South Netherlands/Belgium coast and waterways

Gustywinds

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We will be taking ownership ship of our first boat in 2 weeks and we were originally going to go down through France to the Med but, as (a) the boat is already in the Netherlands and (b) the trip would clash with the Olympics and it is impossible to get a berth in Paris for the next 2-3 months, we are now looking at doing our first trip in southern Netherlands, Belgium and Picardy/Pas de Calais then move to Paris to over winter there. This will give is a chance to get to know the boat while not too far for home (we will have to come home twice in the three months for family events)
I've been in the area before in car/on bike mainly for WW1 history (my great uncle died there) and there are a few places I know I want to revisit (Bruges and De Panne for instance) but looking for ideas on things/places to see and any vargaries of the Dutch and Belgian systems. I must say my dealing with the broker, surveyor, and the shipping agent in Rotterdam who is getting our personal possessions over have shown the stereotypical Dutch laid back attitude and everything has gone really smoothly.
Any must sees? Must do /mustn't do? Good resources to research?
 
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Alicatt

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Visuris ( VisuRIS - Portal ) is the portal for the Flemish waterways, there is a similar one for the Walloon region and EUris ( EuRIS - Start ) is the European portal to the waterways.

I'm based on the Kanaal naar Beverlo at Kerkhoven near Lommel and not far from Leopoldsburg which was the town they planned and set out for the operation market garden.
Which boat do you have?
There has been some changes to the regulations in Belgium that came into force on 1st Jan this year, a change in radio channels to comply with the VDES regs, AIS required for some of the waterways around Antwerp. The vignette for operation on the waterways can be had in for a day or multiples up to one year and depends of the boat, for my 7.5m canal boat it cost €112 for the year.

We have recently had our first cruise from the Kanaal naar Beverlo to the Bocholt-Herentals canal then along the Kanaal Zuid-Williemsvaart to Maasmechlen a round trip of about 160km we were away for 5 days and a lot of fun with our yacht club. We visited Eisen which is a town beside the canal that sunk 12meters when they stopped coal mining there, the canal had to be raised 12m to keep it level.
IMG_9599SM.jpg

Most havens have a tourist information board to give boaters details of what can be seen or done in the area.
This is the one at Maasmechelen:
IMG_9619sm.jpg
 

Alicatt

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Most people here plan on journey times of about 4 hours per day aiming to arrive at a stop around lunch time, we adopted the same plan, it was 39km from our haven to Bocholt passantenhaven, basically the harbour for passing boats, some harbours/haven have special rates for different clubs, we are a member of one such which gives a second night free for a stay, some have water and shorepower which need an app to pay for the use, and also for the overnight stay, for shorepower we use AnUit for the iphone (also available on android) which most havens use for electricity, generally it is about €0.50 per kw as our boat has very little 240V on it the 2 overnights at Maasmechelen cost us €0.5, the stay at Bocholt cost €12 including water, toilet/shower facilities and electricity.
 

Gustywinds

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Visuris ( VisuRIS - Portal ) is the portal for the Flemish waterways, there is a similar one for the Walloon region and EUris ( EuRIS - Start ) is the European portal to the waterways.

I'm based on the Kanaal naar Beverlo at Kerkhoven near Lommel and not far from Leopoldsburg which was the town they planned and set out for the operation market garden.
Which boat do you have?
There has been some changes to the regulations in Belgium that came into force on 1st Jan this year, a change in radio channels to comply with the VDES regs, AIS required for some of the waterways around Antwerp. The vignette for operation on the waterways can be had in for a day or multiples up to one year and depends of the boat, for my 7.5m canal boat it cost €112 for the year.

We have recently had our first cruise from the Kanaal naar Beverlo to the Bocholt-Herentals canal then along the Kanaal Zuid-Williemsvaart to Maasmechlen a round trip of about 160km we were away for 5 days and a lot of fun with our yacht club. We visited Eisen which is a town beside the canal that sunk 12meters when they stopped coal mining there, the canal had to be raised 12m to keep it level.

