Soon the new boating season will be upon us. Time for us boaters who have been moored up most of the winter to come out and play with our hardier friends who have been living aboard or cruising during the winter.

An essential part of the boating season is the round of Canal Festivals, where we can gather and celebrate all things ’boaty’. These occasions are great meeting points for boaters, would-be boaters and those who just like the atmosphere of a good festival.

If you are considering buying a boat or getting involved in boating, festivals are a great place to start. You can look at boats, talk to boaters and meet the world of boating at its most convivial. You can also hear great music, eat fantastic food and drink at the real ale bar. At most festivals there are also trade stands, kid’s activities and market stalls.

The ‘kick-off’ meeting for the season is the IWA Canalway Cavalcade,Little Venice, London, 2nd – 4th May. This is the May bank-holiday weekend and Little Venice is just behind Paddington Station, so getting there is really easy. Here, around the beautiful setting of Browning’s Pool, you will find hundreds of boats. As well as the attractions mentioned above, Cavalcade features both day and evening boat parades, working boats and a boat handling competition.

The next festival is at Rickmansworth on 16th &17th May, run by Rickmansworth Waterways Trust. Again, all the usual attractions plus 2 music stages and a funfair.

The Boat Tug of War (Prizes sponsored by Boatshed GrandUnion) is a unique feature of Ricky festival. Boats of all shapes and sizes battle it out, not only with sheer engine power, but nefarious practices and unbridled gamesmanship. The umpire’s decision may be final but are rarely undisputed.

So if you are interested in boating or buying a boat come and join us at one of these festivals.