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Canal & river mooring FAQs

Everything you ever wanted to know about mooring on our canals and rivers.

Long-term mooring FAQs

I'm looking for a mooring where I can live on my boat (residential mooring)

Moorings with formal planning consent for residential use are in very short supply. Vacancies, when they become available, can attract a lot of interest and often sell for a lot of money, often as much or even more than buying a house. Residential moorings are offered around the country by a mix of private operators and navigation authorities. You'll need to do your research very carefully. Start by visiting our long-term mooring page

I'm looking for a mooring where I can leave my boat for more than two weeks when I'm not cruising (leisure mooring)

There's a wide choice of moorings available around the country from marinas with all facilities and services to simple moorings with no services or facilities at all. The choice is yours depending on where you want to be based for cruising, how long you want to stay, and the amount of money you wish to pay. Moorings in very popular areas can be expensive, especially if they are in short supply. It's worth making lots of enquiries as prices around the country can vary a lot. Start by visiting our long-term mooring page

Can I moor at the end of my garden?

You can moor a boat at the end of a canal or riverside garden as long as it is associated with a single residential property. Although, this does not apply on the Kennet & Avon Canal, and on other waterways, there may be constraints depending on the precise location. Obviously, we're not able to allow moorings that would create a safety hazard for navigating boats for example. Download the application form for more information.

How much will I pay per year for an end of garden mooring?

The price is based on the mooring fees for simple online moorings in the area supplied by us through Waterside mooring. A benchmark site is identified and a price discount applied because we provide the water space but not the land access to it or any facilities at the site. The discount is normally around 50%.

I'm looking for a commercial or trade mooring where I can run a business

If you are interested in running a business from a mooring, whether it's floating café, art gallery, cycle repair shop or floating bed & breakfast hotel you'll need to speak to our business boating team. Commercial or trade moorings may be for short or long term, depending on the nature of the agreement. Their purpose is to provide a service to waterway visitors, adding life and value to the local waterway environment. Please visit our business boating pages.

I'm looking for information about creating new long-term moorings

Anyone interested in creating new online moorings or developing a marina should visit our business boating page for more information.

Who are Waterside Mooring?

We run Waterside Mooring as part of our discretionary commercial business activities. Income earned from this part of the business contributes to the significant cost of preserving and maintaining the waterways for the benefit of the nation.

The moorings are managed by our central team, but with staff spread around the country. Each mooring site on our website will have the name of the local mooring manager. Our team looks after the applications to create single berths alongside private property, for example 'End of Garden' moorings. To find out more visit or read our Waterside mooring FAQs below.

Waterside mooring FAQs

I'd like to find a Canal & River Trust managed mooring for sale in my area but don't know where to start?

Our Waterside Mooring website has an easy search facility to help you locate your nearest long-term mooring site managed by the Canal & River Trust. All mooring sites are shown on the site and if you see one highlighted in green it means that there are currently moorings available.

Some vacant berths are available to buy online or you can ask for help from our moorings team, either over the phone or in person at one of our main offices.

Some of our moorings are offered at a fixed price where you can buy them immediately via the website. Other vacancies, particularly where they are in a location with high demand, are offered via an online auction system.

How many long-term moorings does the Trust have?

There are around 3,600 long term moorings spread across 300 sites in England and Wales. That's about 11% of moorings available across our network. Our own long term moorings are run under the name Waterside Mooring.

What type of long-term mooring do you offer?

You'll find moorings for both leisure and residential use (ie. those with formal planning consent, or long-established residential use). We also provide different grades of mooring – premium, standard, basic, which are selected on the level of facilities, mooring type and location at

Once you have a mooring you can let us know by logging onto your boat licensing account or use our form.

Where are your long-term mooring sites?

Our on-line mooring sites are those that follow the lines of the canal/river. They can either be next to the towpath or on the opposite bank. ‘Off-line' moorings are those located in small basins, lay-bys and marinas. The numbers of moored boats at sites varies greatly from 1 to over 50.

Where do I find out more about Waterside Mooring?

You'll find more frequently asked questions about our long term moorings on the Waterside Mooring website.

