Cruising time and distance
Once you know how many days you want your trip to last, you’ll need to work out how many cruising hours you have available. The first and last days of your holiday will probably not be full days. You will need to decide how many hours you want to cruise each day. If you cruise early or late in the year you will have fewer daylight hours.
A useful way to calculate a waterway journey time is to allow 3 miles an hour and ten minutes for each lock (6 locks an hour). The actual time taken to go through each lock will be less if there is little traffic, you have a good number of crew and the locks are close together in a flight and aren’t any other boats waiting to use the locks. Narrow locks also tend to take less time than broad locks.
You can calculate cruising routes and times using CanalPlan AC, a free interactive guide to the waterways, or Chris Clegg’s Canal Time Map, which is an A4 laminated sheet showing the connected UK waterway network divided into 2 hour sections with over 450 places shown. To calculate the time to cruise between any given places, just count the dots and multiply by 2 hours.
Stoppages and restrictions
Navigation authorities occasionally have to close sections of the network for emergency repairs and maintenance work.
Find out the relevant navigation authority for the waterway you are planning to visit on our A to Z of the waterways.