Canal Boating is a big part of British Heritage and one for us all to be proud of. Canal Boating today has become far detached from its original purpose of transportation. This unique past time offers an escape from day to day life and a chance to explore the UK from what has to be one of the most beautiful perspectives.

A lock on one of the UK Canals & Rivers
A bridge over a canal
Beautiful waterways that can be explored by narrowboat around the UK

Narrowboating… The Attraction & Appeal

In general terms the vast majority of the population know very little about Canal Boats and Canal Boating which we’ve found in turn leads to scepticism. The old stigma relating it to ‘Rosie & Jim’ still resides and many people feel it is a past time for the retired. This scepticism and stigma is quite often seen as a positive by the boating community, as it helps keep narrowboating a well-kept secret, something many canal boaters are passionate about keeping this way!

In reality narrowboating is a wonderful way of life which accommodates country, village, town and city living. Narrow boating provides freedom, flexibility and escapism and promotes a much slower, peaceful way of life. Narrow boating offers a sanctuary from the ‘rat race’ of today, a perfect environment to break away from the rigors of day to day life.

As an activity narrowboating is very sociable and promotes team work making it perfect for couples, families and friends. Whether you are operating a lock or moored up at night you will find many opportunities to meet people and share boating experiences. Pet lovers will be pleased to know a large percentage of the boaters are both cat and/or dog owners.

Narrow boating offers access to a huge range of activities from walking, biking, photography, fishing, BBQ’s, pubs, restaurants and café’s; not to mention all the activities towns and cities offer such as shopping, eating out, cinemas, bowling, museums naming just a few!

There could not be a more convenient way of capturing nature and of landscapes close up. How many people at first light in spring can open their side doors and at arm’s length be feeding ducklings or cygnets, and from a glance ahead see lambs, calves and foals alike? Boating throughout the season offers the most fantastic takes on our UK landscapes with snow, frost, mist, dew, sunrise and sunsets giving some truly breathtaking moments.

Canal boating offers a truly unique self-sufficient form of traveling. Water and gas are stored on-board facilitating showers, baths washing and cooking. Canal boats self-generate both power and hot water, through running the engine.  Equipment provisions for on board 230v power generation is common. Heating on the whole is created from solid fuel stoves (coal/wood fires). Toilets come in either ‘Cassette’ form which require manually emptying or as ‘Pump Out’ toilets which can be mechanically pumped out  at well marked sanitary stations or marinas.

The Canal & River Trust (formerly known as British Waterways) manage and maintain the majority of the UK canal & river network.  Boat owners are required to purchase a CRT Licence (equivalent to Car Road Tax). A proportion of the CRT licence fee finances a huge network of water points, refuse points, toilets and showers which in essence facilitate our Canal Boat travelling.

Latest figures from CRT suggests boat ownership is on the increase, from 29,958 in 2016 to 30,677 in 2017, although there are another 3,446 in marinas and other waters that do not require a CRT licence.

Many people love the idea of Canal Boating, especially residential. Unfortunately, we believe due to a lack of reassurance and confidence, only a small proportion of these people take the idea through to realisation. CRT figures suggest 14% of all CRT licence holders (4,757) have no home mooring and are therefore classed as continuous cruisers. Reassuringly our experience leads us to believe the vast majority of ‘Newbie’ Boaters (especially residential) go on to firmly stand by their decision. The Fit Out Pontoon’s aim is to provide this reassurance and confidence along with advice and guidance to those that seek it.

Attraction & Appeal

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crick boat show 2024

(Saturday 25 to Monday 27 May 2024)


Britain's biggest inland waterways show.

Advance tickets can be ordered by phone and online until 12midday on Friday 17 May 2024. If you are planning to purchase advance tickets, we recommend that you do so well before this deadline to allow time for postal delivery.
Children 16 and under – free entry Saturday, Sunday, Monday

Trade & Preview Day – Friday 24 May 2024
Get ahead and visit The Fit Out Pontoon before everyone else on Preview Day!
Preview Day tickets are strictly limited to a maximum of 1,000 pre-booked visitors and give entry to the Show from 10am – 6pm on Friday 24 May.