What skills do I need?

You don't need any previous boating experience to enjoy a canal boat holiday, but there are plenty of ways to increase your knowledge and skills.

Two boats travelling through a lock Braunston, Grand Union Canal

Whatever the make of boat, most people find steering fairly easy, and you'll quickly get the hang of the controls once they've been explained to you.

There is no driving test to pass and you will be given a full handover by your hire boat company. Their staff will have passed an instructor's test before being allowed to train you.

In the meantime, have a read through our how-to guide on driving your holiday canal boat.

Our Boater's Handbook is a more comprehensive guide to what you need to know. It includes information and tips on boating safety, boat handling, rules of the waterways and how to considerately 'share the space' with others who are afloat or on the towpaths.

Training courses

If you'd prefer to have some more formal training before your trip or holiday, why not have a go at a Royal Yachting Association (RYA) course?

You can learn to sail any kind of boat, from a canal boat to a windsurfer. You'll have plenty of fun in the process, gain confidence on the water and receive a certificate at the end.

Find out more about the types of course available at www.ryatraining.org. Courses relating to canal boats are in the section on 'Inland Waterways'.

Last date edited: 7 July 2020