French specialist in canal boat holidays since 1982

1 – Are the locks easy to pass? How do I do it?

Passing the locks is a simple manoeuvre and is enjoyable if you follow some basic rules: navigate slowly and carefully and remain patient if there are several boats waiting for the lock. It is easier to pass through the manual locks if you do so with two fit people. As you travel along you’ll realise that the lock manoeuvres can be very interesting as you can often chat with the lock keepers, sometimes enjoy the local produce or just admire the view and observe the local atmosphere.

2 – Are the locks manual or automatic? What must I do to cross a lock?

There a several different types of locks: manual locks with a lock keeper which is the most common and automatic locks with a lock keeper which is often found on the larger rivers. However there are also another two types of locks without a lock keeper. The manual locks without a lock keeper tend to be found on certain canals and rivers which are rarely visited. If you come across one, you and your crew must cross it by yourselves; this will surely be an interesting memory for everyone involved. While the aforementioned manual locks tend to be rather small, the automatic locks without a lock keeper tend to be medium sized and are often found on commercial canals where there is not much traffic. The technicians at your departure base will show you a control system for an automatic lock and explain how to operate it.

3 – What are the hours when I can pass a lock? Are they closed on certain days?

The locks are usually open every day; however they may close for certain holidays. The opening hours are different for each canal and our team at your departure base will inform you about this when you arrive or when you book.

4 – Is there a fee for crossing a lock? And is it necessary to tip the lock keepers?

No, there is no fee for crossing a lock as the lock keepers are paid for their work. Hence a tip is not mandatory and it is at your discretion whether you wish to tip the lock keeper or not.

5 – Is it dangerous for young children?

All our boats are equipped with safety equipment including a double chain on the balcony railing and movement aboard is always easy due to the wide set decks protected by railing and the large and stable sun decks. However the aquatic environment always presents risks and as such we recommend that children wear life jackets. For toddlers you should consider arm floats as it is often easier for them to wear during the hot weather. In addition we offer a baby set to save you from the stress of trying to remember to bring everything you need.

6 – How long does it take to pass a lock?

The time is takes to pass a lock depends on several factors, including the amount of traffic, but on average it takes about 20 minutes.