Boating FAQ's

We've put together a list of questions we're often asked and situations we've come across aboard Maddison. If you can't find the answer to your question here, then please get in touch and we will do our best to answer it for you.


Q - Do we need a licence or insurance?

A - No licence or formal qualification is needed. Also, our boat carries commercial insurance as a requirement of our commercial boat licence. You should consider taking out your own normal holiday insurance.

Q - We've never been on a canal boat before. How do we learn how to operate it?

If you're new to boating, we'll conduct a full handover of our boat at the start of your cruise. We walk you through the boat explaining how everything works and then accompany you out on the water to give you hands-on practical guidance on all aspects of steering, using the locks, mooring up and setting off. Once you are happy in handling Maddison, we'll hop off and leave you to enjoy the rest of your cruise. And remember, help is only a phone call away. We also have some great information on our Know How page which will introduce you to boating and give you a taste of what to expect when holidaying aboard a Narrowboat.  

Q - Can we travel at night?

A - In short... No. As a condition of hire, we restrict travelling to daylight hours. So in effect you can't move the boat between dusk and dawn and will need to moor up overnight before sunset.

Q - Where can we moor and do we have to pay to moor?

A - In general you can moor anywhere along the canal against the tow-path side of the waterway for free. The only restrictions are: At the entrance to locks where boats wait to pass through them. Opposite turning points along the canal. At water and service points. Other moorings that are marked as private.

Q - How can I plan a route?

A - There a several resources on the internet that can help you plan a route. We've listed some of the better ones on our Know-How page. 

Q - How will we know where we are heading?

A - Aboard Maddison we have several Pearson's Guide Books that we will show you how to use. These are excellent books and contain very useful information about the canal such as locations for services, shops and pubs. Additionally the guide tells you how far and how long you travel to your desired destinations. Don't worry. We won't leave you until you are happy with what you need to do!


Q - Do we need towels, bedding and sundries?

A - No. We provide all your bedding, including duvets, pillows and pillowcases. We also provide mattress protectors, top sheets and towels for everyone aboard. We also provide tea towels, cleaning equipment / products and toilet rolls to easily last you.

Q - Where can we get food and drink?

A - We supply tea, coffee and sugar to start you off. There a numerous eating and drinking places along the canal, plus shops where you can buy provisions. But we would suggest you bring along a good supply of food, drinks and snacks.

Q - What clothing do we need?

A - Obviously the British weather is unpredictable so its a good idea to try and cover all the bases with the minimum of clothing. From experience we have found the best way to do this is layering. This way if the weather is cold, layer up with tee shirt, jumper and a fleece. If it then rains, a thin waterproof coat will keep you dry. If it warms up but is still raining, take a jumper and or fleece off so you remain dry but not overheat. Similarly, thin waterproof trousers can keep you dry when worn over thin or thick trousers. Good non-slip footwear is essential. Avoid flip-flops as you will definitely slip, slide and trip. In warm weather be it wet or dry, believe it or not, Crocs are a good option. They grip well and soon dry out. For colder weather we have used Rigger style boots as they are waterproof, have good grip and are fur lined to keep you warm. They can also be kicked off easily to save treading mud inside the boat.

Q - Suitcases or Holdalls?

A - We strongly recommend you use HOLDALLS to carry your belongings. There is plenty of storage for clothes, food and other items aboard Maddison. When you have emptied your Holdall you can fold it up and stow it away. Suitcases don't fold away!


Q - Can we bring bikes or a canoe?

A - Unfortunately not. There is no safe storage space inside or outside of the boat for these items. Items stored on the front or rear decks may obstruct door openings. Items stored on the roof can injure a passenger or damage the boat in the event of a collision with a low bridge.

Q - Can we bring along fishing tackle and fish from the boat?

A - Yes. All we ask is that no live bait is stored inside the boat cabin and you only fish from the boat when it is moored up. You will still need a valid rod licence and any permissions to fish on designated club waters.

Q - Can we bring other electrical appliances. Such a Hair-dryers, Irons, Electric Coffee Makers & Slow Cookers?

A - The short answer is No. There is 240V AC power available aboard the boat, but in order not to damage the power supply inverter, we ask you do not bring power hungry items similar to the above mentioned.

Hair-dryer - We supply one on board.

Slow Cookers & Coffee Makers -  They require too much power and will damage the Inverter.

Irons - Again they use too much power. There are no suitable surfaces on the boat to use irons without damage to the boat.

Laptops, Tablets, Phones and other low power equipment is acceptable. Click here to view our boat inventory.

Q - Can we bring a BBQ with us?

A - Yes. One of the best things about boating is enjoying the open air and eating outside in the lovely countryside. BBQ's must only be used on the tow path and must not be stored on any part of the boat with burnt coals. 

Q - Can we bring Laptops & Tablets?

A - Yes. The 240 volt system aboard Maddison will easily charge your electronics.


Q - Can we bring our family dog?

A - We welcome one medium or two small breed dogs aboard Maddison. There is an extra charge for this. Please have a look at our Price & Booking page for this information. Also have a look at our Terms page for more information. The basic rules are: Dogs should not be left unattended aboard the boat. They should be kept off the beds and soft furnishings and you should bring along their feed and water bowls as well as their beds.


Q - What does the insurance fee cover us for?

A - The insurance fee we charge covers you against having to pay a £500 insurance excess charge for any insurance claim resulting from your use of the boat. If we didn't give you this option. You would be required to deposit £500 with us which would be refunded upon the safe return of the boat. 

Q - What if we lose items or damage something.?

A - We totally understand that items will be lost or damaged. From our experience, these items will be low value such as mooring hooks, windlass and the like. We do ask that you are responsible for the cost of replacing or us repairing these items. If you can't replace them whilst out on the boat, then let us know as soon as possible so that we can have replacements ready on your return. We will let you know the cost so that you can refund us the money when you return the boat. Have a look at our Terms page to see our standard costs for repairs and replacement.