How we monitor boat movement

How we monitor boat movements on the Trust's canal and river network

Checking boat licences Checking boat licences in Birmingham

Our process starts with our local teams patrolling the banks with hand-held computers. When our team record the location of a boat, it's recorded against a mapped kilometre of each waterway

14 days or less

All boats need to move every 14 days (or sooner if mooring signs state shorter times). Unless you're at your home mooring of course.

When boats stay longer than they’re allowed at a particular spot or area it can stop others visiting. Although, the boater may have encountered a problem which is stopping them from moving on such as a break down.

If our sightings records flag up that a boat has remained in the same general area and we are not aware of a reason why, we'll send a reminder to ask them to move on or make contact so we can find out why. If we send several reminders over time then this may prompt us to review the case and see if further action is needed.

With around 33,000 boats sharing 2,000 miles of canals and rivers, some rules to fairly share the mooring space are helpful.

“Please pass on our thanks to the officer who looks after Nantwich on the Shroppie. She has been so helpful following my husband’s accident.”


Please respect the time limits!

Your boat's licence includes permission to tie up for short periods along the towpath. These are generally:

  • 14 days
  • 7 days
  • 48 hours

Or whatever length of time the sign along the bank shows.  

One of the great things about canal boating is the ability to tie up almost anywhere. However, every boater depends on boatyard services in one form or another. These businesses depend on boats being able to tie up for short periods to go ashore.

Share the mooring space

If you need to stay somewhere longer, please be sensitive to other boaters' short term mooring needs and if necessary, seek out a home mooring. 

Tell us if you have an emergency

If you need to stay longer than the usual maximum stay time because you've broken down or some other similar emergency please contact our team as soon as possible to let us know as we may be able to arrange an extended stay.

“Just wanted to thank you so much for allowing us our overstay. I am feeling a lot better now and we moved on at the weekend but it was a much needed rest and made appointments much easier to get to at the time."


Last date edited: 4 December 2018