Our response to coronavirus

In these unprecedented times, our priority continues to be supporting the national effort to keep people safe. We’re following the government’s advice and taking the appropriate action so that everyone who visits, or lives on or around, our canals and river navigations is able to safely enjoy their time by the water.

Update regarding our response in Leicester – What you need to know

If you are from or around the area of Leicester, please read our latest guidance on local lockdowns.

Government guidence in Wales

If you live in Wales, please read the full goverment guidence on exercise and being outdoors.

Using the waterways and boating

The majority of our navigations are now open, with a few exceptions. Some staff-operated structures need advance booking, while other locks remain closed, with small periods of time allocated for boat movements. All are listed in our stoppage notices.

In line with the latest government advice for England issued (23 June 2020), we are pleased to say that from Saturday 4 July 2020 boaters in England, with some local exceptions, can stay overnight on their boats and take extended cruises. Holiday hire boat companies will also be able to freely operate, taking precautions around safe practise, such as extra cleaning.    

This means the waterways in England will be open from 4 July for boating, angling and paddle sports. Our towpaths remain open for people to enjoy exercise and being in the outdoors, close to nature.

Please note that, where the government has introduced local lockdowns, we are reinstating lockdown rules for boating. Read our latest guidance on the local lockdowns.

In Wales, the restrictions on staying local will be lifted on 6 July, if conditions allow. A range of options for the reopening of self-contained holiday accommodation, such as boats, will be considered in a review on 9 July.

We’ve answered a whole host of questions about how coronavirus is affecting the waterways and boating which you might want to read.

Sign up to Boaters’ Update and our stoppage notifications to get updates.

Using the towpaths

Our towpaths are open for you to exercise and be outdoors, closer to nature.

You can enjoy the canals while following the updated advice around social distancing, keeping at least one metre from both other people and moored boats where people may be living aboard (two metres in Wales).

Please note that, where the government has introduced local lockdowns, we are reinstating lockdown rules for towpath use. Read our latest guidance on the local lockdowns.

When on the towpath, please move aside to allow others to pass safely, using the full width of the path. If you are a cyclist, please remember that pedestrians always have priority, so take it steady and be ready to slow down to give way to others, including those by their boats or fishing. You may want to consider using an alternative route away from the towpath for your exercise if you want to avoid other people.

We continue to remind people to act with consideration and respect for others.

We will keep the situation under active review and update you in line with changing circumstances and Government guidance.

Please be aware that government guidance on exercise and being outdoors in Wales and England may be different. We strongly advise that you regularly check the relevant government’s website for the latest information.

Last date edited: 1 July 2020