We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

Style and size

Modern narrowboats are generally made of steel, though some are aluminium, and many older craft are wooden. There are many design options to choose from, but the most important decision is the stern (the back of the boat).

There are three main types:

  • 'Traditional' sterns, where the cabin extends all the way back to the steering position
  • 'Cruiser' sterns have an open space in front of the steering position
  • 'Semi-traditional' sterns have an enclosed space, which looks traditional but still gives your crew space to stand

River cruisers are made from glassfibre, well-suited to deeper water and wider locks. Unlike narrowboats, they are available in many different widths.

Dutch barges are wide steel craft. They provide more spacious accommodation than a narrowboat, but cannot navigate smaller canals. They often have enclosed wheelhouses, for maximum comfort while underway.

How many people will use the boat?

If you plan on using your boat just for sunny afternoons or the occasional weekend, you may feel a small cruiser would be suitable.

However, if you want to spend more time on your boat, you'll probably appreciate the extra space provided in longer narrowboats. Roomy Dutch barge-style boats are becoming increasingly popular with people cruising the larger waterways.

Last date edited: 7 July 2015