Before you leave the marina and go on a cruise it is important that you have planned your journey. You wouldn’t go on any other type of holiday without first planning your trip and the same goes for canal cruising.
Firstly you should plan your journey, know where you want to go and work out the time it is going to take to get there and back. The average cruise speed of a narrow boat is 4 m.p.h so there isn’t the option of putting your foot down should you be running late!
Paper work! If you intend to go cruising you will need to be insured and also have a Boat Safety Certificate to be legal on the canal system. http://canalrivertrust.org.uk/boating/licensing Just like a car you need to be insured and the BSC is equivalent to a MOT.
Before you set off you should carry out some routine checks on the narrow boat, to make sure everything is in working order. There is nothing worse than setting off to then realise something is wrong.
Things to check:
• Oil levels in the engine
• Water levels in the engine
• Stern tube greaser is full
• Check all systems – water, lights and heating.
Take a variety of clothing on your trip as the UK weather can be very changeable, with the right clothing even a rainy day cruising the canal system can be enjoyable. Also make sure you take some sun protection for warm sunny days when you will be exposed to the sun for the majority of the time if you are outside the cabin.
Once the fridge and cupboards are stocked with the food & drinks and the usual day to day items such as phones/chargers, I pods, tablets, computers, cameras, first aid kits and books are on board you need a few other items to make your canal journey safe and enjoyable.
• Centre rope
• Canal and River Trust Key
Cruising along the Grand Union Canal