Planning your boat trip

If you’re planning any kind of a trip on a boat, whether you’re a continuous cruiser, paddler or boating holiday maker, make sure your journey goes without a hitch by using our website to plan your journey.

Using our maps

You can use our interactive maps to help plan your route and find all sorts of information about the waterways. From how many locks you’ll have to pass through to the location of tunnels, visitor moorings and boating facilities such as water points.

There's also an interactive map on our Local to You page. Simply pop in the rough location of your travels (using a nearby town or postcode if you have one) and what you want to see there.

If you’re using our maps and you see a marker with a number in it, this means that there is more than one entry at this location. Either click on it to see a list or zoom in further to see the entries separately. 

If you spot any incorrect information when you're looking at our maps please use our online map correction tool to let us know about it.

Size matters: check your dimensions

HMS Deutschland in London's Docklands

It's a good idea to take a look at the dimensions of our waterways before setting off. You don’t want to try and squeeze a Dutch barge into the Huddersfield Narrow Canal because you didn’t check first!

However, waterway levels can vary greatly depending on the seasons and how much rain we’ve had so please remember our dimensions document is a rough guide only.

Canal closed: stoppages and notices

Check your route for any canal closures (known as stoppages) or restrictions, navigational advice such as lock opening times, and towpath closures before and during your travels by going to our stoppages page.

You can also sign up to get email alerts. Every time a new stoppage or advisory notice is added to the waterways you’ve selected, we’ll send you an email to tell you about it.

Winter boating trips

Much of our waterways stay open for you to cruise and use all year round. But do check our planned winter stoppages before you travel. 

Each winter, when fewer boats are moving about, we carry out essential repairs and maintenance. In many cases we need to close the waterway completely and sometimes even the towpath. But with 2,000 miles of canals and rivers, there are plenty of other routes to try if the one you were looking at is closed.

Strong stream warnings

Strong stream warnings tell you about conditions that may affect navigation, such as fast river flows or variable heights in water levels.

Lack of water

Our Drought page explains what happens to our waterways in unusually hot spells. If there are restrictions you'll be able to see where on our national drought map on these pages. You can also find out how you can help us save water in the canals while you're boating.

Book your passage online

Sign in to your boat licensing account and use the same system to book your passage through tunnels, locks or on the Anderton Boat Lift.

Boaters' Guides

The Boaters' Guides are currently being reviewed and updated and will list information we have on our facilities and stoppages.

Last date edited: 15 May 2019