It is as important to make sure your boat is in a waterway worthy condition as ensuring that you car is roadworthy before taking it out on the motorway.

Reputable hire boatyards will tell you what daily checks to carry out to be sure of a trouble free boat. This will vary from boatyard to boatyard, as well as boat to boat but the following are general important things you need to check on all boats.

  • Check that all your boat’s services are as they should be, this includes: full water tank, enough gas for you cruise, empty rubbish, empty loo – you may not be able to do anything there and then, but it is always useful to know what needs to be done.
  • Check that the stern-tube greaser has been tightened. It is better to do this after a day’s cruising however it is still worth checking at the start of you cruise.
  • Check engine coolant levels.
  • Check the engine’s oil level is acceptable with the dipstick.

Just before setting off,  keep in mind:

  • Ensure that the gear lever is in neutral or disengaged before starting the engine.
  • Check that, after untying the boat, that no ropes are dangling overboard and all mooring pins are withdrawn and brought aboard. The ropes should always be stored tidily, as in an emergency a tangled rope can be a serious handicap.
  • Before pulling out into the channel, make sure it is safe to do so – pushing the bank with a shaft from the bows (the sharp end!) will get you cleanly underway.
  • As a canal or river is normally much shallower by its banks, use the throttle lightly to get under way – a furiously rotating propeller only churns up the mud and slow progress.