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Canoeing & paddleboarding along the waterways

There is nothing quite like messing about in boats and small boats such as rowing boats, dinghies, canoes or stand up paddleboards are a great and affordable way to get afloat.

Are you looking to go canoeing or paddle boarding along the vast stretches of rivers and canals in the UK this summer? Look no further, this page has all the information you need to know before setting off.

It’s also a great way to introduce children and young people to sport and the great outdoors. 

 

All you need to know about canoeing & paddleboarding

Getting on the water

What you need

On most inland waterways you must register or license any boat, including small unpowered craft, with the navigation authority responsible for the waterway you intend to use. 

Navigation authorities typically offer licences for different time periods, often from as little as one day, through to a full year. 

Membership of some canoeing, rowing and sailing organisations includes a licence for access to some waterways. 

Stay safe

  • Make sure your craft is suitable for the waterway you are using and that you are competent to use it
  • Wear a life jacket or buoyancy aid
  • Unpowered craft are not allowed through many tunnels or on parts of some larger river navigations
  • If you can use a tunnel, carry a light and whistle to warn other craft of your presence and travel through in groups of at least three
  • Locks, weirs and sluices are dangerous so don’t stay aboard your craft in a filling or emptying lock; carry it around or use lines to keep control

Be considerate

  • When passing anglers, unless they ask otherwise, follow a straight course in single file
  • Larger craft need deeper water to manoeuvre so move to the side of the channel where you can be seen

FAQS – CANOEING & PADDLEBOARDING

All you need to know

If you want to get involved with canoeing or paddleboarding this summer, we have gathered together all the information we think you’ll need to know before taking to the water. From FAQs to our ‘Top Tips’, find out more about canoeing along the waterways and paddleboarding along the waterways to make the most out of your waterways and get closer to nature.

Where can I go canoeing or paddleboarding in the UK?

Once you’ve purchased your license you can take to pretty much all of the rivers and canals in the UK. If you are new to the sport it is best to go out with a group of people.

How much does it cost to canoe or paddleboard?

Renting a canoe or paddleboard is a cost effective way to try before you buy. Doing your research online to find a club that rents out boards and canoes near you is the most cost effective way. Borrowing equipment from friends or buying second-hand is also cost effective.

Do I need a licence to go canoeing or paddleboarding?

On most inland waterways you must register or license any boat, including small unpowered craft, with the navigation authority responsible for the waterway you intend to use.

Navigation authorities typically offer licences for different time periods, often from as little as one day, through to a full year.

Membership of some canoeing, rowing and sailing organisations includes a licence for access to some waterways.

What are the benefits of canoeing or paddleboarding?

There are many benefits to getting outside in the fresh air and closer to nature. Canoeing or paddleboarding can be a social activity you share with friends, or solo excursions to clear your mind from your busy everyday life.

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