Plan a realistic route. Some guests may plan to turn up with no clue where they are going or what they are going to do with their time on the boat. A good tip to give them is to plan four-six hours of Narrowboat travel per day. That way your guests will have time to experience what life on the river is like, but also don’t get too stressed by travelling from the moment they wake up until the moment they go to sleep. Let them know that they will need to allow extra time to go through locks, roughly 15 minutes per lock.
Slow down when passing other boats. Advise your guests that passing other boats along the river too quickly will cause rocking and is disrespectful to other canal users. Don’t forget to tell them that Narrowboat users should also always keep to the right when passing other boats. It may seem like second nature to you, but when you drive on the left it can be confusing.
Be prepared for a tight space. Let them know that obviously, Narrowboats can be quite tight. Clue is in the name! This can be great fun but also remember to keep the space tidy. This will make the trip more enjoyable for everybody onboard and will make the boat less hazardous.
Don’t be shy, use the horn! Don’t forget to tell them that when arriving at a tight bend where you can’t see what is coming towards you, sound the horn just in case. This is also a good idea for when you are passing through tunnels, as well as turning your headlights on.
Pack sensibly! Your guests may not be used to packing a torch and non-slip deck shoes on your usual holidays, so make sure that they really consider what they should bring. Also recommend that they bring along a waterways guide, or alternatively provide one for them.
Ask them to share a lock. It’s good to let your guests know that to conserve water, it’s a good idea to share a lock where possible. Remind them to always leave gates and paddles closed when leaving a lock.
Pack some games! Especially for families, it’s a great idea for guests to bring along some of their favourite games; whether its just a simple pack of cards or their favourite board game. This will keep kids entertained on the longer travel days.
Remind your guests to respect the wildlife. Canals are full of fascinating wildlife, but your guests should know to respect it. Have strict rules in place which refer to littering as well as swimming in the river. Provide a link to professional, informative information on swimming in rivers.
Permission to fish. Let your guests know well in advance any permissions they may need to gain in order to fish from your boat. Let them know if they are travelling within close season.
Tell them where to leave the car. This will help to make the planning on their side much easier. Most Narrowboat rentals provide parking for their guests, but if you don’t have this facility, we reccomend providing options for secure parking during their trip.
Recommend they do their own research too. Every trip will be different, so it’s a good idea to recommend your guests do their own research and make sure they feel comfortable asking any questions they may have. Always leave your contact number in case they need to ask you anything whilst on their trip.