The Canal & River Trust offers paddlers the fantastic opportunity to pass through some of their network’s 47 tunnels. But there’s some things to be aware of before you go off paddling through canal tunnels. For safety reasons there are some tunnels which are restricted so be sure to check which tunnels are open to paddlers by clicking here.
To have an enjoyable passage paddling through canal tunnels, we’ve put together the following safety tips:
- Carry your waterways licence as some tunnels are manned and will ask to see it before allowing passage
- Double check the signage to see if paddling is permitted through the tunnel. If not, please follow the diversion way markers
- Take time to read tunnel instructions before entering, especially to see if traffic is one or two ways
- You must have a forward facing bright light that’s 80 Lumen or more. Head torches work great!
- Always wear a personal floatation device
- Always carry a whistle incase you need to warn other crafts you are there
Now you are ready to enter the tunnel. Here’s some top tips for passing through:
- When entering the tunnel always check for oncoming canal boats
- If paddling in a group please pass through together where possible
- Try to stay in the middle of the channel to provide maximum head room
- Keep to the right if passing an oncoming craft in a two way tunnel
- It’s very unlikely but if you do fall in some tunnels have chains running along the wall to grab with markers to the nearest exit. Some tunnels also have towpaths inside but this is rare
If you are a stand up paddle boarder, please be aware there are some tunnels that require you to dismount. For example, the two tunnels along the Llangollen canal will require you to dismount and walk on the towpath. However you may tow the board in the water using the leash.
For more details on safety advice along the Llangollen canal please click here.
So there you have it. Everything you need to know about paddling through tunnels. Make sure you stick to the advice and have a fun day out! Looking for places to go for a paddle adventure? Make sure you check out PaddlePoints!