We live in a litigious society and the Considerate Boater needs to be aware of the potential risks associated with his/her actions. A good boater will be constantly risk assessing the surroundings and on the alert for a potential incident.

The list on the right is not exhaustive but might remind you of some of the potential risk areas.

Putting the law to one side however, none of us want to be responsible for the damage or injury to a third party or their property so think twice before doing anything out of the ordinary.

Avoid jumping on the litigious band wagon yourself. If someone runs into your steel hulled boat and scratches the blacking, just put it down to "one of those things" and get the paint brush out.

Helping someone else at a lock is good practice but what if you open a paddle too much and the boat sinks? Offer help, but don't force it on someone. Ask the other crew to tell you what they want you to do and when to do it.

Never move someone's boat without their permission. No matter how good your knots are, if you tie a boat up and the boat breaks free, you may be liable.

Keep the towing path clear of your ropes and belongings such as water hose to avoid falls by other users.

If you invite friends onto your boat make them aware of the potential dangers and brief them on exactly what you want them to do and what you don't want them to do.

Don't allow strangers, especially children, to travel on your boat.

With the best will in the world, we all make errors of judgement and you should check that your insurance is valid for the current use and that it covers third party liability.