It’s odd, but your boating adventure becomes a little more adventurous when you’ve stopped moving. You really can’t get into much trouble while putting along the canal, but a bad mooring can ruin your day. Let’s look at the two types of moorings a typical holiday canal cruiser encounters and how to improve the experience.

caution iconIt can be dangerous to moor a still moving boat because it’s easy to trap a hand between a line and a bollard or ring. You could also weaken the bollard or ring and also stress your line.

Quick mooring rules

  • Moor on the towpath side whenever possible
  • Don’t moor immediately before or after a bridge, lock, water point, weir, slipway, junction or bend of the canal. Don’t moor such that you block the approach to the bridge, lock, etc.
  • Whenever possible, moor where there are mooring rings or bollards
  • Don’t block the towpath with mooring lines
  • Don’t moor where prohibited—duh!

A quick mooring

While waiting in line at a lock or at a water point, you will only have to moor for a brief time and consequently the list of things you need to bear in mind is mercifully short.

It’s best to approach the towpath or bank at an angle and slowly. Put the throttle in reverse briefly to almost stop the boat. A person in the front of the boat will step off with a mooring line and secure the boat to a mooring ring or bollard.

caution iconAvoid the temptation to jump off the boat as you could easily slip and fall. Also, don’t try to slow the boat when approaching the bank by putting out your foot. That’s a good way to break a leg.

To get the stern of the boat close to the towpath or pier, push the tiller hard left to move the stern left or hard right to move the stern right, and apply a little forward throttle. Once the boat has stopped and is against the towpath, put the throttle in neutral. If it’s a two-person boat, the driver will step off and run a line to the towpath and then back to the boat, tying it off on a bitt or cleat on the stern.

tip iconWhenever possible, run lines back to the boat. It will allow you to untie while on the boat and uses up a lot of the extra line that you would otherwise trip over.

Secure lines to bollards or rings with a round turn (two loops). You don’t have to tie up as long as mooring lines are attended, but pay attention when moored at the lower end of a lock. The outflow from the lock might pull the boat away from its mooring.