Boating at night - what you need to know

5th October 2022

Can I drive a canal boat at night?

If you own a canal boat, it is not illegal to drive your canal boat in the dark – however, if you are renting from a canal boat supplier, such as ABC Boat Hire, these hire boats are not permitted to be driven at night.

Here at ABC Boat Hire, our boating hours are from dawn to dusk – meaning these times change throughout the year, depending on what time the sun rises and sets. We don't allow you to drive our hire boats at night because it’s harder to see obstacles and mooring stations in the dark, which can cause risk to both the safety of passengers and damage to the boats themselves.

As a canal boat owner, it is possible for you to drive your canal boat at night – however, we advise against it. There are boat lights for night driving in the form of a headlight on the front of the canal boat, but it’s often not effective at luminating the entire canal – so it becomes much more likely you’ll collide with obstacles and other boats.

Unsure how to drive a canal boat? Our detailed guide has you covered.  

Can I drive a narrowboat at night?

As with regular canal boats, if you own the boat, you can technically travel any time you want. However, it is strongly recommended you have proper lighting, and don’t travel in snow and ice.

Just like hired canal boats, you are not permitted to take hired narrowboats out after dark. This is for the very same reasons as all hired boats - it’s harder to navigate obstacles and can cause risk to the safety of passengers, as well as damaging the boats themselves.

Where can I moor up my canal boat at night?

Most moorings on canals and rivers governed by the Canal & River Trust are often free of charge. There are specially designated visitor moorings at popular places, and you can stay at these moorings for usually a maximum of 48 hours. However, it’s important to ensure you avoid mooring up next to lift bridges, blind spots and junctions. Learn more about where you can moor your canal boat from our guide.

Plan your next canal boat holiday with ABC Boat Hire

For more information about boating at night laws or driving a canal boat at night, get in touch with our expert team here at ABC Boat Hire. Alternatively, plan your next canal boat holiday now.

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