As the summer comes to an end, with its balmy days, warm waters and sun-dappled boating experiences, we start to think about winding down for the winter. As autumn approaches in the northern hemisphere, the days get shorter and cooler, the leaves start to turn and fall, and the lakes, rivers and canals get quieter. But autumn can be one of the most rewarding times of the year for inland boating. So don’t winterize just yet! Take a look at what awaits you in those beautiful, crisp fall months and try boating in October and November.
1. The colours are simply beautiful
There are few things more magical than the colours of autumn, the browns, oranges, purples and crimson creating a dazzling natural display. Boating provides the best way to experience these amazing colours, as they reflect off the pond calm waters of inland waterways and lakes. Cruise along canals overhung by swaying branches, or along lake shores backed by hills and changing forests. Enjoy chilly early mornings on the water as the mist hangs over river valleys, or watch the sun set a deep red in the earl afternoon.
2. You’ll have the waterways almost to yourself
As the high season comes to an end, many boaters will pack up for the winter and you’ll find gloriously quiet lakes, rivers and canals in the autumn months. Adventure abounds as you can explore in tranquility, getting to cruise along inland waterways or lake shores in peace. But so too are the fuel pumps, launch ramps and anchorages much quieter, meaning less time waiting and more time boating. Summertime on the canals can be busy, with long waits at the locks. But head off on a canal boat holiday in October and November and you can skip the queues, glide through the locks and spend more time cruising along canals fringed in autumnal colours. Moorings too will be quieter, so you can venture back to port later in the day safe in the knowledge that you’ll find a good mooring.
3. It marks the start of the fall fishing season
Fall in the northern hemisphere brings with it some of the best freshwater fishing of the year. As fish prepare to head south for winter, and the seasons turn, they migrate and feed in their masses. Venture out to the lakes and rivers where bass and salmon congregate, and enjoy easy pickings that will last you through the winter months. And with less boat traffic around you’ll enjoy some of the quietest, most peaceful fishing boating days of the year.
4. It’s a perfect time for beginners
If you’re new to boating, the hubbub of the summer season can be a daunting time to learn and become more experienced with handling your boat. Venture out in the autumn months and the quieter waterways and lakes will give you breathing space to master maneuvers, to practice mooring and docking, and to get to grips with new instruments.
5. The night skies are breathtaking
While boating in fall brings with it dazzling colour displays, so too do the nights offer natural beauty in abundance. Clear, dark nights are splashed with stars and it makes for an unforgettable experience as you wrap up warm, sip hot chocolate and gaze at the Milky Way above. Enjoy a weekend on your boat and moor up for an evening of campfires, or stay on board as you snuggle on deck.
6. It’s a magical time for bird watching
When we think of autumn, the vibrant colours and changing season are usually our first thought. But October and November are wonderful months for bird watching too. Whether you’re on the lakes, rivers or canals migratory birds will be swooping through clear skies. Get up early, or hunker down at sunset for the best shows. From the dramatic starling murmurations to more elusive species, there is a lot of bird action to enjoy at this time of year. Don’t forget to take binoculars and your bird spotting guide with you.
7. It is an ideal time for visiting riverside cities
Embark on a river cruise or canal boat holiday along some of Europe’s most beautiful inland waterways and you can explore the historic cities with less crowds. Set off to explore Amsterdam, Berlin, Vienna, Prague, Budapest and so many more incredible cities as you approach along the great watery arteries. Whether you are taking your own boat or embarking on a river boat charter or canal boat charter, do so in autumn and you can escape the crowds and enjoy all those magical fall colours.
8. It offers a respite from the heat
If you live in a warm part of the world, the fall brings with it a respite from the heat. The joy of venturing out on your boat and breathing in cool, crisp air is invigorating and welcome after a long, balmy summer. You’ll get to wrap up warm with woolly hats and scarves, snuggle under blankets and toast marshmallows over a campfire on the shore. While swimming and watersports are probably over for the year, boating in the fall brings with it so many new adventures, from wildlife watching to stargazing and fishing. Keep in mind that the days are much shorter at this time of year and plan your adventures accordingly.
Top Tips for Boating in the Autumn
Boating during the fall isn’t vastly different from during the summer, and you should ensure you have all your safety equipment in place and have prepared well before embarking on a day or weekend trip on your boat. Check out our guide on how to plan the perfect boating getaway. There are a few things you’ll want to make sure you add to your summer equipment list, and a few considerations to take into account;
Pack warmer clothing, even if the forecast is predicting mild temperatures. Wind and water can lower the temperatures on board, so make sure you have a good windbreaker and waterproof jacket, a sweater, hat and gloves. Layers are best!
Wear your life jacket at all times, as falling into cold water can be a shock to your body and zap your energy whilst getting help.
Make sure you file a float plan, as there will be fewer boaters on the water meaning less people around if you do get into difficulty.
Bring torches/flashlights and plenty of batteries. With the days getting shorter you don’t want to be falling over or stumbling about in the dark when mooring up.
Keep a sharp eye on the weather as it can be changeable during this season.
If you’re ready for boating adventures and want to join the thousands of boat owners across the world, head over to Rightboat.com for all the info and guides to get you started, as well as the largest collection of new and used boats for sale.
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