Getting Started In Boating….

We so often get asked about how to get started in boating in our area (North West England), and while this is not meant to be the definitive guide, here a few basic pieces of advice we often find ourselves giving that seem to be appreciated..

Location, Location, Location …

One of the first things you need to decide is where you want to do your boating…and different boating environments require very different sets of skills and knowledge, provide very different experiences, and require very different boats…


In the North West we are fortunate to have some superb canal waterways – and for many this is an ideal way to get into boating as it provides an relatively simple way to enjoy life afloat without needing to learn too much in the way of seamanship compared to the knowledge required to go to sea (especially in our area). To get on the canals you need a motor boat that is especially designed for the shallow waters and low bridges of the canals – traditional style narrowboats are of course very popular

Lake District

Having the magnificent Lake District on our doorstep opens up opportunities.  The lakes are ideal for sailing or paddle craft. Speed limits on all lakes mean waterskiing and jetskiing aren’t possible.

The Sea

While boating at sea in our area can be truly magnificent it is also quite committing and requires experience.  Some our berth-holders have set out on voyages to the Med or on Atlantic crossings whilst others enjoy the delights of North Wales, Scotland or the Isle of Man. But BEWARE – the Irish Sea can be one of the trickiest sea areas in the world. Big tides, exposed lee-shores and very few places to run to if things get nasty, so experience and the right boat are crucial to safely enjoy this area.

Look before you leap – and try before you buy…

Boating at sea is not for everyone – and the reality of it can be an eye opener.  Boats require regular work to keep them in a seaworthy condition. There is no MOT for leisure craft but poorly maintained boats are asking for trouble, but even a well made and prepared vessel can come to grief in the hands of inexperienced or ill-informed skippers.

With the right equipment and training however, boating at sea is one of life’s great adventures – from Preston you can see the world!  Just remember, the people who make it look easy have done the learning and got the skills.