Helpful Tips To Plan The Perfect Canal Cruise
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Mon Jul 6, 2015 at 2:15pm

Being organised and planning ahead will go a long way to help you experience the perfect canal cruise. Whether you are contemplating cruising on your own or with a crew you will want the journey to be as stress free and untroubled as possible.


Follow our helpful tips before you set off:

Get Your Vessel Ready

Before you even leave your mooring give your narrow boat the once over, checking the engine, batteries values & fittings and other working parts to make sure everything is as it should be.

As you would when going out in your car make sure you have enough fuel, if you need to refill plan this into your route if it is not possible to fill up before you leave.

Have your boats insurance documents, boat safety certificate and other relevant paper work on-board.

Plan Your Route

Check that there are no stoppages on the network you intend to use. Work out how long it will take you to get to your end destination and back.

Remember the maximum speed limit is 4 miles an hour on the canal network, and you may have locks to negotiate along the way.

Don’t spoil a perfectly pleasant cruise by trying to do too much in one journey; the last thing you want is to be panicking about getting back in time. There are now many apps out there that will help you plan your journey or if you prefer you can use an old fashioned map!

Planning Stop-overs

If you are going on a long cruise you will need to plan whereabouts you intend to moor.

Check for suitable places on route to break up your journey, if you want to stay in a marina call and book a mooring in advance.

For shorter cruises you will still want to break up your journey by stopping along the way, plan these stops before setting off. If you want to stop at other places you can always add these into your journey as you come across them. It’s not a military day out so changes can be made along the way.

Breaking Down

It does happen even when you have checked all the basics, so have a backup and make sure you have some breakdown cover.

This will at least give you peace of mind, knowing if you should get into some difficulties that someone will come to your aid.

It is also worthwhile having a tool kit on-board to fix small problems that might happen, it might be the difference to getting yourself going again, or having to call someone to help you.

Safety Equipment and Advice

Make sure you have a first aid box on board and also safety jackets for the crew. If you're planning to go alone, let someone know your route and your estimated time of return and make sure your contact has your mobile phone number to keep in touch with you.

Check The Weather

Be sensible about what type of weather you cruise in, during the winter months it’s still safe to cruise the canal system, but avoid cruising when the canals are frozen. For the rest of the year it’s advisable to check the weather forecast for the day/days you intend to travel and use your common sense.

Boating is fun whether it’s raining or the sun does decide to shine, dress for the conditions and take a jacket even if you don’t think you will need it. It is best to have it on-board just in case, the British weather is so unpredictable.


Make sure you have everything on board before you leave, having a checklist for cruises is a good way to ensure you have everything you need to enjoy a pleasurable day/days out.

That’s it! Enjoy your cruise and keep safe 

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