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narrow boat tripping

Narrow Boat Tripping: Some Tips To Make Your Holiday More Enjoyable

The United Kingdom, in all its glory, is quite known for the canals and the locks that are used for water traveling around the country. Especially in and around cityscapes like London, hundreds of narrow canals are flowing in and out of the city. Some are created artificially, some are natural. But they bear a lot of history and beauty.

These types of waterways have created a new tourism industry. narrow boating is a fascinating name given to this specific industry. The name comes from the width of the boats which are unusually narrow for a boat of their demeanor. The boats are very roomy inside, more like an RV bus. They hold some history too. narrow boats are part of the British heritage. They were used for formal traveling across England even as early as the last century.

You can reside in these boats and travel through many locks and canals across Britain. narrow boat tourism is booming and you can be a part of this heritage industry too. This article focuses on providing you with some tips for narrow boating across canals and locks.


Of course, there are two choices and the most obvious is hiring a narrow boat or sharing it with others. narrow boating community is extended and homely. You can find them almost at every dock. They are easy to find especially around weekends and holidays. 

The second option is buying one. You could check out narrow boats for sale if you are looking to buy one. You might think it’s a bad idea to buy a narrow boat just for some weekends and holidays when you are going to use it. But, the thing is it is a good investment. When you are not using it, you can rent it to other people. Remember we mentioned it’s a booming industry and you can profit from this if you own a boat. 

No need to plan ahead

The best part of narrow boating is that you do not need to plan ahead for it. narrow boating can be a sudden plan. In most cases the tour is preplanned. Boats can be arranged according to your need. And you do not have to worry about the destinations, as the best route will be given to you on your roster according to your choices. You could choose romantic destinations to spend with your partner. Or you could have a fun weekend with your family. And not worry about a thing beforehand. 

Get all the information

Remember, for the next few days it will be just you, the boat, and the people you chose to travel with. This is why it is very important to know everything about narrow boating before you embark on your journey.

Before leaving the dock you will have a hard and long session of debriefing with the expert who will give you a lot of information about handling the boat, the route, and the best practices while on the boat. You will need to gather all information carefully from them. Besides, ask if you have any questions. You cannot take on this journey with doubts about any procedures. 

Do not fear some bashing 

The thing about the narrow boats is, whatever material is used to build these boats, they are sturdy, because of the locations they are driven through. In a narrow canal, there’s never much space for a turn. If a boat coming from the opposite direction, there’s a good chance you will have to bash the canal wall to avoid collision on a narrow turn.

So, do not be afraid of a little bashing. But that does not give you the free rein to drive the boat like a maniac. The general advice is to slow down around the turns and give the other boat some space. As you start getting used to the idea of boat steering you will gradually stop hitting objects. Even then, there’ll be places where you cannot avoid a collision.

Pack properly

You have to pack appropriately for this journey. You will not be leaving this boat for a long time. Not only that, there might be lengthy intervals between docks and you may not get the emergency supplies you’ll need immediately.

Always keep a safety box onboard with enough medical supplies. Keep a fire extinguisher handy just in case. You should pack an inflatable boat for emergencies. Keep a lot of dry foods. Some boats come with in-build cooking facilities. If you plan on having a picnic out in the wild, then pack for that according to your wish. 

Keep some dry clothes onboard, in case you take a bath or someone gets wet on board. Some conscious people like to travel while being environmentally conscious. Be that, do not litter, especially do not throw plastic packaging into the water bodies. 


Now, if you just hire a boat and plan on going with your family, then take at least one member who has some experience in boating. All those who wish to go narrow boating should have swimming expertise. But at least half of those traveling should know how to swim. If you do not know how to swim, keep someone close who knows swimming.

The other alternative is to hire a boat with its own crew who will drive you around. Usually, these people are professional boatmen and have a lot of experience. But if you are skeptical, you can do background checks on the crewmates. You can never be too careful when it comes to the lives of your loved ones.

Narrow boating is an amazing experience that will not only be an enjoyable moment but also give you a chance to taste the long heritage of waterways and how our forefathers built some of them. If you have the time, take a narrow boating tour.

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