Operating locks can be part of the fun on your canal boating holiday once you get the hang of it. It can be daunting first time round but once you learn the concept of how they work you’ll be confident in no time!
Locks have gates located at each end, which means they can be used in either direction. Once you’re inside the lock and the gates are closed, water will either empty or fill up the chamber, in order for your narrowboat to get lifted or lowered to match the water level on the next section of the waterway.
On board you should make sure that you have a lock handle or windlass which is a tool that you will need to open and close every lock you pass through.
For more information on how to use a lock on the inland waterways – watch this detailed video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iopNqKNfJBg
Single locks have one gate and is definitely the easiest lock to use.
Broad locks are double in width meaning that you can have two narrowboats either side one another or for one wider boat.
Double locks are very convenient as you can have more than one boat passing through at a time.
Stop locks are used to stop the flow of water in order to prevent taking large amounts of water from another canal.
Guillotine locks have vertical gates which require less space than a normal lock as they do not need to push out into the waterway.
Staircase locks were produced for steep gradients, where there are two or more locks - the lower gates of the higher lock are also the higher gates of the lower one.
Remember that when operating canal locks, ensure that any personal possessions that you are carrying, are in a secure, zipped pocket, or similar, as if these are lost or damaged, they may not be covered under your policy.
For more Narrowboat advice, take a look at our other articles: https://www.collidgeandpartners.co.uk/blog/