With over 3,000 miles of canals and navigable rivers to explore in Britain alone (and over 28,000 miles of navigable in Europe), cruising the inland waterways with friends and family is one of the most relaxing ways you can spend time on the water. Meander at your own pace through the countryside and past towns, embracing the unique lifestyle of the waterways and their fascinating history and heritage.
Tell me more...
Is it for me?
If you love tranquillity and escaping the daily grind of everyday life then this relaxing pastime is for you. Inland waterways offer the ideal chance to get away from it all and whether you’re planning a holiday or just a short break. The easy going, serene and friendly atmosphere offers a unique and fun experience for everyone, regardless of age.
How can I try it?
There are plenty of travel companies on hand that can provide all the instruction to take a boat out safely for the first time. With so many different places to explore and a variety of different canal or riverboats available to hire, you can tailor your trip to be exactly how you’d like it.
If you don’t fancy taking a boat out yourself, booking onto a hotel boat or going for a meal on a restaurant boat is a great way to get a taste for life on the river. The Canal and River Trust is a great place to find more information about taking a boat trip or holiday.
While anyone can hire a canal boat in Britain, it’s good to know the basics before you set-off. The RYA Inland Waterways Courses will give you all the tips and tricks to make your time on the water safer and more enjoyable.
You can also look into joining a club by visiting The Association of Waterways Cruising Clubs.
Canal and riverboats are hugely accessible for people of all abilities. RYA Sailability can help you to get in touch with canal or river based groups.
Does it cost a lot?
Canal and riverboat cruising is a very affordable way to get out on the water. You don’t need to own your own boat as there are plenty of boats to hire with something to suit every occasion and budget.
Although buying your own boat can be expensive you can easily find pre-loved canal and riverboats for sale. Try your local boat brokers, canal boat magazines or the Crick Boat Show. The Canal and Riverboat Trust also have advice on shared ownership and timeshare.
Not quite right for you - how about...
Motor cruising is a fun and sociable way to explore new places in comfort and you don’t need to worry about the wind! Equipped with powerful engines you’ll travel large distances quickly and can also sleep on board so the adventure lasts as long as you want it to.
Find out more
Find books for your course at the RYA Shop
Our handy guide shows the books & DVDs that go with your course!