Stop Boat Licence Discrimination!

Fight Canal & River Trust’s divisive boat licence fee hikes! Canal & River Trust (CRT), which manages most of the inland waterways in England and Wales, is marginalising itinerant boat dwellers by imposing a ‘surcharge’ on boaters for not having a home mooring. CRT is trying to destroy our nomadic way of life. Let’s come together to oppose this surcharge on our community!

Have you ever been charged a fee for not having something? CRT announced on 19th September 2023 that from 1st April 2024 it will impose an escalating surcharge over 4 years on the licence fees of boats without a permanent mooring, and increased surcharges for wide-beam boats. This is on top of above-inflation increases to all boat licence fees over the next 4 years, starting with a 6% increase in April 2024. Section 17 of the British Waterways Act 1995 makes it clear that the licence to use the waterways can be held either with or without a permanent mooring.

CRT has already raised boat licence fees by 8% in 2022 and 9% in 2023. The 6% increase and surcharges are on top of that already vastly inflated sum. Taking the escalating surcharges together with annual above-inflation increases, we estimate that by 2028, the licence for a narrowboat will cost 64% more, and for a wide-beam 130% more, if they don’t have a permanent mooring. We think this surcharge is unfair. It penalises a minority in favour of the majority. We are only 20% of the boats, yet Canal & River Trust want us to pay a surcharge to keep fees down for the majority of licence payers.

The surcharge is a direct attack on our nomadic way of life, designed to pressurise us to move off the water. It will generate 0.6% of CRTs total income. CRT says it aims to “balance pricing and affordability” in a way which is “fair” to all boaters. It would be much fairer to add another 1% to all 35,000 licences, instead of picking on a minority of 7,000 boats. The surcharge is not about raising finance, it’s about marginalising our community.

So, what can I do about it? Sign our petition! Write to your MP! Help with leafleting at CRT stalls! Make a donation!

Join the campaign – contact or 0118 321 4128 or

Here’s what you can do to help…

Petition against the surcharge, please sign and share!

Join us in protest and engagement against the surcharge at CRT events and stalls!

Please write to your MP to stop the discriminatory surcharge

We will keep fighting the discriminatory licence fee ‘surcharge’

Easter Regatta in the face of the surcharge

Boaters protest march in Birmingham against the surcharge