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.
Licence it online
You can buy and renew your boat licence online quickly and easily
If you have a boat that will spend time on one of our waterways then you will need to buy it a licence.
The definition of ‘waterway’ includes the great majority of long-term mooring sites and marinas, so your boat needs a licence whether or not you actually take it out for a cruise.
If your boat is very small (such as a canoe or rowing boat) and you only put it into the waterway for occasional trips, a short-term visitor licence will be enough.
If you intend to use the boat commercially, you need a business licence.
All licences allow you to use your boat on waters managed by us, including mooring for short periods while cruising. This means you can stay up to 14 days or less, but keep an eye out for signs because you’ll need to move on sooner at some more popular sites.
If you renew your boat licence before it expires, you can take advantage of a 10% discount on the standard fee. To qualify we must receive your payment and correctly completed application before the start date of the licence.
The normal, undiscounted licence fee applies in all other cases. A Late Payment charge of £150 also becomes due if the boat stays unlicensed on Trust waters for more than a month – this is a fair reflection of the extra costs we incur in collecting overdue fees.
Waterway users’ safety is very important to us, this is why your boat will have to comply with our Standards for Boat Construction – there are a few exemptions but this only applies to a small minority of boats. Read on for more information.
As a boat licence holder, you are responsible for any injury or damage caused by you or the boat. Find out more about boat insurance.
Your boat needs the boat-equivalent of a MOT known as a Boat Safety Certificate (BSC). These are issued by the Boat Safety Scheme, who can put you in touch with your local examiner.
There is a legal requirement for boats to comply with the Canal & River Trust's Standards for Boat Construction. You are responsible for making sure that your boat is maintained so that it complies with the required standards at all times.
If your boat does not carry any gas or fuel, has no electrical circuits and no domestic cooking, heating, refrigeration or lighting appliances, it might be exempt from the requirement to produce evidence of compliance. Use this chart to determine whether your boat is exempt from this evidence requirement.
If your boat is exempt you will need to tick the appropriate box on your licence application form.
The boat must have a home mooring (as defined in the Licence Terms and Conditions) - somewhere you can lawfully leave your boat when it is not being used for cruising. The only exception is for boaters who declare themselves as 'continuous cruisers' - more information can be found in the Terms & Conditions.
Last date edited: 26 September 2017