Read the story of how the Canal & River Trust came to be
Work for us
We have vacancies across all of our waterways and in the offices, museums and attractions that support them. We're one of the UK's biggest charities and we take pride in everything we do
If you're thinking of getting in touch then please take a moment to look through these pages as we probably have the answer on our website
Planning & design
All you need to know about planning and design on our canals and rivers
Find a winter mooring
Find a cosy section of canal to hunker down in this winter
10 reasons to take up canoeing
It's a great way to get fit and explore our waterways at the same time
Share the Space
Take a look at our common sense guide to sharing the towpath
Find a place to fish
From reservoirs to club-managed canals and river stretches - find your nearest place to fish
Get your free guide
Download your free guide today and start exploring the waterway nature near you
Download your free guides
You've nine free days out guides to choose from - where will you go first?
Find a walk near you
Are you ready to ramble? Find a waterside stroll or a satisfying hike along our beautiful canals and rivers
Take a look at our upcoming events here.
Find your favourite waterway
With over 95 canals, rivers, reservoirs, docks and navigations, find out more about your favourite waterway
Something for everyone
Help us make a difference and have fun along the way. Find your perfect volunteer role today
Join our team
Could you join your local Towpath Taskforce team and help us to keep our canals looking lovely?
Desmond Family Canoe Trail
If you're aged 16-25 and would like to get involved with this exciting project, please get in touch
Could you be a volunteer lock keeper?
Find out what's involved with this popular volunteering opportunity
Why we think canals are better with Friends
Become a Friend of the Canal & River Trust today and you’ll open yourself up to new experiences and endless opportunities.
We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.
Welcome to the first 2018 edition of Boaters' Update. Now that we're well and truly into the new year, this inaugural edition focuses on plans for the next 12 months. Other than that you'll find news on boat licence auto-renewal, the latest news, stoppages and events.
I appreciate that we’re already nearly halfway through January but it’s the first opportunity I’ve had to wish you Happy New Year. While some wince when contemplating the 12 months ahead most boaters I know are already studiously planning which cruises to cross off their bucket list this year because they know life is better by water.
In a similar way, I’m using the first article to ask what you’d like me to plan in for the 25 editions of Boaters’ Update you’ll be receiving in 2018. Aside from that there’s a collection of your frequently asked questions, a reminder about boat licence auto-renewals and the latest news, events, and stoppages, and much more besides.
In this edition:
Over the last couple of weeks you may have heard, or seen, that:
Below I’ve picked out some highlights to see and do over the next fortnight. Of course, there are plenty of other activities and volunteering opportunities around the network: visit the events section of the website to find the perfect one for you.
‘Lottery winner donates £100million to Canal & River Trust’, ‘Manchester City capitulate on final day of season and hand league title to Huddersfield’, or even ‘Government signs off on Low Speed 1 - new canal to be built, from Lands’ End to John O’Groats’ might all be articles you, or another boater, would like to read in 2018.
While I’m reasonably sure I won’t be able to report on any of the above in the next 12 months I can, and will, cover the inland boating topics you want to read about. Of course, there’s likely to be a long list of these topics so I’m planning to start with the most suggested and work my way down.
To help inspire a thought or two I’ve listed some subjects that you might want to see covered. All you have to do is click on the relevant link below, give a little more detail about what you want to read, and then click send:
If you needed any more incentive (other than getting to read something you suggested!) then there’re five copies of the hardback edition of Timothy West’s ‘Our Great Canal Journeys’ to win – five of you who write in with suggestions will be randomly picked
It’s been a while since I’ve featured this article so I thought it’d be a useful way to start the year. These are the most common questions you’ve been asking those lovely people in our customer service team over the last month or so. Of course, do let me know if there’s a question you want answered when I next run a version of this article in February.
When can I get a Gold Licence for next year (2018)?
Gold Licences can be purchased at any time.
Can I book passages online or do I have to call to do this?