Most havens have a tourist information board to give boaters details of what can be seen or done in the area.This is the one at Maasmechelen
Thank you so much. I have signed up for those portals and will browse them over the next few days. My boat is an Aquador 32 (9.75m) so looks like 60days will be about 100 Euro, I havent quite worked out how much time we will spend in each of Netherlands/Belgium/France
Interesting about the AIS - the company that is going to be fitting my new electronics asked if I wanted AIS transmit only or transceiver , was about 500Euro difference. I went for the transciever even though I thought I'd never use!
Ive never been further east than Brussels in Belgium so might be interesting to head your way. Yes, our plan is to travel 4 hours/day unless there is some specific target to meet
 

Alicatt

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From reading the info from Visuris and talking with some of the folk in our club the Waterways would like everyone to have AIS as the plan is to use it to schedule the locks better.
While the locks use VHF to communicate a lot of people just use the GSM/mobile phones to call the locks and bridges up to get them to open. Also everyone sits on channel 10 on the VHF and not the calling channel 09, as most info is passed on 10 and that is where the barges transmit their intentions. I'm pretty new at this canal business and learning a lot, on our first voyage I was sitting on 09 and heard nothing it was when I met up with the rest of the club they told me it was 10 that was used - so much for the official channel plan :) My radios are away getting reprogrammed at the moment and will get them back tomorrow.
Once we get the radios back my wife and I will be getting hands on instruction on how to use the locks with the harbour master from our club, he is going to go with us on a trip to Mol which involves a flight of 3 locks to get there, lunch in Mol and then back up the 3 locks to our canal again.
Our little boat, Casper, cruises at about 8km/h and at 7.5m hull speed is not that much more maybe 11km/h
RSMR6512.JPG
The club and haven I'm at is the Blauwe Reiger Yacht Club HOMEPAGE Yachtclub De Blauwe reiger and we welcome passing travellers.
 

Alicatt

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One thing I forgot, for cruising in the Netherlands you need to have a copy of the part 1 of the water almanac which has the police regulations for the waterways in it, it can be a physical copy or an electronic one but it is mandatory, it is only available in Dutch.
Marinas don't like sea flushing toilets and while on old boats it is not mandatory it is mandatory on new ones to have a holding tank, not sure of the date that came in to force, my boat is old and it has a porta potti so I get by with that. Gas regulations are starting to come into force in The Netherlands with some marinas requiring a gas safety certificate but it is not universal yet. I just renewed my gas pipework and sealed off the gas locker, I have a small 2.5kg cylinder of propane which was all I could find that would fit in the locker.
 

MoodySabre

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If you like war history then visit Steenbergen. Berths right in the town. It’s where Guy Gibson died and the war graves of him and hid his navigator. There is a large memorial to the Dambusters in the park. The HM used to hand out a walking guide to visiting Brits.
 

Shifty

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If you like war history then visit Steenbergen. Berths right in the town. It’s where Guy Gibson died and the war graves of him and hid his navigator. There is a large memorial to the Dambusters in the park. The HM used to hand out a walking guide to visiting Brits.
Great tip, I’ll definitely head for there. Is there any bridges to be aware of? We do have a drop down arch if required.
 

Alicatt

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If you like war history then visit Steenbergen. Berths right in the town. It’s where Guy Gibson died and the war graves of him and hid his navigator. There is a large memorial to the Dambusters in the park. The HM used to hand out a walking guide to visiting Brits.
The canals here are lined with pill boxes left over from WW2 some have the marks of impacts from gun fire, some are quite shot up and in ruins
IMG_9548sm.jpgIMG_9556sm.jpg
Then there is Belgian Fort Eben Emael which was built to control the access to the river and canal system, the canal runs along side it and on the other side of the canal is the workings of underground quarrying both of which are open to tourists nearby is the Dutch town of Maastricht. I go to Maastricht a lot it's a lovely town and where the historical figure of D'Artagnan of three musketeers fame met his end, there is a statue of him in one of the parks.

Fort Eben Emael – This is where history comes to life
Monument to d’Artagnan
 

Gustywinds

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One thing I forgot, for cruising in the Netherlands you need to have a copy of the part 1 of the water almanac which has the police regulations for the waterways in it, it can be a physical copy or an electronic one but it is mandatory, it is only available in Dutch.
Marinas don't like sea flushing toilets and while on old boats it is not mandatory it is mandatory on new ones to have a holding tank, not sure of the date that came in to force, my boat is old and it has a porta potti so I get by with that. Gas regulations are starting to come into force in The Netherlands with some marinas requiring a gas safety certificate but it is not universal yet. I just renewed my gas pipework and sealed off the gas locker, I have a small 2.5kg cylinder of propane which was all I could find that would fit in the locker.
Thanks again! I remember seeing a booklet called Wateralmanak onboard but it was dated 2018 so I will download a newer one.
I don’t have to worry about gas as I don’t have any! The boat has a diesel hob and oven. It’s another new thing for me to get used to. The hob seems to take a long time to heat so am buying a kettle and a Nespresso machine for her morning tea and my coffee!
 

