How do you turn a canal boat around

10th March 2024

Are you an avid boater? Or a boating beginner looking to perfect the skill of turning a canal boat around? Perhaps you’re worried about onlookers? In this guide, we have you covered in just a few simple steps that can help you feel more at ease.

Step One

Firstly, you want to ensure you slow down by cutting power as you approach a turning. You don’t want to stop the boat completely; however, we recommend easing power before the narrowboat approaches the turning, then reversing short bursts of full power.

Step Two

During this step, you want to push the throttle forward to accelerate and turn the tiller to a hard left or right depending on the turning. Once the bow is facing the softer side of the bank, it will be much easier to move the stern of the boat without hitting the bank.

Take note of your surroundings as often, the turnings or ‘winding holes’ can be lined with stone causing damage or a potential crash if not handled correctly.

Step Three

If you’re worried about hitting the bank, we recommend you apply short, sporadic bursts of power in reverse, aiming to line the tiller with the boat.

At this point, steer the stern of the boat continuously using quick bursts of forward acceleration whilst pushing the tiller at either a hard left or a hard right.

Step Four

Remember that turnings, often referred to as winding holes, are not circular but usually triangular in shape and are not much wider than the canal itself. There may also be signage present indicating what size boat they are suitable for. This can be re-assuring when attempting to manoeuvre your boat through the turning.

Canal boat holidays with ABC Boat Hire

Knowing how to drive a canal boat is a great skill to have, particularly if you want to enjoy narrow boating.

If you’re a beginner, but have decided a canal boat holiday is the right choice for you, browse our canal boat routes, and canal locations now. Alternatively, get in touch with a member of our friendly team.



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