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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.

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


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