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Winter water safety tips for boaters

Although boaters are well aware of the water, it's always good to remind ourselves of how to stay safe during the winter.

Our boating team has put together some tips on how boaters can stay safe during the winter months:

On the move

  • Wear a life jacket if you are single-handed, especially in icy conditions
  • Take extra care when crossing locks as surfaces may be icy
  • Watch out for ice around the paddle spindle when using a windless – you may think the windlass has a grip but it might hurt you if it slips

On the roof

  • If you have to get on the roof to adjust your TV aerial after bad weather, be careful...or read a book instead
  • Be careful when retrieving or handling heavy items on the roof of your boat such as coal, wood and bikes
  • When clearing snow off the roof to provide ventilation through your mushrooms, take extra care not to slip into the water
  • Avoid walking along the gunnels in icy or snow conditions – super slippery

On the towpath

  • Be careful getting on and off your boat, especially if you have a traditional style stern – there isn't much room for error
  • Be careful getting on and off your boat – you may do it every day but there may be fresh ice or snow making that small step different from the day before
  • Beware of steep slopes and icy steps when returning to your boat at night, particularly if you've had a few drinks
  • Take a torch and wear sensible shoes, you will need the grip and it's helpful to see where the water starts and bank ends, especially if covered in snow
  • Take a whistle with you when you are going out for an evening. If you get into difficulties on the walk back (ie fall over or in the water) use it to draw attention and get help
  • Remove cratch/covers before trying to change a gas bottle just to give you more room to manoeuvre
  • Have a plan for how you or someone else can get out of the water - consider investing in a safety ladder and a throw line

Share your winter water safety tips with us, we'd love to hear what advice you'd give new boaters - @CRTBoating.

Last Edited: 20 June 2022

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