Most narrow boat owners started their initial experience with the canal and river network on one of the many UK narrowboating holidays available across the UK. So what makes a good narrow boat hire company, and where should you cruise?
Try to look beyond the glossy brochure provided by the narrow boat hire company, and attempt (where you can) to visit their boat hire centre to see the boats for yourself. What comes across as a clean and tidy boat on paper can look very different in the flesh. If possible, speak to someone who has first hand knowledge of the boat hire company, perhaps someone who has hired a boat from them in the past.
Once you have made your choice and booked your canal holiday, see if the boat hire company has an instructional DVD or guide to how the canal system works. More and more hire companies now offer this facility, and it adds to the excitement of your canal holiday to see just what you’ve let yourself in for!
A good narrow boat hire company will, at the very least, offer some training to a new crew, before you get to take the narrow boat out for the first time. Listen carefully as the instructions are for your own safety. Some of the very best boat hire companies will even send a member of staff out with you to assist in negotiating your first canal lock etc.
Above all – enjoy your narrow boat holiday and remember to take your time as you cruise around. Don’t set yourself unrealistic targets of where you can cruise in a set period or you will miss out on one of the best aspects of a canal holiday. The chance to slow down your pace of life…