The Lee Navigation has a thriving community and a rich boating history dating back to the Bronze Age. In the last 200 years commercial barges have used it as a freight route, rowing clubs have been on the water for more than a century and in recent years there has been a surge in popularity amongst private boat owners, some of whom live on board.
As the waterway has become busier, this has put increasing demands on this finite space leading the Canal & River Trust to set out proposals in 2018 to create Water Safety Zones as part of the London Mooring Strategy. Since then, the charity has been developing proposals for a 12-month trial, with the help of boaters, rowers, and paddle sports clubs.
The proposals are designed to balance the needs of all those who use the Lee Navigation, with a focus on safety, particularly for those craft that are more vulnerable on the water.
Parts of the River Lee are very busy with competing users of the waterway. It is really important that the navigation is safe for everyone: boaters in powered and unpowered craft. The water safety zones are about making everyone aware of other users of the waterway and to make clear the dos and don'ts to keep the navigation safe.
A water safety zone is a designated part of the waterway where additional signage and safety restrictions are in place because of very high or competing waterway uses, for example powered boats, canoes, kayaks, rowers, and stand-up paddle boards.
We are trialling two water safety zones on the River Lee. One is at Broxbourne between Aqueduct Lock 8 and Carthagena Lock 7, and a second on the Lower Lee between Old Ford Lock 19 and Tottenham Lock 17.
The waterway in both of these sections of the River Lee is busy with powered and unpowered boats and include two rowing clubs that have been using the river for more than a century. With such high and wide use, the water safety zone is to help ensure that everyone navigating the water is safe and is looking out for the safety of others.
It should make the waterway safer for everyone navigating the zone. We are asking waterway users in the water safety zone to follow these simple rules:
Yes, boats can still moor within the water safety zone, but in some places, mooring will be restricted or limited, for example there will be no double mooring in parts of the water safety zones, to ensure there is a fair balance of the available space so that all water users are safe.
Our local team of staff and volunteers will monitor and record boat sightings in the water safety zone to help ensure that water safety zone rules are followed.
If people ignore the restrictions, they will initially get a reminder. If they ignore the rules a second time, they will enter the improper mooring process which ultimately could lead to restrictions when renewing their boat licence. These measures are about making sure everyone using the waterway is safe so we hope people will adhere to the water safety zone rules.
The Lee Navigation is 44km in length. In the Lower Lee section there will be over 4.5km of mooring space, including over 2.2km for wider craft. In the Broxbourne section there will be over 1.8km, including 338 metres for wider craft.
The combined water safety zones will cover an area of just over 10km, less than a quarter of the overall length of the Lee Navigation, so there is enough space for everyone.
We will be monitoring the water safety zone trials over the first year and seeking feedback from people using the water. There will be a feedback form available for you to complete when the trial begins. After 12 months we’ll review the pilots to consider how they have worked and make a decision on whether any changes are needed.
It is our intention to open the water safety zones in May, however as with many things this is dependent on the success of the road map out of the national lock-down.
On the basis the road map proceeds as planned, for the first month we will be communicating the new arrangements, so we will expect everyone to be following the mooring information in the water safety zones from the following month, June 2021.
Click on the links below for a more detailed map view:
No. The Water Safety Zones are about making sure that these busy sections of the Lee navigation are safe for everyone. When there are lots of craft using these areas, it is essential to ensure that there is clear navigation and sufficient passing space to reduce the risk of collisions or other safety incidents.
We understand that the 550 number has been calculated based on all mooring space being double moored and does not include any space between moored boats. Even now, not all space in the Water Safety Zones is or can be double moored, and boats do not moor without some space between them. The 550 lost mooring space figure is an exaggeration that does not reflect the current mooring space nor the proposed moorings space
Although there will be some restrictions on where boats can moor to ensure that a safe navigation width is maintained, there will still be lots of mooring space.
*includes space for 106 double moored narrow boats in the Lower Lee section
The average number of boats we sight in the Lower Lee section is 352, maximum sighted 387. The average number of boats we sight in the Broxbourne section is 42, maximum sighted 71.
No, liveaboard and leisure boaters are welcome to use and moor in the Water Safety Zones, but they are asked to adhere to the mooring rules to makes sure the navigation stays safe for them and all other users.
Much of the space designated as no mooring is already space where boats should not moor, for example in bridge holes, on sharp bends, or where it is inaccessible for boats to moor due to shallow depth or vegetation.
No, there are no changes to the existing time you can moor in these areas.
No, boaters will still be able to use these facilities, just as they do now.
How many boating safety incidents have there been in the Water Safety Zones?
The number of incidents involving collisions between unpowered and powered craft has been rising.
Inappropriately moored boats and the lack of safe passing space or access to the bank are often a contributing factor. It is really important that the navigation is safe for everyone: boaters in powered and unpowered craft.
The Water Safety Zones are about making everyone aware of other users of the waterway and to make clear the dos and don'ts to keep the navigation safe and help reduce the number of safety incidents on the river.
Last date edited: 7 May 2021