Boat movements suspended in lockdown that may last until March 2021

Following the Government’s announcement on 4th January 2021 of a national Covid-19 lockdown in England, both Canal & River Trust (CRT) and the Environment Agency (EA) have suspended the enforcement of mooring stay times. This is also likely to apply to moorings on land owned by local authorities. We expect the other navigation authorities such as the Broads Authority and the Middle Level Commissioners to follow suit. There is already an ongoing lockdown in Wales. The Regulations governing the lockdown are in force until 31st March 2021, although the lockdown may be lifted before then.

This means that all navigation in England and Wales should be limited to essential boat movement by liveaboard boaters only. Leisure boaters should not navigate for recreation as these journeys are non-essential, and they should not stay overnight on their boat during the lockdown. Paddle sports are permitted as part of daily exercise. It is still unclear whether or not recreational angling is permitted in England; in Wales fishing is allowed as part of daily exercise as long as anglers do not drive anywhere to fish.

People who are clinically extremely vulnerable have again been advised to shield and they should receive a letter from their GP. See

If you are shielding and you need help to get essentials like food, fill your water tank etc please contact the NBTA and we may be able to put you in touch with support locally. You may also be able to get support through the Waterways Chaplaincy, see

CRT says “Those living aboard are advised to limit their navigation, moving only a minimal amount to access essential facilities or services when necessary. Please moor considerately. Boat licence terms and conditions regarding moving every 14 days will be suspended until the restrictions come to an end”.

CRT gives some examples of essential boat travel:

“If you are a live-aboard boater or are currently occupying your boat, then essential movement could be:

to access water or waste facilities
to access essential food and supplies
to access hospital, GP, and other medical appointments, or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health
for emergency mechanical service for your boat
for emergency vet treatment for your pet
for caring responsibilities”


We would also add that essential boat movement includes moving to a quieter part of the towpath for your own safety, although in winter the towpaths should be less busy.

The EA today published updated guidance for users of all its waterways, including the River Thames, Anglian waterways and the Upper Medway Navigation.


For all EA Covid-19 updates, see

See also

Avon Navigation Trust
Broads Authority
Middle Level Commissioners
Port of London Authority

There is no up to date information available on the Bridgewater Canal or River Cam Conservancy web sites.