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We hope you are about to have a wonderful holiday. We have done our best to prepare your boat thoroughly for you, and hope you have found everything as you wanted.However experienced you are, it is likely that you will find some unfamiliar features on your holiday; that is part of the charm of the local waterways. Please prepare by checking this manual. If you haven’t been boating before, don’t worry.


Our priority is your safe enjoyment of the waterways so we ask you to take the advice we have given you seriously

With this information is a copy of “ The Boater’s Handbook”. This is full of useful information and safety tips, and useful for both novices and more experienced boaters.


One of the regular comments we get from other waterways users is that hirers always seem to be in a hurry!

Remember you are on holiday, forget the motorway and Relax and Slow Down!

On Board Appliances

Using the cooker

The gas rings on the hob are protected by individual flame failure devices that turn off the gas if the flame goes out. The procedure for lighting one of these rings is as follows:

  • Light a match, and then turn the side knob, corresponding to the ring that you want to light, to one of the points indicated by the schematic of a flame.
  • Now press down the knob and hold it down while the match is applied to the ring.
  • Continue to hold the knob down for approx. 5 seconds after the flame has lit, and then release it, and turn it to the required setting

The grill and oven are also controlled flame failure devices. The procedure is therefore as above except that the control knobs are on the front vertical panelling.

Central Heating



This boat is equipped with diesel fired central heating.


To operate switch heating control on as labelled on control panel (location will be shown on boat hand over) once in operation, the switch should remain on for at least twenty minutes before cancelling central heating operation.

It will take a short while before radiators are fully operational









NOTE 1: Make sure header tank contains adequate fluid (half full) and that the engine has been run a sufficient time to give the necessary operational battery power.








Daily Checks

In the morning: ENGINE OIL

In the morning before you start the engine, remove the oil dipstick. Check that the oil level is between the high and low markings. If it is below the low marking, add roughly two pints of engine oil. Oil can be found in the engine room. If it is not, more oil (10.30 diesel multigrade) must be purchased. If you are concerned about a serious loss of oil telephone the helpline.

In the morning: ENGINE WATER

Check the level by removing the cap at the highest point of the cooling system. If water cannot be seen, add tap water until it can. Note: Is not necessary for the water level to be right up to the cap. If you find that you are having to top the engine water repeatedly, please telephone the help line.


In the evening: STERN TUBE

Turn the brass stern tube greaser, situated below the rearmost deckboard, in a clockwise direction until it is hand tight. If not, add more grease, purchasing a new tube or can if necessary from the nearest marina. If there is a problem with the stern tube grease, telephone the helpline.


In the evening: BILGE

Operate the bilge pump, using the labelled switch on the control panel. If nothing flows out from the hull escape hole after 15 seconds, turn off the switch. If liquid begins to flow, leave the pump on until the flow stops.

Domestic Water

Please fill the tank everyday.


Fill points are found along the way at boatyards and BW water points near locks. The British Waterways key on your keyring will open these waterpoints.


The tank under the front deck holds approx 200 gallons of water. It will normally be used at a rate of between 5 and 30 gallons per person per day (depending on the frequency of bathing/ showering)


To refill, remove the filler cap in the bow compartment lid (using a coin or similar), connecting the hosepipe to a suitable water supply. When the tank is full, water will flow over the front deck. Note that the tank may take up to half an hour to fill, depending on water pressure etc.



Getting Underway

Starting The Engine

When cold, pull out morse lever control and rotate to the 2 o’clock position. This sets the throttle open, whilst disconnecting the propeller. Turn the ignition key clockwise against the spring and hold it in heater  position for approx. 20 seconds (engine preheat). Then turn fully clockwise to engage the starter. When the engine fires, release the ignition key so that it sits at number 1 position – do not turn the key off otherwise you will lose charging and rotate the single lever control back to the upright position to reduce the engine revs.

When the engine is warm, you do not need to hold the key on the heater position and the morse lever can be left in the upright position

To operate forward and reverse.

To engage forward propulsion lift top knob on morse lever and push lever forward

For reverse lift top knob on morse lever and pull lever backwards

  • It is recommended that the crew do not remove mooring ropes until the engine has ‘warmed up’, and certainly not before the engine has been started.


  • If the boat has been secured by mooring pins, DO NOT FORGET TO TAKE THESE WITH YOU!!

Stopping The Engine

… is achieved by pressing the red stop button on the engine control panel and holding the button in until the engine has died, then turn off the ignition key.

The Propeller

Once on the move, keep the occasional eye on the wake behind the boat. If the pattern of the wake is anything other than a curling mild turbulence moving in line with the boat, there may be something caught around the propeller.




If this is the case, rotate the single lever control to the centre position, and then into reverse for a few seconds and repeat this process once or twice, ending with a burst of forward power before returning it to normal cruising speed. This may dislodge the obstruction. If the problem persists, stop at the next suitable mooring point. (If the problem is excessive, i.e. the wake is widely dissipated, stop immediately).


