Safe and Friendly Canal Cruising

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Most guide books and ‘how to do it’ publications about the waterways concentrate on technical aspects - how things work, how to operate locks and boats etc. They do not deal with the interaction between boaters.

These notes (see links on the left) are intended to encourage everyone to help each other enjoy cruising the waterways. They highlight some common situations where this might be appropriate, where aggravation could be prevented by mutual help, thoughtfulness and understanding. We hope to encourage the more experienced boater to offer advice and assistance in appropriate circumstances in a spirit of friendship; and the less experienced to seek advice or ideas and to evaluate advice given in good part. Not all hirers are novices; some private or shared ownership boaters are. Many hire boaters have several years’ experience and some private boaters have very little! We are all people with a common interest in the waterways who have just not yet become friends. The organisations which have produced these notes hope they will help you do just that.

The notes have been produced mainly with canals in mind, but are just as relevant for river boating. Currents, weirs and changing water levels on rivers may bring extra hazards and lock procedures may be different.


Most Canals, Rivers Severn, Trent, and north east rivers - Canal & River Trust Emergency number 0800 47 999 47

Rivers Thames, Nene, Great Ouse, Medway - Environment Agency Pollution and Navigation Emergency Hot Line 0800 807060