For the first time, canal boats hire may seem overwhelming when you are finally left to your own devices. The crew went over everything before you disembarked; how to steer, how to operate the locks and how you will need to reach down into the murky water and untangle the weeds from the propeller. Now here you are adrift down the canal and you are approaching your first lock. You cannot remember how to position the boat, how to tie the knots, much less remember how to successfully operate the locks.
No worries. Take a deep breath. Chances are there will be someone around that might have more experience and will be able to lend a hand. The lifestyle on the European canals and waterways is very laid back and people will gather with their boats. This should not take away your responsibility of reading the Boater’s Handbook. There are some rules to boating that people expect that you will know. So, make sure you have at least perused the handbook well prior to embarking on your canal boats hire holiday.
Some of things to remember are to not waste resources and water when operating the locks. If two or more can go at the same time, then by all means wait until someone comes motoring along. Of course, you will be provided with a map of the canal that you will be travelling. But the best information regarding where to stop and eat or shop is by word of mouth. Remember to look for the winding holes if you are on a two-way canal boats hire. The boats are designed to be longer then the canal is wide so you need the winding holes to turn your craft around. The winding holes are spaced sparsely apart so if you miss one it will be several kilometres until you encounter another one.