Continuous cruising

You don’t have to have a long term home mooring to enjoy our canals and rivers on your boat. But as a ‘continuous cruiser’ you must have a long term boat licence.

Canal boats

Continuous cruisers are a big part of the draw to our waterways. They bring a sense of vibrancy to our canals and rivers, as well as more tangible things such as improved towpath security and they’re often the first to spot any maintenance issues.

But what’s it really like?

Hard work and time consuming, almost like having two jobs if you are working. Could you honestly say you'd enjoy trudging along the towpath with firewood or trying to empty sanitary tanks when the rain is horizontal, and the wind chill is -5C, and it’s getting dark? Of course, it’s not like that every day, but you should expect as many depressingly cold, wet and grey days as well as gloriously sunny ones. It’s a more challenging lifestyle than you might first think. It needs good planning and organisation skills to keep your boat well supplied and being a practical hands-on type of person to keep it running.

What rules do I have to follow as a continuous cruiser?

Our boat licence support team monitor and assess cruising patterns of continuous cruisers. The team travel up and down our waterways monitoring which kilometre of waterway boats are on to update our record of a boat’s movements.

We review your cruising pattern midway through, and towards the end of, the licence. If you don’t meet our requirements, then we take the following steps to either get you back on the move or (as a very last resort) remove your boat from the water.

  1. If your cruising pattern hasn’t met our requirements, but indicates that with some guidance and extra effort it will, we’ll restrict your next licence to six months to give you a chance to improve. Our team can provide advice and guidance to help you meet the requirements during this six-month period. If you meet our requirements, you will be able to licence for a full year again.
  2. We may not offer the initial six-month restricted licence in cases where the cruising pattern has been particularly poor and we do not feel that sufficient improvements will be achieved. In these cases, you’ll be required to obtain a home mooring prior to being able to re license.
  3. If you continue to break the rules we might refuse a future licence unless you first obtain a home mooring. If you don’t obtain a home mooring, you’ll need to remove your boat from Trust waters.
  4. Ultimately, while we don’t like doing it, if you consistently fail to meet our requirements, you may be required to remove your boat from Trust waters. If you don’t do this when required, we will remove the boat and may seek to recover our costs from you. We don’t ever do this lightly and it’s our last resort after sending you clear written warnings. So, if you’re struggling to follow the rules, or you know a vulnerable boater who needs a little more support, call our support team.

Despite the hard work, continuous cruising can be an incredibly rewarding lifestyle. It’s your responsibility to know the rules. If you’re considering continuously cruising, please talk to your local licence support officer who’ll be happy to run through the pros and cons.

How much will my boat licence cost?

As a continuous cruiser you need to have either a six months or twelve months long term licence. To renew or buy a new licence, go to our long term licence page for everything you need to know.

What happens if I don’t follow the rules?

Our boat licence support team makes sure you do indeed continuously cruise. They travel up and down our waterways monitoring which kilometre of waterway boats are on.

If you don’t move far enough, or you stay in one place for too long, then we take the following steps to either get you back on the move or (as a very last resort) remove your boat from the water.

  1. First, we’ll restrict your licence to a trial six months to give you a chance to improve
  2. If you continue to break the rules we might refuse a future licence without a home mooring, but we’ll always contact you beforehand to discuss our reasons and concerns, and to give you as much time as possible to remedy the situation and put a supportive plan in place
  3. Ultimately, it’s important to understand that, while we don’t like doing it, if you consistently break the rules we might have to remove your boat from the water. We don’t ever do this lightly and it’s our last resort after sending you clear written warnings. So if you’re struggling to follow the rules, or you know a vulnerable boater who needs a little more support, call our support team

Despite the hard work, continuous cruising can be an incredibly rewarding lifestyle. It’s your responsibility to know the rules but, that said, if you’re considering it, talk to your local licence support officer who’ll be happy to run through the pros and cons.

Also try the Residential Boat Owners Association – they're a great source of advice and information.

Last date edited: 22 July 2022