To clear the propeller


  • Turn off the engine
  • Lift the rearmost deck plank.
  • Lift the cover of the weedhatch under the stern deck by unscrewing the lever arm on its top, and access the propeller directly to remove whatever is caught.



The Tunnel Light

When approaching a tunnel, switch on the tunnel light using the labelled switch on the control panel. Remember to switch the light off again when emerging from the tunnel.


Always keep to the centre (the deepest part) of the waterway except in the following circumstances: –


  • Passing under a multi arched bridge where you are directed otherwise
  • Cruising in a busy tideway or other waterway where you need to keep out of the way (and to the right of) larger vessels.
  • Being passed by another vessel (in either direction) where you need to move to the right in order for the pass to be executed.
  • ‘Overtaking’ another vessel (only to be attempted where there is plenty of width in the waterway) where you need to pass to the left of the other vessel, having first signalled your intention to its steerer.


Note: When attempting to pass an oncoming vessel in a narrow and/or shallow waterway, reduce speed and continue to steer in the centre until the two vessels are about to meet, then steer just enough to the right in order to pass. Steering to the right well before meeting the other vessel could cause the boat to run aground.


PASSING MOORED VEHICLES – Always reduce speed when approaching a line of moored vehicles, and if possible, steer away from the centre to the opposite side of the waterway. It is also courteous to reduce speed when passing anglers, particularly if they are engaged in a ‘match’.



Using Mooring Pins

If there are no suitable mooring rings, use the mallet and the mooring pins provided in such a way that the boat is not only restrained from moving away from the bank, but also from moving forwards or backwards i.e. if the bow rope is pulling forwards, arrange for the stern rope to be pulling backwards and vice versa. To maximise security, it is recommended that all mooring ropes be tied on the boat rather than on the mooring pin or ring.


If sharing a static mooring pin, it is courteous to tie the rope below that of the other boat(s) so that they can release themselves unhindered. Do allow ropes to cross the towpath or to create any other potential hazard.


Only turn off the engine when the boat has been secured.

Leaving The Boat

Remove tiller pin and bar. Switch off all gas knobs on the cooker. Close all curtains. Lock all doors.

Mooring Overnight

Follow the same procedure as for leaving the boat. Check the ropes and mooring pins for movement, and note any change in the level of canal/river. If the level is changing or has changed, move the mooring pins to a position where they are not adjacent to the boat (i.e. move the forward pin further forward, and the rear pin further back) and allow some slack in the ropes. How much slack to leave depends on the anticipated change in level. If there is a serious drop in level, it might be necessary to check the next lock ‘downstream’ for leakage.

Leaving the boat after the cruise

Switch off all lights and appliances.

Switch the room thermostat to the OFF position.

If you are leaving the boat at the boatyard where it is normally moored and there are staff in attendance, do not lock the boat.

Your Belongings

A large number of items are left behind each year on our boats. We try to return them and send them back. Please check everywhere before you leave the boat to ensure that you haven’t left anything behind.


If you have left anything or think you have left anything then please call us with details and we will return if possible. A charge will be made for postage

Do’s And Don’ts

Water is precious and you need to play your part in conserving it. It is absolutely vital to ensure that all paddles and gates are shut when you leave each lock. On the wide canals, share locks whenever you can, even if it means waiting for another boat to catch up.

The Sill (Or Cill)

The top gate of a lock rests on a SILL – in effect the bottom of the canal at the upper level. This SILL projects some 2 to 5 feet into the chamber and is under water, except when the water is at the lower level.


When locking downhill, keep the stern of your boat at least 7 feet clear of the top gate to clear the sill. At some locks, particularly wide ones – you will see the Sill position indicated by a painted line on the lock side.


If you ‘hang’ your boat on the Sill – quickly close the bottom paddles (stopping the water running out) and gently open the top paddles – to float the boat off.

The Top Gate

When locking uphill, ensure the bow of your boat does not trap under the top gate. Top Gates should have a smooth vertical rubbing plate to prevent this – but this is not always the case. Either keep the bow clear of the top gate and/or make sure your crew member operating the top paddles keeps a watchful eye on the front of the boat.


If you trap the boat under the top gate – quickly close the top paddles (stopping the water coming in) and gently open the bottom paddles – releasing the boat.


Also, where locks have both gate and ground paddles on the top gates always open the ground paddles first and do not raise the gate paddle(s) until the water is level with, or over, the paddle opening in the gate, or you may flood the front of your boat.


