Canal & River Trust: Our response to coronavirus

In these unprecedented times, our priority is to support the national effort to keep people safe, following the Government’s advice and taking the appropriate action to protect our colleagues and partners, and everyone who visits, or lives on and around, our canals and river navigations.

*update 01/03/2021

Following the Government’s announcement on 22nd February, and the uncertainty that has overshadowed the last few months, the Trust feels the roadmap is a hugely positive development ahead of the start of the 2021 season.

Below is our roadmap guide for each of the main licence types, which should be helpful while plotting your way through what we hope is our final emergence from the pandemic.

As with the central Government messaging, all the Trust’s guidance of course remains subject to change (including change at short notice).

It’s important to view the Trust’s interpretation strictly as a guide, with a view to ultimately interpreting yourself, whether it is safe/appropriate to operate. We know how responsible our businesses are, and how resilient you have been over the course of the last year. In this road to recovery, we reiterate the importance of all businesses operating responsibly, being honest in their assessment of which category their operations/vessels fall within, and following the Government’s wider COVID principles and security measures at all times.

Please find the overarching Government roadmap on this website, for your consideration in conjunction with the Trust’s guide.

For those who have BSS, MCA, or other regulatory requirements, please remember to kindly make sure certifications are up to date before commencing operation.

Our guidance at this stage only relates to operations in England, with separate guidance from Wales expected in the near future.

COVID-19 Business Boating Roadmap 


*update 05/01/2021

Many of your questions regarding coronavirus and boating are answered on this page

Following the Government’s announcement on 4 January 2021 of a national lockdown in England, we are updating our guidance. There is an ongoing lockdown in Wales.

All navigation in England and Wales should be limited to essential use only.


We understand this continues to be a difficult time for all boating business, and as we are already doing with many of you, please don’t hesitate to speak to your Business Boating Manager or Regional Property Surveyor if you’d like to discuss your situation and options.  

Support re coronavirus

There is support from Government available for those who are experiencing financial hardship due to coronavirus.  Please refer to advice in the above document,our FAQ pages.   Also a full range of business support measures have been made available to UK businesses and employees.  HM Government Support pages helps businesses find out how to access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply.


The COVID grant survey has now closed.   You are able to view the results here:

COVID-19 Grant Poll Results



Back to Boating Guidance

British Marine, working with key businesses across the country, have created a very thorough and useful document to help you get ready and mitigate against COVID-19, particularly on hire boats. Among other benefits, British Marine provide regular updates to their members. Links to the document and membership information are here: COVID-19 Control in Hire Boats and Membership Details

In conjunction with your own procedures, the Trust is also pleased to provide an COVID-19 Boating Customer sheet for you to include with handovers or generally share in/around your business as best practice when customers use the waterways. You can download the printable PDF here.

As always, if you have any direct queries please contact your local business boating team.


British Marine are preparing a phased approach to preparing businesses for successful emergence from COVID-19 lockdown.  This includes a Back to Business Webinar and sector guidane.   Further details are available o their website


Contacting the team

If you have any concerns or queries regarding your Boating business during this period please contact a member of the Business Boating Team

Last date edited: 3 March 2021