- Upon setting off untie your own mooring lines and not those belonging to your neighbour's boat. Never admit to anyone that you have made such a schoolboy error.
- Always make sure you are travelling on the proper side of the river. Just like driving on a road there is a right and wrong way. There are various tactics you can employ to ensure you get this right - the most obvious one is to look at the skipper of the oncoming boat. If he/she is waving their arms madly at you and shouting obscenities then you can safely assume that you should move to the clear water and pretend that you knew this all along. Another way is to remember the following phrase: THE OTHER SIDE, NUMPTY.
- Make sure you have enough fuel to get to your intended destination. It's no good just hoping for the best and then hitting a sandbank that tilts your boat so the engine runs dry. Your engine will also agree with this.
- If you forget the above send your hubby, who should be nicely pickled in Pimms by now, back to your home mooring to fetch the bike that you forgot to take. Tell him to collect fuel and cycle it back to you.
- Call out your neighbour to rescue you. Confuse him by being indecisive as to whether you actually need rescuing or not. Make it absolutely clear that you did NOT phone him to brag about your own idiocy. You should never tell anyone about that.
- Stare forlornly at the engine and shout words of love and encouragement as it gasps and chokes and dies. As a last resort tell it that you'll only have to make it bleed if it doesn't start.
- Cheer madly when the engine responds to these barbaric threats and turn the damn boat around and go home before you actually break something.
- Never admit to anyone that you ran out of fuel. An exploding engine or any other form of breakdown is fine. Running out of diesel is a sign that you really ought not to be allowed on the waterways... at least not without adult supervision.
- If anybody asks pretend you meant to breakdown. Claim it was an exercise in boat handling and competency.
- Make no comment about failing the above exercise.
Life sometimes gets in the way of boating. So, here are a few reminders to gently ease you back into life on the river. This is especially useful if, like me, you've forgotten what to do.