With steady lock operation in a narrow canal lock you will generally not need to control your boat with ropes. In a wide lock you may prefer to use ropes. If you do use ropes never tie your boat up. In both type of lock the correct method is to pass both the bow and stern rope around a bollard with a ‘’running’’ or loose turn, that is – so the bollard is taking the strain but the rope can move. Ideally the free end of the rope should be passed back to a crew member on the boat; but it can be held by someone on the lock side. In this manner you can control the boat by paying out or taking in the rope; depending on whether locking down or up hill.

Staircase Locks

Locks are often grouped together in what are termed ‘’ Flights’’. Sometimes two or more locks form what is called a staircase. That is where one lock chamber leads directly into the next. Locally we have one at Bascote (Grand Union Canal). Special instructions are displayed on a notice board adjacent to the locks. Study and follow these carefully. Some locks have a water saving device called a side pound (or pond) If this is in operation again special instructions will be displayed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Ventilators Leak When It Rains

In normal rain the mushroom vents on the roof, will protect the orifice beneath from incoming rain. If the rain is torrential however, it is possible for individual raindrops to bounce off the roof immediately surrounding the ventilators and find themselves inside the boat – the vents are fixed in the open position for reasons of safety. We cannot therefore see an easy solution to this situation.


Please check with the boatyard whether your 240 volt hairdryer is suitable for use on the boat. (Some have a very high power requirement). A 12v hairdryer can be put on board if requested.

TV Reception

The TV reception on the canal system is invariably inconsistent, as the canals always tend to be at the lowest point of the surrounding landscape and consequently suffer from poor TV reception as a result.


You may have to re tune the TV set if you go into a different transmitter area, if you do, do not store your setting on one of the ‘’low’’ numbers otherwise you will cancel the settings that have been put in there, and these are the most used. Refer to the TV manual for re tuning instructions

Side Fenders

Each of the narrowboats are fitted with three side fenders for use when mooring. These fenders are NOT FOR USE WHEN CRUISING. Narrowboats are not intended to use side fenders when manoeuvring because of the close tolerances, particularly at locks. If side fenders are left down whilst the boat is entering the lock there is a strong likelihood of them catching on the lock sides (only an inch or two wider than the boat) and at worst being destroyed by the force of the boats momentum. Side fenders are for use only when mooring to prevent there being an uncomfortable noise whenever the hull scrapes or knock against the canal side. Our boats are equipped with three side fenders.


There is a key to open the front door. The back doors can only be opened from the inside. Ensure that the Yale lock on the front door is clicked open. The engine ignition key and British Waterways key should be kept on a key ring that has a float attached to it.


The car park gate at the Warwick base is locked after hours. A key to open this lock will be found on your keyring.


Fishing rights to the waterways are let to numerous clubs who each have a short section. Most clubs permit day fishing although some do not. Be prepared to stop or pay for a day ticket if asked to do so by a bailiff. In any event, to fish off the boat you must have a National Rod Licence, available from post offices. There is no closed season.


Swimming in canals and rivers is dangerous, don’t do it. The water may be polluted, there is a risk of being trapped by rubbish underwater, and there can be deep underwater currents at locks. It is also against the (navigation authority) Bye Laws.

Water-Bourne Disease

Canal and river water, being untreated may contain microorganisms. Don’t swallow the water; protect cuts with waterproof plasters; wash hands after contact and before eating.


A list of doctors is held at every post office

Rubbish Disposal

There are plenty of official disposal points, at sanitary stations or boatyards. They are marked in the cruising guides. Please do not use other places or private bins. Put nothing, even food waste into the canal.


You are welcome to have visitors on board, though not staying overnight unless previously agreed. You are advised not to have more than 2 or more people over and above the number of berths on your boat while it is moving, or 4 or more when it is tied up. In any event it is illegal to ever have more than 12 on the boat. When you have visitors you should increase ventilation by opening the windows.

Crime Prevention

When leaving your boat, secure all doors and conceal your valuables. If you see anything suspicious, don’t hesitate to report to the police immediately. Generally, common sense will tell you if a place is suitable to leave the boat unattended. If in doubt seek advice.



In answer to lots of requests, there is no mop provided on the boat because we would prefer you not to wash the boat down with canal water!




  • Water is wet and cold – don’t risk falling in
  • Moving boats are heavy, don’t risk getting squashed
  • Moving lock gates and swing bridges are heavy too – keep clear
  • Ropes can trap your arms, legs and fingers, don’t let them
  • Your boat pole can injure you if it breaks, don’t misuse it
  • Your windlass can slip, don’t let it



When not in use, all ropes should be left coiled in a place where they can be grabbed easily in an emergency, and thrown without impediment. One end of each rope must be kept attached to the boat. Any knots appearing in any rope after use MUST be unravelled immediately.

Moving Around The Boat

The golden rule to be observed at all times in order to minimise the risk of falling in is that wherever you are going, at least one hand should always be free to hold on to the boat.