What is my notice period if I want to give up my Waterside Mooring?

Please complete our online cancellation form or speak to our Waterside Mooring team.

Winter moorings

When are winter moorings available?

Winter moorings are normally available from the beginning of November until mid-March. Find out more on our winter mooring page.

Where are winter moorings being offered?

You can find out about winter moorings offered by us on our winter mooring page. Many private mooring operators also offer winter moorings, please check adverts in the waterways press or pick up the phone and ask your preferred mooring operator if they have any short term vacancies.

Who can buy a winter mooring?

Both boaters with a home mooring and continuous cruisers will be able to take up a winter mooring with us. However, boaters who are not meeting their licence conditions may not be eligible.

I want to know what the terms and conditions are for winter moorings

You can find our winter mooring terms and conditions on our website.

I want to know how I buy a winter mooring

You need to be registered with us on our online boat licensing portal.

Short-stay mooring FAQS

What is a short-stay mooring?

It's a length of canal or river bank that's been set aside for mooring periods of less than 14 days. They tend to be at popular locations and time limits are designed to allow as many different boaters as possible to enjoy the use of the mooring during a cruise. Short-stay moorings are sometimes referred to as visitor moorings. Please respect the time limits and any other rules displayed or communicated to you when boating.

How long I can stay on a short-stay mooring?

Please check the signs, most short-stay moorings permit stays between 48 hours (2 days) and 7 days.

During the winter most short-stay moorings revert to 14 days from 1 November until 31st March unless signed otherwise. Please do check the signs carefully as busy short-stay moorings remain time restricted all year round.

Can I book a short-stay mooring in advance?

If you're planning a visit to central London and want certainty that you will have somewhere to moor when you arrive you can pre-book a mooring for a small charge. At the moment this service is only available in London.

Are there any site rules for short-stay?

Please be considerate to the needs of everyone. Moor up in a way that makes the best use of the available space, be prepared to shuffle up and share the space. Respect the maximum stay time, no triple mooring, no running of engines or generators before 8.00am or after 8.00pm and be mindful of smoke from stoves and exhaust fumes and noise from engines and generators, particularly in built up areas.

Some short-stay mooring sites are designated quiet zones so check the signs and some visitor mooring sites have a number of zones offering different maximum stay times. To find out more information please use the search facility on our website.

What happens if I need to stay on a short stay (visitor mooring) longer than permitted?

Extended stay charges may be payable of £25 per day for every extra day beyond the permitted stay time. Please check the signage. If you've got a good reason for overstaying such as a mechanical issue please contact our Boat Licence Customer Support Team, complete our form to request an extended stay, or call 0303 040 4040.

Are there short-stay moorings reserved for people with disabilities?

In some places, you may see a mooring bollard with a wheelchair sign indicating priority usage by people with mobility difficulties. Please be prepared to move to a different mooring if the mooring space is needed by another boat whose crew have mobility difficulties.

What are 'stop and shop' moorings?

These are ultra-short stay moorings to allow boaters to top up their supplies at the nearby shops. Please don't stay any longer than needed to do your shopping and never longer than the maximum stay time shown on the signage.

Do short-stay visitor moorings have electricity supplied?

Generally no, there are only a few short-stay moorings where power is available. At these sites the power is supplied through smart electricity bollards.

Can I fish from my boat on a short stay mooring?

You can fish as long as you have permission from the local angling club, (unless signed otherwise) or a Waterways Wanderer permit (where relevant), as well as a current rod licence from the Environment Agency, (and you do it within season if you are fishing on a river). In England and Wales you can fish generally at any time on most canals and on a river any time except close season, which is mid-March to mid-June.

Are people allowed to fish at a short stay mooring?

Yes, you can fish at visitor moorings (following guidance above), as long as there's space available and you don't obstruct or stop boats from navigating along the waterway or mooring up.

What happens if someone is fishing in the last available mooring space at the short stay mooring and I want to moor up?

