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First Boat

I'm new to boating and am confused by the array of boats on sale. I want one that is suitable for rivers, canals and estuaries. It should sleep 3-4. Any suggestions on models I should look at?

Asked by: Billy Fenton  | 4.24pm, Wednesday 29 July

WW says:

It really depends on how serious you are about estuaries. For canal and river use, virtually any 50 to 55ft narrowboat should fit the bill as far as accommodation is concerned. You should, however, look for one with a larger than average engine; somewhere around 50hp should ensure you can cruise upstream on rivers at a reasonable pace.
Most narrowboats are not really designed for use on estuaries. For this, you need a cruiser built to Recreational Craft Directive Category C. These can be made from steel or glass fibre and are usually 10ft to 12ft wide so a 30 to 40ft cruiser should give you all the space you need.
The problem comes when you want to take your cruiser onto the canals. While many of these are suitable for wide beam boats, they tend to be situated around the edge of the system and there are some annoying gaps so you can--t go all the way round. There are one or two narrow beam cruisers that are suitable for estuaries but you may find the internal layout rather cramped.
Your best bet might be to decide where you are likely to do the majority of you boating and buy something specifically for that. You could then hire a boat for the odd occasions when you want to sample the other end of the boating spectrum.

Graham Booth  | 9.55AM, Friday 31 July

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