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Narrow Boating


(Published December 2013, last reviewed with no updated 2018)

What is narrow boating?

Narrow boats are traditionally operated on canals but are often found using other inland waters including navigable rivers. Narrow boats are powered by an engine. Narrow boats include built in accommodation or cabin areas, this includes traditional narrow boats, wide beam and Dutch barge.

What is a narrow boating permit?

The adventurous activity permit scheme is designed to ensure that only people with the relevant skills and experience lead adventurous activities for the young people. Therefore all activities classed as adventurous can only be lead by someone holding the appropriate permit.

A narrow boating permit is required for all narrow boating taking place in any class of water.

Levels of permit

Permits for narrow boating can be issued for any class of water. Each class of permit can be further restricted (such as through size of vessel, restricting to only operating during daylight hours etc.) to end up with an individual permit to the level of the competence and requirements of any person.

Types of permit

There is one type of permit available for narrow boating. This is:

Leadership – Allows the permit holder to lead narrow boating for a single boat.

Permit limitations

Leadership – If you have permit to lead narrow boating then you can look after only one narrow boat at a time (number of passengers based on the limitations on the licensing of the craft). You will need to remain onboard the boat whenever it is underway.

Rules relating to narrow boating

Rule 9.7 Adventurous Activities Permit Scheme

Rule 9.8 Adult Groups Undertaking Activities

Rule 9.13.1 All Water Activities

Rule 9.13.2 Life Jackets and Buoyancy Aids

Rule 9.13.3 Classification of Waters

Rule 9.13.5 Boats

Rule 9.13.6 Charter Vessels

General activity rules

Rule 9.1 All Activities

Rule 9.6 Use of External Centres and Instructors