If there's only one spot left on the visitor mooring and someone is fishing there, the boat wishing to moor up has priority and the angler will need to share the space and move up. If several spaces are available to moor in the visitor mooring area and there are people fishing, please share the space and pick a spot that allows them to continue to fish.

Do we have to leave a five metre gap between boats on short stay moorings to allow for fishing?

No, on visitor moorings it's about using the space economically and leaving minimal gaps and double breasting if needs be to allow the maximum number of boats to use the site. That said, on designated winter moorings we do ask boats to leave the five metre gap between boats to allow for fishing. And if you chose a casual towpath mooring, again please leave gaps large enough for people to fish, ideally five metres in length as everyone should have the chance to enjoy our waterways.

What are service moorings?

These are moorings next to water, sewage and refuse disposal points. Please only use these while you are using the facilities. In London you may find that the bollards for service moorings are painted blue and those for lock landings are painted yellow. You may also see temporary or permanent signs restricting use of a location for a specific purpose, such as a trip boat stop.

Are people allowed to fish at service moorings?

No, fishing is not allowed within 25 metres (one full length boat long) of a water point, lock landing, or moveable bridge such as a swing or lift bridge. Neither are people allowed to fish in an actual lock chamber.

What is a casual towpath mooring?

This means mooring up along the towpath during the course of a journey. It may be at a visitor mooring (subject to time limits displayed at the site) or anywhere else along the towpath where, if unsigned, the maximum stay time is 14 days.

It's usually best to moor against the towpath or on signed visitor moorings. Many riverbanks and the non-towpath side of canals are private property. If you want to find out who owns land adjacent to a canal or river you can search on the Land Registry's website.

How long can I stay on a casual towpath mooring?

Unless signed the maximum stay time is 14 days for all boats, those with a home mooring and those without a home mooring. If you've got a good reason for overstaying such as a mechanical issue please contact our Boat Licence Customer Support Team, complete our form to request an extended stay, or call 0303 040 4040.

Are there any site rules?

Please be mindful of smoke from stoves and exhaust fumes and noise from engines and generators, particularly in built up areas. You're not allowed to run your engine or generator while moored up before 8.00am or after 8.00pm, see our licence terms and conditions for more details. Please also don't moor too close to bridges, locks and winding holes (turning points) and do please leave five metre gaps between boats to facilitiate angling, unless you are on a short-stay signed visitor mooring.

What happens if I need to stay longer then permitted?

If you've broken down, have become ill or any other similar emergency please contact our Boat Licence Customer Support Team or our customer service team.

Other mooring FAQs

Can you tell me more about your equality mooring policies?

Of course. You can find this information in our Equality Policy. You can also find more information for disabled boaters here, including our equality adjustment questionnaire for boaters requesting a reasonable adjustment to the boat licence conditions.

Are you running any consultations about mooring?

You can find any live consultations currently being undertaken by us on our national consultations page and the results of any completed consultations are available online or in our document library.

Who do I contact if I want to complain about boats that have stayed too long in one place?

You can use our form. Please don't forget to tell us the index numbers and names of the overstaying boats as well as the waterway name and either a place name or nearest lock or bridge number. Boat index numbers are a bit like car registration numbers but usually start with a “1” or a “5” if 6 digits long or any number between 3 to 9 if 5 digits long.

Who do I contact if I want to complain about boats causing me a problem due to noise or smoke?

Noise and air pollution are dealt with by the Environment Team belonging to the local council. It also helps to let us know which boats are causing a problem so we can speak to the boat licence holders.

How do I report a boat that has come adrift from its mooring?

If the craft is in no immediate danger please either use our form or call us on 03030 404040. We'll need the boat index number and the location (waterway name and closest landmark). We'll then try and contact the boat's licence holder. If the boat is trapped on a weir or in a lock please call 0800 47 999 47.

Where can I find information about mooring policies?

You'll find this information on our website, but if there is something you can't find please contact us. Here are some useful links:

Mooring on Canal & River Trust Waterways

Your obligations - read our mooring booklet

If you still can't find the answer to your question, or you'd like more information, contact us either by using our form or by calling 0303 040 4040.

Last Edited: 26 March 2024

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