How far can a canal boat travel?

17th August 2020

If you’re looking for your next, or even your first, canal boat holiday, you may be wondering how far a canal boat can travel, and how fast it can travel. All of our canal boat holidays include a daily cruising time, as well as a recommended number of nights it will take to complete the route – but for more information on canal boat travel, our detailed guide has you covered.

How far can you travel on a canal boat in a day

Typically, you can expect to cruise on a canal boat anywhere between 4 – 7 hours a day. However, this can depend on a number of factors, especially the time of year. In the summer, you are likely to be able to travel for longer as the daylight hours are longer, but other factors also affect this travel time, such as how early your narrowboat crew are likely to want to get up and moving.

Also, it’s important to remember that a canal boat is not allowed to travel at more than four miles per hour – so this has a direct impact on how far you can travel on a canal boat in a day. So, if you’re travelling at 3-4mph for four hours of a day, this will mean you’re likely to cover around 80 – 100 miles in a week.

How to calculate travel time on a narrowboat

As previously mentioned, your canal boat is not permitted to travel at more than four miles per hour – and you also have to allow around 15 minutes for passing through each lock.

Therefore, the calculation to work out travel time on a narrowboat is:

"Add the number of locks to the number of miles, and divide by four"

Do narrowboats all travel the same direction?

Narrowboats can travel in both directions – however, when you encounter either a lock or a bridge, you may need to allow for one boat to enter at one time. If you see a boat approaching in the opposite direction and you predict it will reach the bridge before you, ensure you slow down and give way to them. Having to account for traffic on the waterways can also have an impact on how far you can travel on a canal boat in a day, so it’s important to account for this when planning your day.

Now you’ve learnt how far canal boats can travel, start planning your canal boat route now with ABC Boat Hire. We have a number of routes which can span over 3-4 nights to longer 7 night plus trips. Find the perfect canal boat holiday for you today.

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