Continuous cruisers are a big part of the draw to our waterways. They bring a sense of vibrancy to our canals and rivers, as well as more tangible things such as improved towpath security and they're often the first to spot any maintenance issues.
But what's it really like?
Hard work and time consuming, almost like having two jobs if you are working. Could you honestly say you'd enjoy trudging along the towpath with firewood or trying to empty sanitary tanks when the rain is horizontal, and the wind chill is -5C, and it's getting dark? Of course, it's not like that every day, but you should expect as many depressingly cold, wet and grey days as well as gloriously sunny ones. It's a more challenging lifestyle than you might first think. It needs good planning and organisation skills to keep your boat well supplied and being a practical hands-on type of person to keep it running.
What rules do I have to follow as a continuous cruiser?
Our boat licence support team monitor and assess cruising patterns of continuous cruisers. The team travel up and down our waterways monitoring which kilometre of waterway boats are on to update our record of a boat's movements.
We review your cruising pattern midway through a 12 month licence, and towards the end of the licence.
If we have to contact you at the mid-point of your licence because your cruising pattern does not appear to be meeting our guidance, we will not be able to offer you a winter mooring. This is so you can maximise the available cruising time to demonstrate you can meet our guidance for boaters without a home mooring.
If at the end of the licence period you aren't meeting our requirements, then we take the following steps to either get you back on the move or (as a very last resort) remove your boat from the water.
- If your cruising pattern hasn't met our requirements, but indicates that with some guidance and extra effort it will, we'll restrict your next licence to six months to give you a chance to improve. Our team can provide advice and guidance to help you meet the requirements during this six-month period. If you meet our requirements, you will be able to licence for a full year again.
- We may not offer the initial six-month restricted licence in cases where the cruising pattern has been particularly poor and we do not feel that sufficient improvements will be achieved. In these cases, you'll be required to obtain a home mooring prior to being able to re license.
- If you continue to break the rules we might refuse a future licence unless you first obtain a home mooring. If you don't obtain a home mooring, you'll need to remove your boat from Trust waters.
- Ultimately, while we don't like doing it, if you consistently fail to meet our requirements, you may be required to remove your boat from Trust waters. If you don't do this when required, we will remove the boat and may seek to recover our costs from you. We don't ever do this lightly and it's our last resort after sending you clear written warnings. So, if you're struggling to follow the rules, or you know a vulnerable boater who needs a little more support, call our [support team](/boating/licence-your-boat/boat-licence-customer-support-team.
Despite the hard work, continuous cruising can be an incredibly rewarding lifestyle. It's your responsibility to know the rules. If you're considering continuously cruising, please talk to your local licence support officer who'll be happy to run through the pros and cons.