Chesterfield Canal 4383631 1920

How To Moor Up a Narrowboat

A canal boat trip is a perfect way to wind away the time on lazy summer days. There’s a wealth of sights to see and life on the river is comparatively slower-paced than most other types of holiday. With so much to take in whilst travelling up and down the canals, you’re bound to want to get out and explore. To do that you’re going to have to learn how to moor your vessel up.

Where can I moor up?

One of the most important things to identify when in charge of a narrowboat is a safe place to moor up. The best practice is to stop your boat just short of where you wish to moor, making sure that the water is deep enough to avoid damaging the bottom of the hull. Then move slowly into position with the bow angled towards the bank. Put the engine into reverse before the front hits the bank then put the engine into neutral.  

You should always moor with the bow section of the canal boat into the oncoming flow of water (upstream) and always secure the bow line first. When on a tidal river moor with the bow facing the ebb and flow of the tide and avoid mooring overnight. 

Note: Avoid mooring up in the following places:

  • On the approach to locks or in lock flights
  • On the banks of a tidal river – due to the potentially large changes in water levels
  • On sharp bends –  You wouldn’t park your car there and the same applies to canal boats
  • At junctions or turning points
  • In any area where there are obstructions to vision
  • Near weirs and in or near marked angling spots
  • Near bridges (swing & lift)

Tying up

Make sure that one end of your mooring line is attached to the boat and that there is slack in your ropes, this is particularly true when mooring on tidal waterways if the tide drops, might be left hanging from the bank which could result in a very costly repair not to mention a ton of embarrassment!

Secure your upstream rope first and then the rear, if there are bollards or rings to moor with the secure the ropes to the ones just in front and just behind the canal boat. Ideally, you should run the ropes at roughly 45 degrees from the boat then loop them around and back on board, securing them firmly but not too tightly.

In the absence of rings or bollards, then you can use your mooring stakes but be sure to mark these out clearly so towpath users can see them (avoid tying up across the towpath), as well as checking the stability of the ground you’re staking into. Be sure to check for cables or pipes before you start hammering the stake into the ground.

If you’re looking for an idyllic place to moor your narrowboat on your Lincolnshire break then, Elms Moorings is the perfect canal escape. Situated in the picturesque village of Torksey there is plenty nearby to see and explore. Contact us today to book your mooring space.