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Everything You Need To Know About Finding A Mooring For Your Boat

Whether you’re an experienced boat owner, or are perhaps a newbie just renting one out, it’s important to know all about mooring before heading out on the country’s canals and rivers.

Permanent moorings

Also known as home moorings or long term moorings, these moorings refer to the long term places where the boat ‘lives’ while it’s not being used.

All boats will require a permanent mooring unless their constantly being used. You’ll usually need to pay the landowner (bear in mind land means both wet and dry land!) or mooring operator a fee for this permission.

These agreements can vary in length but are usually either seasonal or annual.

There are a couple of different long-term mooring types to know about:

  • Leisure moorings: Moorings where the boat is being used for recreational purposes
  • Residential moorings: Moorings where the owners have the authority to use it as their primary (or sole) residence. The mooring itself may or may not include facilities and services for the residents.
  • Trade moorings: These moorings are specifically designated for operators of commercial boats. They can either be long or short term and serve to provide services to waterway visitors.

Short term moorings

These moorings are generally only allowed to be used for no longer than 14 days, although more popular moorings will likely have shorter permitted times.

These moorings generally allow longer stays during the quieter winter months.

Types of short-term moorings:

  • Short term mooring permits: These short term agreements usually last a month or two and are popular with those who perhaps are constantly on the move throughout the summer months but would rather not do so during the colder months.
  • Visitor moorings: These moorings are designated for periods of less than two weeks and are usually located at popular locations, to allow as many people to use them as possible.
  • Service Moorings: These moorings are next to facilities such as sewage and refuse disposal points and can only be used while using these facilities.

Finding your own mooring

The fee that you’ll be expected to pay for a mooring can vary quite a lot depending on the location and its popularity, so it makes sense to shop around a little.

Generally speaking, most people prefer to moor in marinas or basins which are off the main river or canal as it’s safer and more convenient.

We spoke to P&A French Moorings, based in West Mersea, Essex who said: “We definitely recommend doing your research when it comes to selecting a mooring as they facilities and prices vary a lot depending on a number of factors.

“Ultimately you want to find one that’s affordable but also that provides you with a good level of security and that isn’t too far away from local amenities and facilities.”

If you’re lucky enough to have access to a canal or riverside on your own property then you can usually moor your boat there, although you have to fill out an application form to make sure that it won’t be causing any obstruction to the waterway.

A good place to begin your search for a mooring and to find out more information is the Canal & River Trust.

Boats with moorings

It is possible to purchase a boat which already has a mooring, although mooring agreements are very rarely able to be transferred.

For this reason, if anyone you’re purchasing a boat off claims that they can offer you a mooring you should be fairly sceptical, and request some form of legal evidence that they have the right to do so.


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