What skills do I need?

It may sound daunting learning to operate a canal boat, especially if you've never even set foot on one before, but you don't need any previous boating experience whatsoever.

Two boats travelling through a lock Braunston, Grand Union Canal

Whatever the make of boat, steering is easy, and you'll quickly get the hang of the controls once your boating holiday operator has explained everything to you.

There is no driving test to pass either and you will be given a full handover by the boat operator, who will have passed an instructors test before being allowed to train you. In the meantime, the boaters' handbook is a good starting place to learn more. It includes information and tips on boating safety, handling, rules of the 'road' and how to share the space with other waterways users.

Take a helmsman course

If you'd still prefer to be more prepared, why not have a go at an RYA Helmsman Course? You can learn to sail any kind of boat, from a canal boat to a windsurfer, not to mention have loads of fun in the process and bag yourself a certificate at the end.

Find out more about the types of courses available at www.ryatraining.org.

Last date edited: 4 June 2019