Getting On And Off

There is a potential REAL DANGER to life and limb when getting off a moving boat. In order to minimise this danger, ALWAYS get on and off the boat FROM THE SIDE, and never from the front or from any point forward of where the ‘gunwhale’ curves inwards. If the boat is approaching a point where it will be up against a high sided wall e.g. when going into a lock from below, then it is sensible to get off from the stern. It is all too easy even for the most experienced boater, suddenly to find yourself about to be crushed between the boat and a wall.


When approaching the bank use the engine (or the barge pole) to bring the boat in rather than attempting to leap across a wide gap whilst holding a rope.



The gas used on this boat is heavier than air. This means that any leakage will gather at floor level creating a potential fire risk, and, if allowed to gather in any quantity, will create the potential for an explosion. Therefore EXTREME care must be taken to prevent any leakage. This is particularly important when using the cooker. The match should always be lit BEFORE the gas jet is turned on.


If you smell gas on board at any time, turn off the current gas bottle immediately. DO NOT operate any electrical switches. DO NOT smoke. Open the front and rear doors, open all windows, and evacuate the boat as quickly as possible.


After at least 15 minutes has elapsed, re-enter the boat (unless there is still a strong smell of gas on board), turn on the gas bottle again, and investigate every gas appliance for a gas smell. If the smell does persist (possibly from a place other than one of the appliances), evacuate the boat again and helpline




If you are unlucky enough to have a serious accident, then: stop and collect yourselves.

  • Deal with any personal injuries first.
  • Exchange names and addresses with anyone else involved.
  • Make brief notes of what happened, and take photographs.
  • Do not admit liability, or even say sorry – this is a condition of your insurance.
  • Report to us. Do not proceed unless we authorise it.


Personal injury is not covered by the boats insurance if an accident is self-inflicted.


If you are to have an accident then make sure that you obtain the following information;

  • The name and licence number of any other boat involved
  • The name of the hirer or owner of that boat
  • The name of the boatyard owning the boat
  • The names and addresses of witnesses to the accident
  • The date and time of the accident.


If it is at all possible obtain a written statement from the other crew admitting liability.


WC Pump Out

The waste tanks under the WCs should cater for 6 people for several days. You are unlikely to need a pump out if you are out for a short break or a week. The most obvious indication that they need emptying is when they begin to smell! Also, the waste may be seen immediately below the pan when the tank is full. However, it is sometimes possible for waste to be trapped just below the pan even when the tank is empty. If this is the case, it may be dislodged with the lavatory brush. Should the toilet be blocked by misuse there will be a charge of £75.

Battery Master Switches

Lift the labelled rear deck board in order to access the battery master switch. The switch is located under the rear deck boards. The “ on “ position is that in which the key cannot be extracted from its housing.


Ensure that both gas bottles are in the “ on “ position i.e. the knob on the top of each bottle needs to be turned fully anti – clockwise. In the summer months (when no heating is required) one gas bottle will last for over a week. In the winter months (when the central heating is used) one gas bottle will last for somewhere between four and six days, depending on the temperature setting and whether or not the system is kept on constantly (24 hours). When one bottle runs out, the second will then be connected automatically. If the gas supply completely runs out (difficult to achieve in the space of one week!) call in at any boatyard and ask for an exchange (“ Calor”) 13kg bottle. This will cost approximately £15. Although staff at the boatyard are usually willing to connect the new bottle for you, it is useful to know how to do it yourself, as follows; –


First, turn off both gas bottles i.e turn the knob on each one fully clockwise. Using a “ gas spanner” (largish spanner stored in the same compartment as the gas bottles), undo the brass nut that connects the supply pipe to the bottle. This is a reverse threaded   – therefore you must turn it clockwise to undo. Lift out the bottle that is now free and replace it with the new bottle. Re-connect the brass nut, turning it anti – clockwise to do it up.


  • It is a good idea to make sure that the brass connector is clean before attaching it to the bottle.


  • You may need to remove a plastic plug from the gas bottle connection point before you can re-connect the supply.




If you need help or advice with the boat

During office hours please ring the boatyard


01926 492968


Out of office hours please ring

0781 6278054

if you reach an answerphone please leave a message – it will be dealt with as soon as possible.

Please be prepared with your mobile number.

If the engineer needs to come to your boat you need to be able to tell us which canal you are on and which bridge number you are close to. If possible it would help if you could moor close to a road bridge.

Medical Emergencies

If you need emergency medical help phone 999, and ensure that you can tell the emergency services which canal you are on and which bridge number you are close to. If possible it would help if you could moor close to a road bridge.

If you have a problem with the canal or locks

Canal and River Trust Help  Line:

For non-urgent events between 08:00 and 18:00, Monday to Friday

0303 040 4040

Or in an emergency 0800 47 999 47

Other useful numbers

RSPCA helpline:

0300 1234 999