The charity making life better by water

Silent nights?

'Tis the season for peace and goodwill to all... by being considerate when running boat engines and generators or having a party.

Snow covered countryside and houses surround a narrowboat, snowy towpath, and iced-over canal

Over the holiday period everyone is probably looking forward to plenty of rest and relaxation, and enjoying the holidays within the constraints of our 2020 coronavirus world. The fridge will hopefully be groaning with Christmas goodies, fairy lights will be twinkling and there should be loads of films and good programmes to watch on TV. Boat batteries will be getting a hammering and engine running might be a daily necessity.

But noise and smoke pollution from running engines and generators is one of the biggest causes of complaints and conflict between boaters and other boaters and also between boaters and land-based residents.

8am until 8pm only

With so many newer boaters on the canal network there appear to be a few who haven't actually read their boat licence terms and conditions and are blissfully unaware of the 8am–8pm rule and the possible consequences for them as a licence holder for persistent failure to comply, not only in terms of potentially having their boat licence revoked, but also prosecution by Environmental Health officers from the local council. There's also the wider reputational damage for all of us boaters being tarred with the same inconsiderate brush and land-based residents pushing to reduce online moorings due to noise and smoke pollution from boats.

A plea for peace and quiet

  • Please remember the 8am–8pm rule and use engines and generators considerately.
  • Please turn down the volume of your TV, sound systems, radio, etc. after 8pm. Sound carries much more easily over water! There are now many boaters with young families on board. An all-night party with a mega sound system when you are moored next to a boat with a young family is the height of rudeness and inconsideration.
  • Please help educate all the newbies into good boating etiquette with a kind word or two and point them in the right direction, whether it's internet based boating forums or our boat licence terms and conditions.
  • If they don't get the message and keep their engines running, or having all night parties with loud sound systems, please let us know about it. Report their boat index number and details of each incident. If we don't know about it we can't deal with it.
  • And as it's the season of goodwill, why not check up on your boating neighbours, especially if they're older, ill, vulnerable and/or lonely? Don't forget Hands - Face - Space but totally silent nights are probably not what they may be wanting.

Last Edited: 22 December 2020

photo of a location on the canals
newsletter logo

Stay connected

Sign up to our monthly newsletter and be the first to hear about campaigns, upcoming events and fundraising inspiration