on the Canals
knowledge of etiquette can make a boat trip of any length much more enjoyable
operating a lock which is set against you, do check that there is not a boat
coming in the opposite direction that could use the lock first - By
pausing for a short time then helping the opposite approaching boat through
saves wasted water and you are actually then setting the lock for your passage
at the same time. To reverse the lock may delay the opposite direction boat by
about 10-15mins. Your passage was delayed anyway, with the lock being set against
you, so such a short pause to give the other boat precedence will cause
emerging from a lock, look to see if there is another boat approaching from the
other direction. If there is, leave the
gates open for them (but the paddles down).
If you are that approaching boat, but you do not wish to use the lock
(perhaps you are mooring up for the night just before the lock, or going to
stop at a water point), signal to the outward boater that you do NOT want the
gates left open. Otherwise the emerging boater (thinking he is doing the right
thing) leaves the gates open for you - only to find that the gates are left
open without a boat entering the lock.
operating your boat through a flight of locks. Efficiency of travel through a
flight is largely dependent on not causing hold-ups to others. So if by putting
several boats in a congested queue you block things up for boats coming in the
opposite direction, you are actually slowing things up for everyone, including
yourself. Remember you cannot progress any quicker through than the boat ahead
of you - so why cram yourself up his/her stern.
paddle pawls in place on the ratchets - it's bad and dangerous practice to lift
them off whilst winding paddles up (you should be able to hear them clicking).
When putting paddles down you obviously need to lift the pawl, but only by an
inch or so above the ratchet, so that in an emergency merely dropping the pawl
will stop the paddles from falling uncontrollably. When we find pawls left off
the ratchet and hanging, it means that we have to replace them in their correct
setting locks ahead on a flight, don't go so
far ahead with the process that you end up reversing locks on those coming in
the opposite direction.
If in a suitably sized boat, be prepared to
share locks up to the capacity of that lock. This will conserve water supplies
and reduce the effect of lock queues.
sensible when mooring – even if it’s a short stop for a mid-morning cuppa. Use
the mooring pins provided with the boat. If the ground is too hard to hammer
them in – move on a little – there’s always good scenery around the next
corner! If you intend to moor overnight – DON’T moor on the bollards
approaching or leaving a lock. These bollards are for boats using the lock only
– and single handed boaters in particular find it incredibly difficult trying
to bang a pin in while holding their boat steady .
your speed down. The absolute limit on a canal is 4mph – that’s walking pace.
Let’s face it – you probably chose a canal holiday to get away from the hustle
and bustle in the first place, so under no circumstances should your boat create
a breaking wash – and slow right down past moored boats. If you keep
your speed down in general and slow down when approaching hazards, the worst
you’re likely to suffer is a bump rather than a crash should you hit something.
your time on the canals of Britain – and remember – if you show a little
consideration for other boat users, you’ll be welcomed back with open arms!