Keeping Safe and Warm in your Narrowboat this Winter

Staying aboard your narrowboat this winter can be an effective way of social distancing and enjoying the peace and quiet of the waterways. Although most of your preparation will have been done before the winter months, it’s important to keep on top of things to make sure you stay warm and safe in your narrowboat.

Please remember to follow government guidelines relating to coronavirus. All navigation in England and Wales is currently limited to essential use only. More information regarding boating and coronavirus is available from The Canal & Rivers Trust.

  1. Keep your fuel stock topped up

Whether you’re using coal, gas or wood to heat your narrowboat, keep an eye on your fuel supplies. A cold snap could mean that you use more fuel than expected.

  1. Fill your water tank

It’s a good idea to fill your water tank whenever you have the opportunity, and to keep some additional water containers as a back-up. This could help you to avoid problems if water points along the canal are inoperable due to frozen pipes.

  1. Make sure you have enough food

Keeping a stock of essential food supplies is crucial in case bad weather prevents you from getting out to the shops. It’s also important to know your surroundings well. With the closure of pubs and cafes, staying somewhere familiar with nearby shops can be a lifeline if the weather takes a turn for the worse and you need urgent supplies.

  1. Avoid breaking ice

If the water surrounding your narrowboat has frozen over, it’s best to stay where you are and wait for the thaw. Trying to force your narrowboat through ice that’s any more than half an inch thick will put a great strain on your engine and will also damage the hull, scraping away the blacking. You could also make yourself very unpopular by damaging a neighbour’s narrowboat if you attempt to push yours through the ice.

  1. Monitor the conditions

Keep an eye on the weather forecast, ( weather warnings and flood warnings ( Have a plan in case you need to take refuge elsewhere.

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