Fuel/water and washing facilities


In France red (commercial) diesel is illegal for pleasure boats and will soon be illegal for pleasure boats in Britain. If you have red diesel in your tanks when you cross to France keep the receipt to show that you have bought it in Britain. Bank-side fuel stations in France are few and far between. You may be lucky enough to find a marina with a fuel pontoon, but very often you will have to go to a filling station with your fuel can. Don’t rely on the places marked in your guide book, fuel stations close down and new ones spring up. But you will usually find a fuel station alongside the major supermarkets. The latest edition of Cruising the Inland Waterways of France & Belgium contains a list of fuelling points, both alongside and within walking distance.

Have a couple of fuel cans aboard with wide openings to take fuel nozzles, and a heavy duty trolley or sturdy bicycle for transporting them when full.

On the Rhône particularly fuel can be difficult to obtain, there is a fuel pontoon at L’Eperviere near Valence, and also at a brand new marina at Cruas, but the fuel facilities at Avignon were destroyed in the floods in 2003 and had not been replaced at the time of going to press. So fill up your spare cans when you can.

It was reported in the RYA magazine in winter 2006 that on the river Seine and in Burgundy the gauges on the pumps were inaccurate. Complaints to the Gendarmerie resulted in many waterside fuel outlets refusing to sell fuel to leisure boaters. The advice given by the RYA member reporting this situation was to be prepared to go to the local supermarkets and garages with fuel cans and a trolley where savings of nearly 0.40 cents per litre were to be obtained.

Water, washing facilities and toilets

It is a good idea to fill the water tank at every opportunity. Most moorings have water but sometimes you will cruise through an area where it is difficult to find. Water is available at many of the locks and the waterways guide books will tell you which ones these are. However in practice you may be using the lock with other boats and will need to be very quick so as not to hold them up, particularly if this is an automatic lock and you may find yourself trapped in the lock after the gates have closed.

Never fill from a tap marked Eau non potable.

A 25m hose with a series of adaptors will be needed. Some taps are fitted with push-button taps that will only give a limited amount of water per ‘push’. You could tie something around the button to keep it in the ‘on’ position.

If you are not one of the lucky ones with a washing machine aboard your boat you can find a laundrette in most towns, and many marinas have machines.

Showers are available at the marinas and increasingly these are being installed at smaller moorings.

There are very few pump out facilities for your holding tanks in France. These are being installed at new marinas and new boats will be required to have holding tanks. But in the meantime we believe that we should use the shore facilities where these are available but otherwise subscribe to the “little and often” theory, rather than dumping the whole of the contents of one’s holding tank into a canal.

return to top of page