Despite the name, narrow boats are
surprisingly spacious with plenty of headroom, and come in
different lengths depending on the number of berths you need. If it
is your first time on a narrowboat, it is a good idea to choose a
smaller narrow boat as it is easier to steer. The
narrowboat can travel along most rivers and canals, but its ability
to navigate some waterways may be restricted by the engine's
power. The steering a narrowboat is different to other boats and
requires a bit of practice, but don’t worry, you will soon get the
hang of it.
Day Hire is a great way to relax with friends or
family and see what a longer canal holiday would be like.
Day hire boats can be rented for self drive trips for a day or
evning, and you don't need any experience or qualifications. They
usuallly have toilet and simple cooking facilities, but no
sleeping accommodation. Day hire canal boats usually take between 6
and a maximum of 12 passengers. This is the way many people get
Types of Narrowboat
Narrow boats are generally made from steel, aluminium, GRP
(glass re-enforced plastic) or wooden boats, and whilst they
come in a variety of lengths, they usually have maximum width
(beam) of 6 feet 10 inches wide. There are three main styles of
Traditional Narrowboat ('Trad')
This style is based on the taditional working
boats, and the main section of the boat (accomodation) is at
the front of the boat leaving as much deck as possible at the rear
(stern) of the boat for the navigator (helmsman) to steer the boat.
Trads have a rounded tail and the engine is positioned in
front of the steering deck.
Semi -Traditional Narrowboat ('Semi-Trad')
This style of narrowboat looks similiar to a Trad narrowboat,
but the deck is much biggger and can accomodate 2-6 seated people
and offer some form of protection from the weather due to a housing
around the deck area. The engine on semi-trads is usually mounted
under the aft deck and they also have a rounded tail.
Cruiser Style Narrowboat
Cruiser Style Narrowboat are designed to give the helmsman at
the stern as much open space as posssible. The aft deck is usually
completly open and offers little protection from the weather as it
is just surrounded by safety rails. The tail of the boat can be
rounded or squared - squared boats offer more rooom but can be more
difficult to manouevre in reverse.
- Beam = width
- Aft deck = steering area at the rear of the boat
- Stern = rear end of narrrowboat
- Draught = space bewteen bottonm of boat and river/canal
- Helmsman = the person who is controlling and steering the
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More about Narrow Boats
Two of the biggest in the UK are the CWM FX London Boat Show
and Southampton Boat Show but
there are loads of other regional and specialised shows which are
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On The Water will be providing water-based activities such
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around the UK.
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