These are regularly asked questions

Should you have any that are not here please call the office +44 01788 890784.


What do I need to know, I’ve not hired a boat before?

An extra welcome for first time hirers awaits you at Union Canal Carriers.

With many years of boating experience, we enjoy introducing new people to the canals.  A chat over the phone with our expert staff will help you to book the best boat and route for you. If you are able, you are welcome to call in to see us and look over the boats, but please check first to see if the boat you wish to look at is in. On arrival for your holiday, we give you a thorough tuition on your boat and an extensive pre-cruise briefing. As first-time hirers, we show you how to work a real lock and accompany you on the boat until you are confident.



How do we plan our routes?

We have a page designated to helping plan routes, please look at this to decide which you think is best for you most holidays are either short breaks or week long trips. When you have decided on your route we will email you a map which you can print or load on your device using Opencanalmap. This is a free App based on google maps that we highly recommend to our customers, it is great to use while you are planning your holiday and also while on the boat it will locate you.


How much experience do I need?

Previous experience is not essential and you should find our boats very easy to steer and control.

Our staff will spend the appropriate amount of time with you to ensure that you feel safe and confident, whether you are a first-time hirer or have hired for many years.

These two links many answer some questions you may have.


Canal and River Trust Boater's Handbook     



Do I need a steerers licence?

No form of steerer’s licence is required for boats carrying up to 12 people.


Where can we stop at night?

On the canals, moorings are free (pre-bookable paid mooring are available in London) and the choice is yours. There are many ‘designated’ moorings provided with tying rings and bollards in the more well known spots such as village wharfs and canal side pubs. If you prefer solitude, then you are free to tie up at any point along the towpath, mooring pins and piling hooks are provided.



Are there any extra costs?

Wifi can be booked if required (see below).

Some bookings may be subject to a £250.00 security deposit View our Terms and Conditions here 

Otherwise damage waiver, booking fees, cancellation policy, fuel, car parking, tuition, cot-sides, travel cot and bedding are all included.


What is the mobility access on Union Canal Carriers boats?

We have put our boats into access categories – see individual boat detail page, should you have more questions please call and ask.

Mobility access: limited These boats may be harder to access due to

smaller back deck, high sided front deck, have steep steps into the boat.

Mobility access: Good The access on these boats is easier due to

semi-traditional stern, front deck has low sides with seating and easier steps into the boat

Mobility access: Very Good The best access for limited mobility customers 

large cruiser stern with easiest access onto the towpath, front deck has low sides with seating and low steps into the boat from the front deck

Please note a caravan step can also be provided to improve access.


Is there WiFi available?

Wifi (mobile data provided by 3) is available on all our boats 2GB is £20.00, providing data to surf the internet.

It’s not designed for streaming and the signal can be intermittent due to the canals infrastructure, Please book ahead


Where can we go?

From Braunston there are 100’s of miles of canals and rivers to cruise. In a few cases you may need an additional licence (River Nene and Thames). Cruise planning is made easy with our knowledgeable staff and we have an excellent range of cruising guides in stock. Please feel free to phone for advice at any time. For more information please look at our Routes Page


Can I bring a young family?

Yes of course. Facilities for children include: safe, high sided back decks on many of our boats; buoyancy aids which are recommended to be worn whenever children are out on deck; travel cots and cot sides (please advise beforehand).


Can I bring a pet?

Well behaved family pets are welcome on all our boats, there is a charge £25 per pet, pet per holiday. In exceptional cases we many make a charge for extra cleaning or damage caused by pets.


Do I need to bring groceries?

As you wish, you can bring your own groceries. There are shops, pubs and cafes on most stretches of the canals around our area.

Food orders can be collected using ‘Click and Collect’ from Supermarkets in Braunston, Daventry or Rugby.


Are towels and bedding provided?

Bedding is provided on all our boats. Towels are available for a small hire charge.


What if anything goes wrong?

We provide a full 24/7 call out service should you require any assistance whilst staying on our boats.


Overseas Customers

We can help you organise your travel from the airport to our base by car, public transport or taxi service. Shopping can be ordered and delivered beforehand to your boat.

To help with packing, we provide complimentary towels and can store your suitcases if required.

Below are some training videos that may help understand British canal boating.