We appreciate that a cruise on a narrow boat throws a few questions into the pot which wouldn’t normally come up if you were choosing a holiday on land! We’ve answered a few of the FAQs here and you can also take a look at our canal boat tutorials and handbooks.
Do I need a license?
You don’t need a license to handle one of our narrow boats. On arrival you will be greeted by our team and provided with training on how to handle the canal boat, how to moor up safely, how to operate a lock and other various items like turning the boat around.
Once you have received training our award winning team will ensure that you are confident with the boat before we send you off on your journey. If you are not then more training can be given until you are.
Our canal boats are extremely easy to navigate and although people think it would be difficult, because of their sheer size, it’s actually pretty simple and should cause no customer any concern or even worse be the reason why you do not book.
We provide our customers with a whole range of canal routes which you can take for various periods of time depending how long they want to hire the canal boat for.
Can we bring pets?
All of our canal boats are pet friendly. We ask that you inform us upon booking and details will be agreed by both parties. We do request that any pet which is coming on board is properly house trained or is caged as is appropriate. They must never be left unattended by the hirer and are not allowed to climb on the bedding or upholstery.
We do not provide any pet blankets or pet beds and so this will be the owner’s responsibility or whoever is hiring the boat and bringing the pet along with them. Our company Insurance covers the hirer(s) however pets are not covered under this and therefore the hirer will be liable for any loss or damage which is caused to them as a result of their canal boat hire trip.
As you are passing other canal boats on your trip then you may well see other furry friends on the other boats and tow path. A canal boat cruise is a wonderful experience for your pet, so bring them along for the ride!
Do we get training on handling the narrow boat and operating locks?
The number one worry that our customers have is how on earth they are going to handle the narrow boat and negotiate/operate a lock. You will receive full training on handling the boat when you arrive and then we’ll get you to operate at least six locks before setting off on your cruise.
In reality the process of navigating or operating a canal lock is really quite simple which works out quite well since on some of the cruise routes there are quite a few which you need to pass through!
A lock, put in simplest terms, enables a boat to move up and down hilly areas of the canal by entering a chamber which either fills with water (for climbing) or empties water (for descending). You can take a look at our video tutorial on operating a lock to see what it’s all about.
Bear in mind that sometimes strong currents can be produced in the process of filling a lock with water or emptying the lock of water and thus you need to remain safe. Water should be let into the chamber or out gradually and not all in once go! The ground paddles need to be opened first to allow the lock to fill to around the halfway mark. Then you can let the rest of the water in gradually by opening the main gate paddles.
Please also bear in mind that you are not the only person on the canal and therefore as a general boaters rule if you can you should share locks with other boats as it saves water and time. Always check that there are no boats coming in the other direction before emptying the lock or filling to suit yourself if the lock is set against you.
What happens in the case of man overboard?
Prior to your departure we will ensure that everyone on the boat knows the drill should Man Overboard occur. We also ensure that there is more than one person trained to handle the boat should the main skipper be the one who falls overboard. In most cases the event can be quite funny however, it is important that a level of seriousness is kept to ensure the person is okay.
Should a passenger fall overboard do not panic and do not jump in after the person! The water in a canal is very cold, even in the summertime and so it is important that you keep sight of the person and turn the canal boat engine off.
Never reverse the boat as the person could end up being dragged into the propellers; instead throw them a line or a lifebelt and tell them to try and stand up. In most canals they might be able to walk out however if this isn’t possible then providing them with a line and a lifebelt will be sufficient. Steer the canal boat to the bank and get one of the passengers to help the person to the shore.
Pull them in using a rope and then once on the shore it might be necessary to check them over for injuries and have them seen by a medical professional. However they might be okay and just in need of some dry clothes! Keep an eye on them if this is the case because there are diseases within canal water and if they have gone underwater and swallowed then they may need treatment but symptoms may not show right away.