Safety on the Union 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 Union canal

Facilities on the Union canal

Special care needed when passing these places:

Falkirk Tunnel

Only one way traffic is permitted through this narrow tunnel. Please follow the safety information displayed on signs at the entrances to the tunnel, and comply with the light signals. You must not stop in the tunnel. 

Roughcastle Tunnel

Again, only one way traffic is permitted through this narrow tunnel. Scottish Canals staff will be on hand to help, so please follow their instructions.

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.

Safety information