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Boat trips

Step on board one of our trip boats and enjoy a cruise along the glorious Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation in Essex with Chelmer Cruises. The Navigation offers nearly 14 miles of waterway to explore. We have a base at Paper Mill Lock approximately midway along the Navigation allowing trips in either direction, and another at Heybridge Basin.

Much of our wonderful waterway runs through tranquil Essex countryside, and is the perfect place for an afternoon or evening cruise.  Charter a boat for your outing or celebration or turn up and buy a ticket for your leisurely cruise.

Charter trips

Charter trips can be arranged for any day of the week with timings to suit hirers. The minimum period is 2 hours. All vessels are wheelchair and push-chair friendly, and we can provide food and drinks on board.

Find out more about hiring our boats for group outings and celebrations.

Ticket boat trips

Ticket boat trips run from two locations along the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation.  Hop on a boat at Paper Mill Lock or Heybridge Basin any day between Good Friday and the end of September.  All trips are wheelchair and pushchair friendly, and depart every hour, on the hour, from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.  There is also a new trip boat based in Chelmsford City Centre that operates or the rivers Chelmer and Can at weekends and school holidays.

Find out more about our ticket boat trips.

Our boats


Up to 43 Guests

Victoria is perfect for wedding receptions, celebrations and group outings. The boat can accommodate up to 36 guests seated for food or 43 standing and includes a qualified skipper and crew. Our licensed bar also serves hot and cold drinks. Trips depart from Paper Mill Lock.


Up to 12 Guests

Albert is a 13.7m narrowboat, ideal for families and groups of up to 12 people and includes a trained skipper (with crew if necessary) and normally operates from Paper Mill Lock.

Blackwater Dawn

Up to 12 Guests

Blackwater Dawn is a widebeam trip boat for up to 12 people with an open forward seating area. Normally operating daily ticket trips from Daisy Meadow Car Park at Heybridge Basin, from Easter until the end of September. Also available for charter bookings and early evening hire.

City Boat

Up to 12 guests

City Boat is Dutch-manufactured polyethylene boat that is reputed to be virtually unsinkable and is designed for recreational trips.  It has an electric outboard and low headroom so we can under the low bridges across Chelmsford City’s rivers.  The boat has been sponsored by Chelmsford Business Improvement District to provide some additional life and colour to the city centre, and offers the opportunity to view the central area from a new perspective.  Trips run on weekends and school holidays until September.


Essex Rivers LEADER Grant

Essex Waterways acquired the 48-passenger, 57’ wide-beam boat in 2017 with the aid of a grant of just over £30,000 from European LEADER Funds via The Rural Community Council of Essex.

The funding came from European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.