Boating is an activity that is loved by many all over the world because it is fun, allows people to relax and to take trips that are never the same as the last, and offers great views of nature. Plus, it develops a number of skills.
Whether you are a seasoned boat traveler or a novice to the boating trip, planning is an essential part of the process – just as taking a driving trip would.
Planning the route
Just like a car journey, choosing where to go and the route to get there has to be your first consideration. Are you going on the sea or inland? Are you going further afield – perhaps you are keen to explore what another state has to offer, or you are keen to really travel the world and see the UK by travelings its waters. The UK has about three to four thousand miles of navigable canals and rivers, with 2,700 miles of those connected.
Like roads, rivers are subject to closures and restrictions, so be sure to check these. Be sure to allow for stops along the way to top up on any supplies that may run low. Also, if needed, do you have enough fuel and know where to stop to get more?
What do you want from the trip?
To help in this planning stage, it is important for you to decide what you want from the trip. Is the destination the important bit, or is it the journey getting to a certain lake? It may be a little bit of both, but it is good to have an idea of what you want from the trip.
Finding a Marina
Just like touring in a car, overnight stays may be required, so choosing the best marina is going to be on the list of important tasks. If the journey is, say, south of England to the north of England, then Priory marina Bedford would be a great spot.
When choosing the best marina for the trip, some factors have to be considered, such as is there shelter from wind, waves, and other boat traffic? What are the tides and the current? If the boat is large, are the slips large enough to take it? Most marinas have facilities; do they match your requirements?
Size and accessibility
The dimensions of the waterways need to be taken into account as, if you are in a large vessel, you may not fit. This is not only the width and length but the heights and depth of the craft. Once again, if traveling inland, check that at the time of travel, the water levels have not dropped. There will be locks, bridges, aqueducts, and tunnels. Will you fit?
Always check the route well in advance, bearing in mind the specific dates for traveling, and then check it again before leaving in case anything has changed.
How long have you got?
Is the trip for a few days or a few weeks, or even longer, and how much do you want to travel each day? Traveling shorter distances has the advantage of more stops, thus more exploration time of the local areas.
Who will be doing what on the journey, and are they up to the task with the training needed? Is there anyone that has mobility issues? Knowing all this in advance will help you ensure the trip is the smoothest it can be.
The world of boating is fantastic, whether a narrowboat on the canal, a leisure cruiser, or a dingy. Do the planning and enjoy the ride.