Find Out More About Canal Boating

We've put together this page with ways you can get to grips with boating on the UK Canals.

There are Experience Days, Video Tutorials, Downloadable books and Smartphone Apps to help you get the most out of your canal holiday.



If you are new to boating and are considering hiring a holiday boat, buying a boat yourself or even moving onto the canals as a live-aboard boater, then our Experience Days are the ideal way for you to gain that knowledge.

Get hands on practice aboard Narrowboat Maddison, learning to control a boat and operating the canal infrastructure. All with the reassurance of having a seasoned boater on hand to help you along and answer any questions you might have.


The Boaters Handbook - This is an excellent video put together by Canal River Trust.

  • Provides excellent instruction on boat handling, operating locks and bridges, rules of the road and general canal etiquette.
  • It's a condition of booking our boat that you watch this video. We suggest you watch this a least twice. It's packed with good advice and guidance to help you be a more confident skipper & crew.
  • Confidence and control over the boat means a more relaxed enjoyable trip and everyone stays safe.

Well worth watching even if you have boating experience!


The Boaters Handbook - This is a downloadable PDF copy. Again it has been put together by Canal & River Trust as a guide to safely navigating canals & boat handling. Ideal for learning that little bit more about boating. Download it to your smart phone for quick reference whilst aboard. Download The Boaters Handbook PDF

The Waterways Code - Sets out some basic standards and good practice for everyone who uses the canals. Download The Waterways Code


Canal River Trust - Provide some excellent resources to assist in planning a route and avoiding any hold-ups due to stoppages.

Canal Planner - Is very useful site that allows you to select a start point and destination. It will then tell you how long it will take to cover the distance dependant on your preferred daily cruising hours.

Water Explorer - A website that helps plan and record your journey along the inland waterways. For the more tech-savy amongst you, it also has downloadable software that you can link up to GPS to track your progress and much more.


Canal Map UK - For Android Only. We've had a little play around with this app which does give useful information about where you are on the canal system, what services are in your vicinity and shops nearby. The creator describes this is described as "A FREE specialised and essential map for the entire UK Canal network, showing points of interest and services such as water, turning points, pump outs, mooring, pubs, locks, marinas, bridges, restaurants and much more... Please note there are optional premium services within the app, but you can download and use all UK maps for FREE. Details 45,000Points of Interest. 6,000 pubs. 20,000 places to eat. Is updated every day"

Open Canal Map - Android & IOS. We've not had time to use this as yet so would be interested to hear your views. Open Canal Map comes in three flavours: Google Maps overlay, Android app and iPhone/iPad app. The Android and iPhone apps are built using Mapbox. This means they can offer a more intuitive interface while boating. The Google Maps version allows you to search for shops and travel directions from within the Google Maps App – available for Android and iPhone.