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Boat hire training, handover and safety


A visiting dog befriends our crew

Hire Boat Handover To enjoy your narrow boat holiday fully, you need to feel confident in handling the boat, and know that all your crew are safe. So we take exceptional care to give you and your crew the training you need.

We do this in stages, so you can take it in, and a large part of it is actually done on your boat with you as you start your journey. This is what we do:

  1. As soon as you have booked, we send you a link to your online Information Pack, specific to your boat and start base. This contains:

    1. Canal & River Trust Boater's DVD

    2. Canal & River Trust Boater's Handbook

    3. Our Holiday Guide with details of your boat, arrival information, and everything you need to know.

    4. Our Route Companion describing the waterways you will travel, with instructions for locks, boat handling etc.

    5. Order form for your bedding and other requirements.

    6. Lots of other useful information, including a link to our online shop to pre-order maps and guides.

  2. At the start of your holiday, we brief you on the local waterways, routes, lock working and canal etiquette.

  3. One of our experienced instructors shows you round your narrow boat, explains how it works and tells you about the daily checks to be made.

  4. You then set off, accompanied by our instructor.

  5. At your first lock, we show you what to do, and then help you through two more.

  6. We ask you to sign a Handover Certificate to confirm that you're happy with our briefing.

On your boat are a comprehensive Boat Manual and several canal guides.

Watch The Boater's DVD now


You can download The Boater's Handbook now.

Watch The Boater's DVD in Dutch, German or Swedish.

The safety handbook on your hire boat holiday with Shire Cruisers    The Boater's DVD - free with your Shire Cruisers Yorkshire hire boat holiday

The Boater's Handbook and film (DVD) have been produced by Canal & River Trust in partnership with the Environment Agency. They show good practice in boat handling and lock work.

Our Boat Handover procedure is Quality Assured by British Marine. Click for details

Using lock paddle winding gear

CRT's Navigation Advisory Group has produced this film on paddle gear - with lovely shots of a historic narrow boat.


Showing you the ropes

Technical handover

How your boat works


How you steer your boat

Into your first lock

Into your first lock

Winding the paddles

How to wind the paddles

Signing off

Signing off