat.

3. The angle of the rope between the canal bank and your boat should be about 45 degrees.

4. If using mooring stakes before hammering make sure there are no cable or pipes visible, and the ground is firm enough to hold your boat in place.

5. To prevent you or other pedestrians tripping over your stake and rope once it has been put in the ground mark it so it is visible. You can use a carrier bag or tie some light coloured material to the stake.

6. Your rope should never use the whole width of the towpath, as this will cause problems for pedestrians obstructing their right of way.

7. Make sure there is some slack in the rope as the boat needs some space to move, especially on a river that is tidal.

8. As a final step you can also use an anchor if you feel you need that little bit extra.

narrowboat tied up on the canal path

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