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

Mooring rules

With around 35,000 boats sharing 2,000 miles of canals and rivers, some rules to fairly share the space are helpful.

Please respect the time limits!

Your boat's licence includes permission to tie up for short periods along the towpath when you take a break from cruising. A short period means up to 14 days, or less if there's a sign along the bank indicating something different.  

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 are only viable because of the numbers of leisure boaters, who in turn depend on being able to tie up for short periods to go ashore.

So, if you need to stay in a particular area for an extended period, please be sensitive to other boaters' short term mooring needs and if necessary, seek out a home mooring.

We employ enforcement officers and field staff to check the waterways regularly for unlicensed boats and to monitor use of towpath moorings. You can expect to receive official warnings if you stay too long in a particular place, especially if it’s a designated visitor mooring. 

Ultimately, if you refuse to move on, you can expect tough action which could result in your boat being removed from the waterway.

Be considerate 

We don’t like having to take costly enforcement action, so please be considerate to other boaters by following the rules. If everyone does this, we could reduce expenditure on enforcement work and spend more on keeping the waterways in good condition.   

Mooring up at water points, refuse and sewage disposal points is strictly limited to the time it takes to use the facility - please keep the space free for other boaters needing to use them too.

Occasionally short stretches may be reserved for long-term permit holders. These are signed so you need to avoid tying up within the signed length.

If your boat doesn't have a home mooring, and you've chosen to purchase your licence on a 'continuously cruising' basis, you are expected to do just that. There is special mooring guidance that sets out the extent of cruising that is required.

Changes to conditions for trade boats at visitor moorings
Important information for trade boats about changes to stay times on 2 day/48 hour visitor moorings visitor moorings taking effect from Tuesday 1 September 2015.

Last date edited: 28 August 2015