The slow pace of a canal boating holiday provides a great opportunity to enjoy a relaxing break on the water. Here are some top tips to help keep you and your family safe during your boating holiday experience.
Although the pace is slow, falls do occur on canal boats.
- If you must walk along the side of the boat, always hold the handrail.
- Don't climb onto the boat roof to sunbathe; bridges are often too low to allow sufficient clearance for both you and the boat.
- When leaving the boat, wait until you are close enough to the bank to step off, don't try to jump.
- Keep any ropes neatly coiled and make sure any other potential trip hazards are stowed away.
Take it easy
- Take your time when cruising and always remain observant just as you would when driving your car. Keep a look out for smaller vessels, such as canoes and dinghies, and watch out for bits of floating debris and other obstructions.
- Don't risk sustaining crush injuries by cutting corners to save a few minutes. Always use the pole to push the boat away from a mooring or another boat, and never try to use your hands or your legs.
- When you're steering the boat, never stand beside the tiller; always stand in front. If you're standing in the wrong place, you could be knocked off your feet if the rudder catches an underwater obstruction and causes the tiller to twist around violently.
In the water
- Regardless of whether you and your fellow boaters are good swimmers or not, everyone should wear a life jacket, especially children. Life jackets will be provided for you by your holiday company if you don't have your own.
- In many narrow canals an adult should be able to stand up and wade safely to the bank. However, make sure that everyone on board knows where the lifebelt and rope are kept, just in case. If someone falls into the water, don't immediately jump in to assist them; throw them a lifebelt and pull them to safety.
- Although canals are generally well-maintained, it's not considered safe to swim in them. The water is often muddied so you can't see what might be lurking underneath the surface, and you have no idea how deep the canal could be. There's also the danger that you could be struck by another vessel if the pilot doesn't see you.
A canal boating holiday provides a relaxing opportunity for you and your family to enjoy some time on the water. Bear in mind the safety tips given above to make sure that your holiday is an enjoyable and safe one.