A guide of conduct for a hassle-free holiday
A basic knowledge of etiquette can make a boat trip of any length much more enjoyable. Here's some useful guidelines to consider during you time on the water.
Remember you're crusing in a wide-beam boat. Many people you encounter will be on a narrow boat. Narrow boats can go into locks side by side, two at a time. Only one wide beam will fit in a lock at a time. Be aware, when you reach the lock that you'll be alone in there. Consider the other people waiting, be polite and patient.
When ascending a lock, do not open the gate paddles until the water level from the ground paddles has risen to cover them. Opening the paddles the opposite way round could cause water to flood into the front of the boat, risking damage to vessel and crew. On leaving the lock, drop all paddles and close the gates behind you. And if a boat is coming towards you to use the lock let them know you're going to leave the gate open for them.
Remember paddles down. When you leave a lock make sure paddles are down. This keeps the water in the lock and if you consider the lock as a hill, you'll see that keeping the water in will make sure that the hill can be climbed safely. If you leave the paddles up, you're effectively creating a landslide. You'll drain the canal and upset a lot of people if you forget.
Keep your boat tight to the bank when you pull in to a lock waiting point or for a swing bridge. Use your middle rope to help pull the boat over. A boat bow heading into the middle of the canal can cause obstruction and upset other canal users.
Be sensible when mooring. There are specific moorings for short term stays, keep to these. Remember there are people living on the canal and they moor at the longer stay ones. Don't moor on the bollards near to locks or bridges, stick to specific moorings and you'll be fine. Use the mooring pins provided with the boat. If the ground is too hard to hammer them in – move on.
Keep your speed down. The limit on a canal is 4mph – that’s walking pace. Under no circumstances should your boat create a breaking wash – and slow right down past moored boats – if you're going too fast, you'll find they bump and move around! Keep your speed down in general and slow down when approaching hazards. As a rule, if you see something ahead or to the side of you – slow down.
Other canal users
Move to the right hand side of the canal if another boat is coming towards you.
Don't cruise after 8pm or before 8am in the morning.
Be courteous and polite and remember you all want to have a good time.
Move off the service point when you've finished using it.
Do not run engines or generators between 8pm to 8am whilst moored.
Keep the towpath next to the boat free of litter and obstructions.
Not drive or park on the towpath.
Cycle with consideration, be prepared to slow down or stop for other users.
Clean up after your dogs.
Offer assistance to any boater when it seems appropriate and is safe to do so.
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