Safety on the Forth and Clyde Canal


  • Do have an adequate number of competent crew aboard. Single-handed passage is not possible on this canal.
  • Do take time to plan ahead, lay out warps, fenders, and clear decks before you set off.

  • Do check fuel and oil levels before starting the engine and also that all controls are working properly.

  • Do make sure that children and non swimmers wear life jackets.

  • Do relax and take your time. 


  • Do not speed in the waterway, this damages banks and affects other waterway users.
  • Do not cruise after darkness.

  • Do not cruise near weirs, or attempt to shoot them in canoes. 

  • Do not allow pets to wander – keep them on leads and do not allow them to foul the canal banks.
Facilities along the canal

See information on boat repairs, places to each and local amenities along the Forth and Clyde canal

Facilities on the Forth & Clyde canal

Special care needed when passing these places:


The River Carron passes within the Grangemouth Petroleum and Chemical Complex’s safety zone. In the event of a major escape of toxic gas, the following public warning sirens will be sounded:

  • The Alert Siren is a two-tone sound operating continuously for 5 minutes, followed by 1 minute off. This alert cycle is repeated for as long as necessary.
  • The All Clear is a single-tone sound, lasting 5 minutes.

If you hear the sirens or suddenly feel unwell because of gas, extinguish all naked lights, go inside and shut all doors, windows and vents immediately. If you’re underway on the River Carron, proceed to the nearest mooring point (see sailing instructions) and follow the procedure above.

Dalmuir drop lock

Close to the western end of the canal at Dalmuir, this lock provides passage below Dumbarton Road. It’s on a sharp bend in the canal, so take care when approaching from either direction. Moor outside the lock and wait for instructions from Scottish Canals staff. 

The minimum locking time is 40 minutes.


Boaters Handbook

All licence holders are entitled to a free copy of our Boaters Handbook. Keep it on board the boat and encourage all crew members to follow it. Please ask for a copy at the sea lock or at the waterway office. The handbook contains information common to inland waterways generally, not locally specific information.

Canal licences

All craft using the canals must have an up to date licence on display at all times. For more information please visit or contact the Waterway office 0141 332 6936.


Sea locks: VHF Channel 16/74.

Call signs “Bowling Basin” and “Carron Sea Lock”.

VHF coverage on inland reaches isn’t consistent.

Safety information