Do you know a vulnerable boater?

Boating can be a great lifestyle, but we know it can get tough at times. To help out, we want to put boaters in touch with the people who can help.

“Thank you so much for all the help and assistance you have offered us, we never knew that there was support we could get.”


Ultimately we want to keep our customers safe and our boating customers on the waterways, complying with their licence terms and conditions and sustaining their lifestyle. Our welfare guidance will help us put boaters who need help, in touch with the people who can help them. We hope that this will help to reduce the number of vulnerable boaters who end up receiving enforcement action.

Our welfare guidance explains how we will:

  • help customers identify and take advantage of the support available from local authorities, who have a duty of care to provide adequate services (housing, social services, benefit advice etc), and/or other support agencies
  • help colleagues identify where customers and in particular boaters may be vulnerable and where support may help prevent boaters receiving enforcement action purely because of vulnerability. It should be noted that boat removal is only ever undertaken when all other avenues have been exhausted

We'll also work with key partners, for example local health services, council departments or specialist charities, to signpost boaters to the help and advice available to them.

“You listened, offered advice and gave us time to get help, thank you to everyone that listened.”


If you’re a boater in need of help or you’re concerned about a boater who you think might be vulnerable and in need of help, please contact your local licence support officer who will try and put you in contact with someone who can help. You can also contact your local licence support officer by calling our main customer service line 0303 040 4040.

Download a PDF copy of our Welfare Guidance (Please note that this guidance is primarily aimed at assisting our staff who may come into contact with vulnerable boaters).

Download a PDF copy of our seeking advice factsheet.

Download our Equality Policy where we set out our commitment to promote equality for people with protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 and our approach to making reasonable adjustments to remove disadvantages for disabled persons in accessing and using our network.

The Canal & River Trust is committed to promoting equality for people with protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010. We have a specific process for making reasonable adjustments to our normal cruising requirements for disabled boaters. Please read our FAQs sheet for our Equality Questionnaire before downloading our Equality Questionnaire.

Last date edited: 25 May 2018