Planning A Long Cruise On Your Narrowboat
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Tue Mar 3, 2015 at 10:57am

A long narrow boat cruise can be a fun filled experience discovering new sights, exploring new areas, meeting new people and generally having a good time. BUT it won’t be such a great experience if you don’t plan your journey before you go.


For a memorable cruise and for all the right reasons keep these tips in mind:


The first thing to do is to decide where you want to go. This may sound obvious but planning the journeys destination and working out how long it will take you is an important part of cruising. If you are travelling a long distance you need to work out how long the journey will take and also you need to factor in getting back!

You will need to check if there are any stoppages on the route you intend to take (this will mainly affect you over the winter months).

Plan the stopovers.

Once you know the route you intend to take, plan where you will be able to make your stop overs. Read up on the areas you are going to be cruising through, so you can enjoy the attractions in the local area.

At the same time you can check where you will be able to use marina facilities, stop for fuel and supplies. Look for attractions that will be on when you plan to be cruising by, there may be a festival or a show on that you and the family would enjoy.

When you are on a stopover make sure there are plenty of activities that everyone can enjoy from the boat like fishing, board games, kayaking, cycling on the towpath etc.

Prepare your narrowboat.

Having your boat in tip top condition will play a significant role in the way your journey will take shape. Check the engine, valves and fittings and other parts to make sure everything is as it should be.

Also make sure you have all the basics on board like your Roof furniture – Pole, plank, centre rope and boat hook, 2 x windlasses, 2 x lump hammers – one spare, 3 x mooring stakes – one spare, 3 x mooring chains – one spare, British Waterways key, Anchor, chain and rope, Weed hatch tools to make your journey a pleasurable and safe one.

Check this list for the essentials you should have on board 

Now is also a good time to fill up with fuel and solid fuel. There will be places on route for refuelling, but take the stress out of worrying whether you will make it to the next filling station by topping up before you head off.

Make a note of the marinas on route that offer small repairs and maintenance services, just in case you are unluckily enough to have a problem.

Stock up on supplies.

As well as stocking up on food, make sure you have enough clothing for all weather and bedding for the whole crew. You will be able to replenish your food stock after a few days.

Check the safety equipment – make sure you have life jackets for all your crew. Have a tool kit on board to do small repairs and a first aid box in case of an accident. It’s also worth taking some cough and cold remedies and some other basic medicines just in case one of the crew falls ill.

Check weather forecasts.

You can’t rely on glorious sunshine every day in the UK, so it’s a good idea to check what the weather forecast is for the time you intend to travel. This will help you decide what type of clothes you will need and what outdoor activities will be possible.

Don't forget your paperwork.

Remember to take your boat safety certificate and insurance documents. If you have booked to stay at a marina on your journey have either an electronic or paper copy of your booking.