Coronoavirus and Boating Update from C&RT , 11 May 2020 and 12 May 2020

Following the Prime Minister’s Announcement on 10th March 2020, the Canal & River Trust have updated their guidance on canal and towpath use, firstly on 11 May 2020, as below:

“With the Government announcing a first step in lifting restrictions on outdoor activities, and allowing people to drive to spend time outdoors with members of the same household, from Wednesday, the Trust is lifting any remaining restrictions on boat owners visiting their boats though the Trust advises against travelling long distances unless it is essential to do so. At this stage we continue to advise that boats should only be used for minimal travel. Angling and watersports (canoeing, Kayaking and SUP), for exercise, can also resume on Wednesday and we are reviewing when we can restore navigation in light of the new government advice.

In the meantime, mooring exemptions are extended by a further two weeks until 23 May.”

and then further on 12 May 2020, as below:

The Government has now set out some detail about the first stages of easing the current Coronavirus lockdown. These first steps come in to force tomorrow (Weds 13 May).

With a view to boating, your two main questions are likely to be: Can I visit my boat? And, can I go for a cruise on my boat? These are both covered below.

Can I visit my boat?
The latest government guidance states that ‘Day trips to outdoor open space, in a private vehicle, are permitted… irrespective of distance. You should practise social distancing from other people outside your household.’

Our interpretation of this is that you can now visit your boat – provided both you and your boat are in England. Clearly you will have to confirm that your mooring provider has opened the site where your boat is moored and that you can access it safely. Alternatively, they may be able to carry out checks on your behalf if they are continuing to restrict access.

In Wales, separate rules apply which mean you cannot visit your boat.

Overnight stays are not permitted. Hence the Trust advises against travelling long distances to visit your boat.

Can I go out on my boat for a cruise?
No. Boat movement is currently restricted; only those living on their boat can make short essential trips to facilities or services – as set out on our website.

We are currently reviewing when navigation might re-open, in conjunction with other navigation authorities, and hope to make a further announcement over the next few days about our plans for reopening canals and rivers for navigation.

As always, please follow the latest Government’s advice.

We are constantly reviewing our own guidance in light of Government updates so do please regularly check our website.”