Preparing for your trip
To ensure your boat is in the best possible condition when you collect it, it will be ready from 3pm on your holiday start date.
Expert tuition before you depart
Before you set off, one of our expert instructors will take you through everything you need to know: how to start the engine; fill up with water; steer; slow down; moor up; and work the locks. You will also be taken through the basics, such as where to drive – the middle – how to steer and work the locks, and the best places to moor-up and turn. There is a manual on board every boat should you need to check anything and our engineering teams are always on hand – 24 hours a day – to help over the phone or come out to you if you need them. Once your tuition is complete, you’ll be ready to enjoy the perfect holiday afloat.
You can watch our Boat Handover video ahead of your holiday to learn about how to operate the boat. And there a series of short ‘how to’ reminder videos to help guide you once you are on your holiday, including ‘how to check the engine oil level’ and ‘how to change the gas cannister’.
A lock is simply a chamber with gates at either end. By emptying or filling that chamber with water, your boat can move up or down onto a new section of the waterway. Each lock takes about 20 minutes to go through. Some locks are operated by lock keepers, others you operate yourself. There is no great mystery to using the locks – just a series of step-by-step tasks.
Cruising at night is not permitted, so make sure you are moored by nightfall. Whilst you can choose where you stop, use sign-posted visitor moorings wherever possible, and always moor to the towpath if you can. If you’d like to find out more about boat handling prior to your holiday, you can download a free copy of the Canal & River Trust’s boater’s handbook from www.canalrivertrust.org.uk.
What to pack for your narrowboat holiday
Our canal boats are like floating holiday cottages, so you’ll find many of the home comforts already on board, including a galley kitchen equipped with cutlery, crockery, cooking utensils, saucepans, a four burner gas cooker with an oven and grill, a microwave (on selected boats) and a fridge with a small freezer compartment (NB some boats have separate freezers). Bedding and bed linen, tea towels, hand towels and one bath towel per person are supplied (NB towels are supplied only for overseas guests from Silsden).
There’s a surprising amount of storage space on board for everything you need to bring with you. To help you prepare for your canal boat holiday, we’ve put together a list of useful items to pack:
|You can buy a waterway map for your route in advance from our booking office or at one of our boat yard shops.|
|Our boats have 240 volt 3-pin sockets powered by the on board batteries so you can charge your phones and tablets on board. Some of our boats also have USB portals. Only charge devices when the engine is running to avoid draining the boat’s batteries.|
|If it’s wet you’ll need a good waterproof jacket and a large golfing umbrella for the skipper. If it’s sunny, you’ll need a sun hat, sun glasses and sun cream. Gloves are useful for working the locks and steering when it’s cold.|
|Trainers or rubber soled shoes are best for boating and lock working. And bring slippers or warm socks to wear on board.|
|Bring your re-useable shopping bags as well as re-useable plastic bottles and coffee cups.|
|Bring DVD’s, cards and games for cosy nights in.|
|If you do venture out to the pub for the evening, as country moorings can be incredibly dark at night.|
|We supply toilet roll in our loos but do bring along extra – just standard toilet rolls (not quilted) and no wipes as these block our toilets.|
|Pack an eco-friendly washing up liquid and hand soap, and make sure your shampoos and face washes are micro-bead free as the water you use to wash-up and shower with will empty straight into the canal.|
|One of the best things about a narrowboat holiday is the wildlife you’ll see along the way!|
|We don’t advise drinking the tap water, so it’s a good idea to bring a large bottle of drinking water, which can be topped-up at water points along the way. And wine boxes are safer to transport than bottles.|
|Pack some extra flavourings as well as the main ingredients, including salt & pepper, herbs and spices.|
|Pets are welcome on board our boats, but do let us know at the time of booking. And remember to bring your pet’s bed as they aren’t allowed on the beds or chairs. Bring poo bags too!|