We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

Boaters without a home mooring: How far is far enough?

On 13 February 2015 we outlined our plans to provide greater clarity to those boaters who have stated that they will ‘continuously cruise’.

A number of boaters have asked for clarification of the legal requirement to cruise throughout the period of their licence and, in particular, what is the minimum distance that should be covered in order to comply with the Trust’s Guidance for Boaters without a Home Mooring. This page should help.

How far is far enough?

We recognise that boaters want clarity over this. However the BW Act 1995 does not stipulate a minimum distance. It does set out the requirement to use the boat bona fide for navigation, and the Trust’s Guidance is our interpretation of this requirement.

Whilst this means that we cannot set a universal minimum distance for compliance, we can advise that it is very unlikely that someone would be able to satisfy us that they have been genuinely cruising if their range of movement is less than 15-20 miles over the period of their licence. In most cases we would expect it to be greater than this.

We will be advising those boaters without a home mooring whose range of movement falls short of this distance that their movement needs to increase or we may refuse to renew their licence.  Our statutory right to refuse to renew a licence arises from section 17 of the BW Act 1995 which states that we can refuse to issue a licence if we are not satisfied that a boat either has a home mooring or intends to continuously cruise. 

Kilometre length map

When our enforcement officers record sightings they now record which kilometre of each waterway the boat is on. You can see the locations of all of our kilometre lengths by checking our bespoke map.


Last date edited: 14 October 2016