Billy Blue

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The App Waterkaarten is well worth paying for. It gives you all the info about inland waters you need such as marinas, locks, bridges ( air heights, opening times, vhf channels, tel nos) etc as well of course as the charts. Basically everything you need to know. It also does autorouting which is really useful and tracks you. I think you can try it free for a week. It covers the Netherlands & Belgium and Germany, France and the UK. I haven't downloaded it for the latter 3 so can't comment on that. It also has a copy of that unintelligible document for us Non Dutch speakers that you need to have.
 

Shifty

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The App Waterkaarten is well worth paying for. It gives you all the info about inland waters you need such as marinas, locks, bridges ( air heights, opening times, vhf channels, tel nos) etc as well of course as the charts. Basically everything you need to know. It also does autorouting which is really useful and tracks you. I think you can try it free for a week. It covers the Netherlands & Belgium and Germany, France and the UK. I haven't downloaded it for the latter 3 so can't comment on that. It also has a copy of that unintelligible document for us Non Dutch speakers that you need to have.
Thanks for the tip, will be downloading that.
 

Alicatt

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The App Waterkaarten is well worth paying for. It gives you all the info about inland waters you need such as marinas, locks, bridges ( air heights, opening times, vhf channels, tel nos) etc as well of course as the charts. Basically everything you need to know. It also does autorouting which is really useful and tracks you. I think you can try it free for a week. It covers the Netherlands & Belgium and Germany, France and the UK. I haven't downloaded it for the latter 3 so can't comment on that. It also has a copy of that unintelligible document for us Non Dutch speakers that you need to have.
Can't agree more, and if you have an internet connection on your phone/tablet it also does AIS.
I use it for our trip planning etc. though I prefer Navionics for the info displayed

This is a route I did for someone that was looking to go from Dikesmude to Leopoldsburg on Waterkerten
DtoL.jpg
 

Gustywinds

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The App Waterkaarten is well worth paying for. It gives you all the info about inland waters you need such as marinas, locks, bridges ( air heights, opening times, vhf channels, tel nos) etc as well of course as the charts. Basically everything you need to know. It also does autorouting which is really useful and tracks you. I think you can try it free for a week. It covers the Netherlands & Belgium and Germany, France and the UK. I haven't downloaded it for the latter 3 so can't comment on that. It also has a copy of that unintelligible document for us Non Dutch speakers that you need to have.
Excellent!
Just downloaded it and it looks great. https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/waterkaarten-boat-navigation/id421372355
Yes, my Dutch is limited to Hello, Goodbye, thank you, where’s the toilet and I’ll have another beer! But most people speak English so it’s easy to be lazy
 

Gustywinds

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We have a 12V kettle boy does it take a long time to heat up, it's much quicker sticking a pan on the hob
In theory, with the uprated battery, charger and inverter that is being installed, I could run a 3000w kettle but I’m playing safe and getting a small 1500w one.
 

Newbroom

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In theory, with the uprated battery, charger and inverter that is being installed, I could run a 3000w kettle but I’m playing safe and getting a small 1500w one.
Good idea a lot of the Belgium marinas only have a 6 or 10amp supply. I have just returned from a round trip Nieuwpoort to Bruges Gent Breskens Ostend back to Nieuwpoort. The smaller canals can take you longer than you expect because of bridge openings.
 

Alicatt

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Good idea a lot of the Belgium marinas only have a 6 or 10amp supply. I have just returned from a round trip Nieuwpoort to Bruges Gent Breskens Ostend back to Nieuwpoort. The smaller canals can take you longer than you expect because of bridge openings.
Also the smaller canals have lower speed limits, ours is 8km/h with 5km/h passing the havens, there are different speed limits depending on the type and size of your boat too, but for most of us it is just the pleasure boating speeds we need to watch,, it's only when you get to 20m or so that different rules apply

Had my Politie Control today, two policemen came as we returned to our berth and checked our documents and made sure the boat complied with the regulations, we need a second fire extinguisher of 2kg for in the cabin and a better first-aid kit. All else was okay.
Speedlimits brochure from VWW
 

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Gustywinds

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Good idea a lot of the Belgium marinas only have a 6 or 10amp supply. I have just returned from a round trip Nieuwpoort to Bruges Gent Breskens Ostend back to Nieuwpoort. The smaller canals can take you longer than you expect because of bridge openings.
That’s interesting. Bruges and Ghent are on my list to visit and I was wondering about Nieuwpoort as a stop to leave the boat for a week while we go home for a family wedding. It’s also within cycling distance of Du Panne where we want to visit someone. Its then only a short hop to Dunkerque where we were originally going to start our a French trip.
 
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