If your ideal summer holiday is messing about on a canal boat, then you’ll love taking a narrowboat holiday! It’s the ideal way to escape the daily grind but it’s not without its hazards.  Following a few simple dos and don’ts for summer boating safety, and it will help you enjoy a wonderful family holiday, accident free.

Don’t make a mess

One of the biggest causes of falls on a narrowboat is tripping over untidy ropes so make sure you keep them neatly coiled up.  Assign each child to an area of the boat – it’s a great way to learn all the terminology! – and see who can get their area of the deck shipshape fastest.  Encourage them to stow toys, games and clothing when not in use for a tidy boat is a huge part of boating safety.

Do wear a lifejacket

Even if your kids are strong swimmers and love being in the water, they should wear a lifejacket at all times when moving around the deck.  Dress sensibly with practical footwear when you’re onboard and take care moving around especially if the deck is slippery.  Obviously, you can use your judgement with older and more responsible teenagers, but younger kids should be encouraged to keep a lifejacket on whenever they’re on the boat.

Don’t take risks

Narrowboats might seem like a lazy way to get around, but they’re not without their dangers – especially when navigating locks. The best way to keep everyone safe on your narrowboat is to learn how your boat works and give everyone their own jobs to do.  If everyone on board knows what they are supposed to be doing when approaching locks, it will keep everyone engaged with the navigation of the boat and help you sail through without errors, which is especially important on busier parts of the canal system.  Plenty of stopovers and excursions can also help to stop younger kids from getting bored which can lead to risky behaviour.

Do know what to do in an emergency

Everyone on board should be drilled in what to do in an emergency including knowing the location of the first aid box, lifeline and lifebelt. Even very young children can be taught how to dial 999, while older children should know how to take charge of the boat and stop the propeller if the skipper falls overboard. Create a simple safety drill that you can practice as a game with younger children and you’ll stay safe on board for the duration of your narrowboat holiday!


Trinity Marina boasts over 40 miles of lock free canals for you to explore all year round. Based in close proximity to the M1, M6 and M69 motorways you are in a great location if you’re moored here. Trinity Marinas host 140 berths on high quality pontoons suitable for boat length from 40ft up to 70ft.  Enquire about canal boat moorings now