Can I moor a canal boat anywhere?

10th January 2024

When planning your canal boat holiday, you may have questions about mooring your boat. From identifying where you can moor a canal boat to tips on mooring safely, our guide will answer all of your questions, so you can enjoy a hassle free holiday.

Where can you moor a canal boat?

You are permitted to moor almost anywhere alongside canal towpaths, as long as you are not causing an obstruction to the waterway. Most visitor moorings on canals and rivers are governed by the Canal & River Trust, meaning they are free of charge. However, there are some that feature private mooring sites. If you plan on stopping at these sites, you will have to pay a fee to stay overnight. Some of the rivers and canals that feature private moorings, include:

What are the different types of canal moorings?

There are two main types of canal moorings:

However, for the purpose of your canal boat holiday, we will focus on Visitor moorings.

Visitor Moorings

Visitor moorings are specifically designed for short stays. However, based on the popularity of each route, mooring times can vary. Therefore, it’s important that you read all signage carefully, as short-stay moorings can range from as little as 4hrs up to 14 days.

However long you intend to moor, it’s important to always consider other canal users. So, here are some simple tips for mooring etiquette:

How long can you stay at a short-stay mooring?

As mentioned previously, each mooring site is different. However, visitor moorings offer the following durations:

How much does it cost to moor a canal boat?

Canal boat mooring is usually free. However, you will have to pay a fee if you want to moor your boat on a privately owned site or extend your stay at a visitor mooring site.

Can you book a short stay mooring in advance?

Typically, most parts of the UK don’t offer bookings for their visitor moorings, as they are free of charge and on a first-come-first-served basis. However, you can pre-book moorings in Central London for £25 a night.

How do you moor a canal boat?

  1. Once you're a short distance from your upcoming mooring,beginapproaching slowly,directing the front of the boat towards the bank. The aim is to stop the boat as it hits the bank.
  2. The crew should then hop ashore, carrying the canal boat mooring ropes.
  3. Using your mooring ropes, begin tyingyour boatto the bank from the front and the back. Often, mooring sites will have bollards or rings you can tie up to. Simply, run your ropes at about 45 degrees from your boat, and then loop them back onto the boat to tie securely.

    Where shouldn’t I moor my canal boat?



For additional help and guidance on where to moor your canal boat, read our boaters guide - a full manual featuring mooring tips and more.

Ready to embark on your next adventure on the waterways? Explore our routes today! Or contact our team for more information.   



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