If you are going on a Hotelboat cruise you just need the skills of sitting back and being pampered! If you are going to rent a self drive boat you don’t need any formal qualification or even boating experience. Instruction is always given by hire firms, and some even offer short training courses. You'll soon pick things up by taking it slowly and watching and talking to other boaters. Most  will be vacationers just like you, and happy to show you the 'ropes'. And although we drive on the wrong side of the road in the UK, we pass other boats on the side you are used to!    Steering a heavy boat up to 70 feet long from the back using a tiller on a fairly narrow canal does take a bit of getting used to, but most people adjust quickly. Remember to take your time, slowing down to 4mph does get some getting used to, but you'll soon be enjoying life that way! Being able to work locks efficiently and safely is vitally important, you can drain a section of canal if you get it wrong, and, even worse, people have been drowned by incorrect lock operation. Listen carefully when you are given instruction and take your time. Wait for someone to help if you are not sure. There are millions of lock operations each year without problems. Don’t moor on tight bends, by turning places (known as winding holes - pronounced like the 'wind' that blows!) or close to locks where you will get in the way of other boats using the locks. You can always moor outside the pubs!       “Don’t I need a canal licence & boating skills to drive a barge?” Canal Vacations promotes the wonderful leisure opportunities on UK canals. We don't offer boats or vacations of our own! Our sister site Canal Junction has links to recommended Barge Hire Firms Book Now via Canal Junction!