The event, which was supported by the Canal & River Trust, offered taster sessions at 19 of our canal boat hire bases across England and Wales.
Tim Parker, Chairman of Drifters Waterway Holidays, says: “We are absolutely delighted with the response to our National Open Day this year, with around 4,000 people visiting 19 events across England and Wales, and over 3,000 of those enjoying a free mini boat trip.
“It has been our most popular Open Day event so far – last year just over 1,000 people took part. The lovely spring weather enjoyed by much of the country on Sunday certainly helped, plus the continued popularity of TV programmes like ‘Great Canal Journeys’, which are drawing people to our beautiful inland waterways.
“It’s absolutely vital that we attract newcomers to the canals with taster events like these. Last year, the Drifters’ group enjoyed a 12 per cent increase in bookings compared to 2014. We hope that bookings remain buoyant this season and many more people book a canal boat holiday for the first time.
“Our open days with free boat trips are only once a year, but we are always happy to see people at our boatyards to chat about boats, routes and holidays.”
Mike Grimes, head of boating at the Canal & River Trust, added: “It’s fantastic that so many people took to the water last Sunday at a Drifters’s Open Day event, many for the first time. Narrowboat holidays can often be the start of a lifelong passion for the waterways. We hope many of these visitors will return to the waterways soon!”