This is a simple checklist of essentials you should always have with you when navigating Britain’s beautiful inland waterways.


PUBLISHED 10/12/2010

BY admin

IN Tips & Advice

Whilst inevitably never complete, here is a useful checklist of those essential items you should make sure not to forget when going away cruising on your narrow boat, inland cruiser, houseboat or dutch barge.

  • A windlass for winding the canal lock paddle mechanism up and down (preferably always have two as a minimum, both one so someone can help but also in case one gets dropped in/ lost).
  • Metal mooring pins, a mallet and some white cloth (to make the mooring pins more visible to walkers.) 
  • A waterways authority key to access British Waterways toilets and refuse facilities as well as occasionally some locks and canal tow-path gates.
  • An anti-vandal key to open canal lock paddles (used primarily in inner-city areas and thus potentially essential)
  • An up to date canal guide of your route. These will provide details of water points, fuel points and stopping places. Besides being more concise and packed with useful information these also are more useful than smartphones when in countryside areas and there is no mobile coverage!
  • A mobile telephone for use in emergencies and portable recharge battery pack.
  • A fully checked and recently stocked first aid kit.
  • A large water bottle to refill drinking water.
  • Dry stores enough to last a few days in case of breakdown in remote areas without access to supermarket (sounds like bliss)!
  • Life jackets for non-swimmers, children and any dogs (pictured)!
  • Sensible flat bottomed, rubber soled shoes.
  • A torch, a basic toolkit and a few spares (a spare fuel filter, fan belt, engine oil, propeller lubricant, battery connectable bilge pump).
  • Full water-proofs (just in case)!
  • A large sports umbrella – invaluable for whoever is driving on wet days.
  • Fuel and water cap opening keys – although can often be borrowed if forgotten!

Finally of course, is that we would also always highly recommend some good company, a few luxuries, your favourite nibbles, a ‘long intended to read’ book and your favourite tipple… for those that way inclined!