Boating beginners

Motor cruiser

Being a boating beginner may seem daunting but everyone has to start somewhere and the Broads is a great place to learn.

There are plenty of places that offer boating lessons if you'd like a bit of expert advice. Most broads have a sailing club, offering everything from 'have a go' taster sessions to lessons with Royal Yachting Association instructors. You can check out where these are available on our official visitor website w. We would also advise you to look at our Safety section.

Top 10 boating tips

  1. Read your skipper's manual - if you're on a holiday cruiser, your boatyard should supply one on board.
  2. Always wear your buoyancy aid when you are on deck, getting on and off, or tying up your boat. You can also buy one for your dog! Step ashore, never jump.
  3. Keep an eye on everyone on board at all times (especially small children).
  4. Plan your journey before setting out by checking navigation maps and tide tables.
  5. Always have your ropes ready and drive into the flow of water when mooring up.
  6. Mind your head at all bridges, and remember to check clearance in advance of your trip.
  7. Don't swim in the rivers and broads, there are lots of hidden dangers that can put you and others at risk.
  8. Don't drink and drive on the water.
  9. Take care with barbecues and only use them in permitted areas, not on your boat!
  10. Stick to the speed limits and check your wash (the waves made by your boat).

Better Boating videos

To make learning the ropes a little less overwhelming, we've put together some Better Boating videos covering everything you need to know from basic handling and safety to negotiating bridges and tidal waters.

Chapter 1 – General introduction

Covers boating and the Broads, including some beautiful aerial video of this special place.

Chapter 2 – Safety basics

Includes footwear and lifejacket information, introduction to a typical hire cruiser, boat controls and negotiating bridges.

Chapter 3 – Boating basics

Handling instructions including other river users you may encounter on your holiday, such as yachts, water skiers and even power boat racing.

Chapter 4 – Dos and Don'ts

Learn about the dos and don'ts on the river to help you have an enjoyable and safe boating experience.

Chapter 5 – Reversing and turning

How to reverse your boat and turn it around.

Chapter 6 – Mooring alongside

How to safely moor parallel to a bank.

Chapter 7 – Mooring and securing your boat

More on mooring techniques and basic knots.

Chapter 8 – Mooring stern on

How to safely moor stern on to a bank.

Chapter 9 – Greener boating and the environment

Making the most of the Broads wildlife and your part to play in keeping it unspoilt.

Chapter 10 – Bridges

Also includes information on pilots, procedures and gauge boards.

Chapter 11 – Passing through Great Yarmouth and Breydon Water

Passage planning and how to moor against the tide.

Chapter 12 – Rules of the river

General rules to ensure your safety and enjoyment.