Boaters' Update 16 April 2020

This edition gives you the latest information on how the coronavirus is affecting your boating and your use of the towpath in light of the Government’s latest instructions (16 April).

Sunset on the Kennet & Avon Canal Kennet & Avon Canal

This is an update on how the coronavirus is affecting your boating and your use of the towpath in light of the Government’s latest instructions (16 April).

Please follow the government advice – stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives.

Using your boat

With Government today (16 April 2020) extending the Coronavirus lockdown period to 9 May 2020, the Canal & River Trust is accordingly extending the suspension of the normal requirement for boats to move every 14 days to 9 May.  During this period, boaters do not need to contact us to tell us they will be staying in one location for more than 14 days.

Boaters who are not currently occupying their boat must not visit or take short trips or breaks on their boat at this time.  Those living aboard are strongly advised to limit their navigation, moving only a minimal amount to access essential facilities or services when necessary – or to move along to a quieter mooring if they are finding the towpath too busy for them where they are.

We ask everyone to be considerate and make sure that vital boater facilities and services are accessible to all those that need them. 

We will be doing whatever we can to support our customers and protect the waterways so we can return to enjoying them fully when the crisis is over – including continuing to maintain essential boater facilities, with pump out cards available from our online shop, and waste collection etc.

We will keep the situation under active review and update you in line with changing circumstances and Government guidance.

To be clear, if you are not currently occupying your boat the government guidance is that you must not visit it (this means no short trips or breaks on your boat at this time).

If you are currently living on your boat, you should only move it in the following, essential, circumstances:

  • to access water or waste facilities
  • to access essential food and supplies
  • to access urgent medical treatment
  • for emergency mechanical service for your boat
  • for emergency vet treatment for your pet
  • to move to a quieter towpath nearby where it is too busy where you are

For clarity, your boat should not be used for any leisure cruising.


Using the towpath

We are continuing to put out the message that, while our towpaths remain open, use of them should be for those who are local, in support of the Government’s ‘stay at home’ campaign.

To this end, thousands of signs have been put up around the network as we continue to remind the public that towpath use should be limited. Our message to all users is to keep your distance from other people and moored boats, strictly observe social distancing at all times, and follow the latest advice from the Government. We are advising that people should not congregate, stand aside to allow others to pass when necessary, and make full use of the towpath width.

Under no circumstances should anyone place obstructions on towpaths.  If people do approach your boat, there should be no risk to you provided you stay on your boat while they pass; please do not put yourself or others at risk by confronting other people.

More detailed information on things such facilities and how to contact us can be found here.

Please follow the government advice – stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives. Thank you for your patience and forbearance and please stay safe during these unprecedented times.

Last date edited: 16 April 2020

About this blog

The boaters' update

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 as important safety announcements and upcoming events.

Sign up to receive the Boaters' update by email

See more blogs from this author