Wednesday 9 November 2011

Boats Without a Home Mooring

Boat 'parked' on double yellow lines.
Following my previous blog post outlining some basic information about living aboard and continuous cruising, British Waterways has since updated their guidelines for boats without a home mooring. The previous guidance was first published in 2004. However, Bristol County Court recently decided that in the case of British Waterways v Davies, moving up and down within a 10 mile stretch of the Kennet & Avon Canal without a home mooring could not be described as 'bona fide navigation' (a phrase from the 1995 BW Act, meaning in good faith.)

The new guidelines were created after consultation with waterways user groups such as the National Association of Boat Owners. They were published on 12th October 2011 and define more clearly what is meant by bona fide navigation and seek to ensure that enough temporary moorings are readily available for all cruising boats.

The new guidance states that,

“Subject to stops of permitted duration, those using a boat licensed for continuous cruising must genuinely be moving, in passage or in transit throughout the period of the licence...

Importantly, short trips within the same neighbourhood, and shuttling backwards and forwards along a small part of the network do NOT meet the legal requirement for navigation throughout the period of the licence.”

Complying with these guidelines is one of the terms and conditions of purchasing a licence to continuously cruise.

BW has also clarified that “Place in this context means a neighbourhood or locality, NOT simply a particular mooring site or position.” Circumstances where it is reasonable to stay in one neighbourhood for longer than 14 days are where further movement is prevented by events such as temporary mechanical breakdown, emergency navigation stoppage, impassable ice or serious illness.

Critics of the new guidelines have voiced concerns about whether the regulations will be adequately policed and enforced by BW officers. While some boaters believe that the same boats appear to repeatedly occupy the same visitor moorings, some live-aboard boaters feel that their way of life is being persecuted and that there are not enough visitor moorings available in some areas, even when one is genuinely cruising (moving every fourteen days). Some boaters do wish to find a permanent residential mooring but BW admits that these are currently in short supply. BW has welcomed the announcement in August by the Housing Minister Grant Shapps which provided an incentive to local authorities to grant more consents for residential moorings.

If you're looking for a second-hand narrowboat or barge to buy in London, Hertfordshire or the surrounding areas Boatshed Grand Union has plenty of boats for sale that are ideally suited to continuous cruising.

If you do require a mooring BW moorings can be found at

There is further information on mooring and continuous cruising at

Disclosure: I wrote this post for the Boatshed Grand Union blog.

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