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Survey shows demand for pre-bookable moorings as an option in London

Over the summer we carried out a survey to gauge the level of demand for boaters wanting to visit London’s bustling waterways together with their interest in being able to pre-book a short-stay mooring ahead of their arrival.

Boats moored in basin with London Docklands in background

We have now collated the 1,400 responses and will be using the results to inform its mooring strategy for the capital.

The survey showed that perceived pressure on mooring space was putting some boaters off visiting London. Of the 27% of respondents who hadn't visited the capital by boat, 85% said it was because they weren't certain they'd find a place to moor. There was appetite for an increased range of mooring options, with 59% of all respondents saying they'd consider paying for a reserved mooring.

The results showed:

  • 73% had visited London by boat, of which 45% had visited in 2016 and 18% in 2015. 10% had visited before 2010.
  • most visiting boaters moored on general towpath moorings (64%) or visitor moorings (63%), with 14% stopping on paid private moorings.
  • 59% of respondents said they would consider paying for a reserved mooring, with most boaters saying they'd pay £10 a night.
  • when thinking of cruising into central London, having a safe and secure place to moor was important to 92%, while having a guaranteed place to moor was important to 74%. 63% wanted to moor close to local services, attractions or transport links while 50% thought it was important to moor close to boat facilities.

A great response

Matthew Symonds, boating strategy & engagement manager at the Trust, said: "We've had a great response to the survey and I'm pleased that boaters have got in touch to share their views, both positive and negative, of boating in the capital. Our job is to manage the finite space on the canals so that all boaters have a fair chance of finding somewhere to moor up, and in popular places like parts of London this becomes even more important. It looks like being able to guarantee a mooring spot will give many boaters peace of mind and encourage them to visit. Taking this into account we're planning to trial pre-bookable short-stay mooring spots at Rembrandt Gardens which will begin later in the year. We will be announcing more details soon.

"We've also had a lot of feedback on how we can improve boating in London, and I'd like to thank the 923 boaters who shared their thoughts. It's no surprise to see that boaters want to see more facilities, and we're doing what we can to find suitable places to put them. Boaters also want to see more mooring spaces and rings and we've worked hard to get funding to install around 3,500m of rings over the past two years, creating or improving around 195 mooring spots. We will continue looking for opportunities like this. Also high on the list were requests to reduce overstaying and better enforcement of the rules. We're going through the comments carefully and they will prove really useful in the development of our wider London mooring strategy, which seeks to meet the needs of boaters and others who enjoy these historic, popular waterways."

We carried out the survey between Friday 30 June and Friday 26 August 2016, and we will also be carrying out further engagement work including surveys of boaters and other stakeholders in London over the coming months to help inform the wider London mooring strategy.

Last Edited: 12 September 2016

photo of a location on the canals
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