The main inland waterway signs you need to know

Holidaymaker and professional inland waterway boatmen are agreed: learning to manoeuvre a self-drive boat is no problem. Even so, there are a few basic rules that you need to know before you step aboard. The first of these is being able to recognise the main inland waterway signs.

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Just as you would on the road, before finding out what your rights are, you need to understand what you’re not allowed to do. Some of them will seem obvious, such as these two arrows pointing the same way and crossed by a red line, meaning that you are not allowed to pass or overtake another boat.

Then there’s a crossed-out anchor, which obviously means no anchoring is allowed there.

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Others might seem a bit enigmatic – or even hieroglyphic!

This sign, for example:

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This means that you are not allowed to go outside the space shown. Would you have guessed?

As for the next three: would you have realised that they all mean you’re not allowed to go that way?

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Some signs are quite amusing, like this one, telling you not to make waves or, in other words, to slow down:
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Or this pretty pattern telling you that you mustn’t turn:

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When it comes to things that you must do, some of the signs might be a bit puzzling. This one tells you to take special care:

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Then there’s the one that asks you to stop under certain conditions:

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There are also signs showing restrictions. What about this one?

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It means that the depth of water is limited.

And this one says that the width of the channel is limited:

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In general, you can use your common sense. But if you want to know more, take a look at the boat permit website, where you’ll find nearly all the signs that you need to know. Or just open the logbook that you will have  been given on the day you set off and have a word with our team!

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