Canal & River Trust’s English waterways to reopen in three phases

The Canal & River Trust has announced the phased reopening of navigation to private boating across its waterways in England.

Private boaters may undertake short boating trips – avoiding the use of locks and any staff-operated structures if possible – providing, as per current Government guidance, they do not stay away from home overnight and return to their home mooring (where they have one).

From Saturday 23 May, mooring exemptions will come to an end and the Trust’s guidance for continuous cruisers comes back in to force. This doesn’t mean that every boat without a home mooring needs to move on this day, just that the Trust expects it to move off its current mooring within 14 days (i.e. by 6 June). Boaters in a high-risk group who need to continue to shield or self-isolate can agree special arrangements with their licence support officer if they haven’t already done so.

From Monday 1 June, the Trust anticipates that its navigations will re-open in full, subject to some local exceptions, making longer journeys possible.

According to current Government guidance, those who do not live aboard should not stay overnight. The Trust is seeking further clarification as to whether overnight stays will be permissible once full navigation resumes.

Richard Parry, Chief Executive of the Canal & River Trust, says: “I am delighted that government has enabled us to announce plans to start to get boating back to normal across English waterways. We ask customers to make just short, local trips from today, with full navigation restored from 1 June, as it will take time to get the entire network fully operational, and booking for some passages and services will be required. Some sections may be closed for a longer period and our website will be kept up to date with the latest information and advice. Please remember that social distancing continues to be maintained, with only members of your household able to go aboard your boat until further notice.”

Boats on Welsh canals must follow the latest advice in Wales, which may be different from above.

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