11th November 2020
Living on a canal boat in winter and want some tips? Or perhaps you’re thinking about embarking on a winter canal boat holiday? Our guide to winter boating has you covered – from what to consider when you’re cruising on the waterways, to how to keep warm and safe aboard your mobile home.
Boating in the winter still follows all of the rules you’d abide by any other time of year, but there are a few things you need to consider before you set off:
- Plan your route – before you set off, it’s important to plan your route, as this could alert you of any fallen trees or seasonal maintenance on the route to steer clear of.
- Icy surfaces – be careful of icy surfaces when you’re getting on and off the boat at canal locks, and using lock ladders.
- Ice breaking – it is not recommended to cruise if the ice is thick. This becomes hard work for your engine, and it could also cause damage to the hull of your craft.
- Water levels – snow which is thawing upstream can quickly raise the water levels of the canal. This is important to remember for when you’re mooring up, or navigating through low bridges.
- Keep yourself warm – often during winter, you may be inclined to push yourself to optimistic cruising targets to get where you need to be, faster. Don’t be tempted to do this though, as your body temperature can chill rapidly standing still at the tiller. Ensure you’re wrapped up warm, wearing gloves when handling ropes and frozen metal, and take it in turns at the tiller with your canal boat crew – with a nice brew ready for you when you finish your shift.
Living on a canal boat in winter also needs thorough consideration, to ensure you’re getting the most out of your facilities, and you stay safe and warm during the colder months.
- Keep your canal boat warm – do you have enough fuel in your tanks to maintain the craft? And will this cover the fuel needed for your stoves? Ensure you have enough fuel to sustain you, and also check any delays with coal boats – especially if the canal has frozen over!
- Topping up and emptying out – when topping up your water at the water point, freezing pipes may disrupt supply, so don’t leave this until the last minute. Always report any problems, as often, people can assume somebody else already has.
- Mooring considerations – moor up in a familiar place during icy and snowy weather, as you may need to run to a local shop to buy provisions if you’re experiencing problems on the water.
- Stock up – not only do you need to fill up your water tank, but you also need to keep a good supply of food and drinks onboard over winter.
Now you know how to keep warm and safe on a winter canal boat holiday, browse through our list of canal locations and canal boat routes. Find the perfect holiday for boating in winter – get in touch with our team for more information.