Rediscover Inland Waterways Cruising

Did you used to enjoy inland waterways cruising, then life just got in the way? Or have you taken a cruising holiday in the past and thought you’d like to do it again? Now is a great time to rekindle your interest in cruising the inland waterways of the UK.

During the last year, many people have a greater appreciation for their local area and the activities available nearby. Inland waterways and canals flow through towns, cities and the countryside, so there is plenty of access, scope and variety for many. The Canal & River Trust is responsible for 2,000 miles of canals and inland waterways in England, which are used by over 34,000 boats.

There are many reasons why people love boating and lots of opportunities to get involved, especially as more activities are opening up again.

You’ll find a wealth of information online about options for inland waterways cruising and we’ll give you some ideas in this article. Magazines such as Waterways World give an in-depth view, and there are plenty of people to talk to who are happy to share their knowledge and love of boating. You can visit your local marina or have a day out at a boat show. For instance, the Crick Boat Show is due to return in August (Covid-restrictions permitting).

Inland Waterways Cruising – Day Trips

The ideal way to rediscover inlands waterways cruising is to hire a boat for the day. Boat hire is available from marinas throughout the country and they can advise you on the options and costs available. They can also tell you about day trip routes – how long they are likely to take, where the turning points are (if you’re cruising in a narrowboat, for instance) and whether there are any locks or tunnels to negotiate. In addition, you can find out about local points of interest, towns and villages, and of course, canal- or river-side pubs en route.

Marinas are required to give you basic instruction to operate the boat, so that you can navigate the waterways safely. This takes into account the conditions of the waterways at the time, and the duration of your hire period.

All businesses that hire boats for use on inland waterways in the UK managed by the Environment Agency, Canal & River Trust and Broads Authority are required to follow the Hire Boat Code of Practice. This sets out the basic principles of safe operation of all craft hired to members of the public for use on the waterways. It makes clear the responsibilities of all parties involved.

Inland Waterways Cruising – Training Courses

If you’re looking to update your boating skills in a more structured way before taking charge on the water, then you can opt for a training course. They are offered at training centres all over the country and are designed for people with a range of boating skills and experience. For more information see our earlier blog post on narrowboat training courses.

Inland Waterways Cruising Holidays

For a longer experience of inland waterways cruising, there are many companies offering boating holidays. Areas like the Norfolk Broads have a long tradition of boating, and offer plenty of choice when it comes to boating holidays. Alternatively, there are holidays to suit every taste, from those looking to visit historic cities and celebrated restaurants, to those looking for the tranquillity of the countryside, the opportunity to get close to nature or to visit country pubs.

Boat Share Schemes

Buying your own inland waterways boat is a significant investment, and if you’re only using it for leisure purposes, you’ll need to have the time available to justify your expenditure. An alternative to this is to buy a share in a boat. There are private boat share syndicates or managed schemes available for boats in different locations throughout the UK and overseas.

A private boat share syndicate is where a boat is owned by (usually) up to five members who have an equal share, and pay for an equal share of the costs – including upkeep and maintenance.

Alternatively, a managed boat share syndicate outsources the management of the boat for a fee. This could include mooring, maintenance and insurance, as well as cleaning. So, all the syndicate members need to do is to turn up and cruise.

There are also boat share membership schemes which offer shares in a boat in terms of blocks of time. Similar to time-share schemes in a holiday apartment, they also offer flexibility with a range of options.

You can find out more about boat share schemes here

We hope that you have been inspired to rediscover inland waterway cruising and however you decide to return to the water, we wish you many happy hours on the lakes and rivers.

This is a marketing article from Assist Insurance, specialist providers of insurance for inland waterways boats, narrowboats and livaboards. For further information about how you can save money on your next insurance renewal, please call one of our specialist team on 01604 946779. To remain up to date about similar topics and news from Assist Insurance Services, please like and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.