The charity making life better by water

Vote from a boat

Ever wondered, as a liveaboard boater, what you need to do to have your say when we're all called on to vote on something?

Boats in Welford wharf

We all like to have our voice heard when the country comes to making big decisions. This doesn't change just because you live on a boat. So, below, you'll find a guide on how to make sure you get the chance to have your say when the time comes.

Firstly, check that you eligible. You can register to vote at 16 but cannot vote until 18 and either way, you must be:

  • Aged 18 or over
  • Registered to vote in the UK
  • A British or Irish citizen living in the UK


  • A Commonwealth citizen living in the UK who has leave to remain in the UK or who does not require leave to remain in the UK
  • A British citizen living overseas who has been registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years
  • An Irish citizen living overseas who was born in Northern Ireland and who has been registered to vote in Northern Ireland in the last 15 years
  • A citizen of the Commonwealth nations of Malta and Cyprus

All good? Then read on!

Voting if you have permanent moorings

If you have a permanent mooring then you're effectively a resident of that area and the process is the same as for your land-lubbing neighbours. Just visit the Government's voting registration website.

Voting if you're a continuous cruiser

It's slightly more complicated if you're always on the move and don't have a home mooring. If this is your situation then you must register a declaration of local connection, which, when approved, will be valid for 12 months (or until you cancel it).

It's not too hard though, find your local electoral registration office via Google. You'll then need to pop along, explain your local connection and fill in a form. The ‘local connection' should be at a place you spend the most time or where you have some connection. This could be where you were last permanently registered or any boatyard or marina you regularly use for maintenance.

Be aware

Please be aware that if you're not on a mooring with full residential planning permission and already listed on the council tax register, you will most probably only be able to register to vote by either declaring homeless with local connection or by using a family or friend's residential address. Both of these options may affect your credit rating and access to financial and other services.

Once registered

If you didn't apply to vote by post, all you now need to do is turn up at your nearest polling station/

Last Edited: 27 July 2023

photo of a location on the canals
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