You can now book passages through Anderton Boat Lift, Standedge Tunnel and other major structures online as well as visitor moorings such as Rembrandt Gardens in London. To do this, simply log into your online account and select “Book Passage”, alternatively you can call customer services (0303 040 4040) and they can process this for you over the phone.
Are the licence fees going up next year?
Yes, licence fees will rise by 3% from 1 April 2018, roughly in line with inflation forecasts.
Is it too late to purchase a Winter Mooring?
Not at all. Winter Moorings are available until March (permits can be purchased up to the end of February). We still have spaces available. You can purchase these by logging into your online account and selecting “Winter Moorings”. Simply search your location and the nearest Winter Mooring will show.
What waterways do you cover?
Lots! We currently maintain over 2,000 miles of waterways across England and Wales. As some will know, there’re ongoing discussions about the feasibility of assuming responsibility for Environment Agency navigations, including the Thames. The best place to find out whether it’s one of ours is on our map – they’re clearly highlighted and, even better, you can zoom right in to see associated boating facilities. Which brings me on to the next frequently asked question.
Where is the nearest Elsan point or pump-out station?
As mentioned above, the best place to find this out is on the map. Besides learning where to get rid of your waste, you’ll also find details of visitor moorings, events, stoppages and winding holes and locks so it’s a great place to start when planning a cruise.
How long can my boat stay in one place?
It depends! In some popular locations we have visitor moorings ranging from 4-hour ‘stop and shop’ spots to 24 and 48 hours or 7 days so that more boaters get to enjoy that particular location. In the winter period (1 Nov – 31 Mar), these revert to a 14 day stay time unless local signs say otherwise. The general, year-round, rule is that where there are no local signs indicating a shorter mooring time then you can moor for up to 14 days. Of course, if you have a home mooring, you can leave your boat on that all year round if you really wanted to.
In the introduction I talked about making plans for the year ahead. It can be a daunting task with so many things to consider. One thing you can cross off the list is renewing your boat licence. As mentioned last May, your boat licence will be automatically renewed if you’ve stored your payment details in your licensing account when first making an application for a licence.
Amanda Crosland, business support & licensing manager, explains: “At the end of an application boaters’ have the option to store their card details. If they do, or have elected to pay by direct debit, then they’ll receive a renewal reminder six weeks before the licence is due to expire. This will confirm that the licence will auto-renew and detail how to cancel it if, for some reason, they don’t want it to. Boaters’ don’t have to wait until renewal time comes around though, they can opt in or out at any time either via their licensing account or by calling customer services on 0303 040 4040.”
It’s not just licence renewals that can be done online. You can check and edit your information to make sure everything is correct, including:
If you don’t have an online licensing account setting one up is simple. There’s also a video guide demonstrating how straightforward it is to buy your licence online. That said, if you want a helping hand, just give our friendly customer service team a buzz on 0303 040 4040 and they’ll be happy to help.
Many boaters go the extra mile in helping to keep canals and rivers in good condition by volunteering or donating. As you’re such an integral part of what makes waterways so wonderful I thought you’d like to know about other ways you can get involved:
We’re now into our £38million winter restoration programme - we get out our big toys and restore things while you’re less likely to be out on the cut. Of course, there are other times when we need to fix things that unexpectedly break. So, below, you’ll find a list, by region, of anything that’s happening that may affect you if you’re planning on wrapping up for a winter cruise.
Just click on the one where you’ll be and a webpage will open listing any stoppages for that region (if your region isn’t listed then, yay, there aren’t any navigation closures there!). If you’re not quite sure which region your planned cruise falls in to please take a look at this map.
When any restrictions to navigation happen, we get them up on to our website as soon as we can – always best to have a scan before you set off for a cruise. If you have any questions about a specific closure then you’ll find the email addresses for our regional offices on our contacts page.
Think of this blog as your one-stop shop for up-to-date boating news. It's packed full of useful information about boating on canals and rivers as well important safety announcements and upcoming events.
Sign up to receive the Boaters' Update by email