Start boating: Inland Waterways
Exploring the countryside of Britain by boat on over 3,000 miles of Inland Waterways is a unique way to visit new locations and discover a relatively unknown and fascinating part of our country. In addition to the typical experience of narrowboats on the canals there is also a variety of choices available, such as sailing on the Norfolk Broads in traditional gaff rig boats and exploring the Loch’s of Scotland on a motor cruiser. The network of canals, rivers and lakes is vast, linking towns and cities through the beautiful country side that is quintessentially British in every essence.
What's it about?
Spending time afloat on Narrowboats or Canal Cruisers on the Inland Waterways is about slowing down your pace of life and relaxing whilst enjoying a rich part of our heritage on canals, lakes and rivers.
Try out on the water
There are many companies across Britain and Europe that have a range of canal boats and narrowboats available for hire and most provide the necessary tuition for you to take a boat out safely for the first time.
The RYA offers a one day Inland Waters Helmsman’s course which is aimed at the first timer, it will give you enough knowledge to navigate the Inland Waterways safely in a canal or narrowboat.
What you'll need
When starting out you will require minimal kit as the narrowboat hire company will supply all the kit you will need for a safe trip. Non slip deck shoes, walking shoes, warm clothes, gloves and a torch are worth packing.
Find a club
There are many clubs in the UK which welcome newcomers and actively support the development of inland boating. Joining a club will provide an excellent introduction to other enthusiasts.
Where to buy
All the clothing and kit that you will require can be bought from either a yacht chandler or camping shop. The hire company that you choose will be able to point you in the right direction locally.
Books websites and magazines
The RYA is the leading publisher and retailer of boating books so look no further. A wealth of information can be obtained from specialist websites and magazines on narrowboats, canals and inland waterways.
Download your information pack!
We’ve prepared an information pack to get you started with details of what you will need, where to go for advice, gear and courses.