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Boston Black Sluice, Black Sluice Navigation

Accessible to all craft kept on the connected inland waterways

Silver Propeller Challenge



Visit Black Sluice Navigation by boat or canoe.

It has been chosen as a Silver Propeller location as the Navigation is very little used.  A picture of your boat anywhere on the Navigation would be good proof of a visit, but we suggest the mooring pontoon at Hubberts Bridge is an easy location to take a photo. 

Complete our challenge by visiting 20 locations from our list, you will receive our exclusive plaque and goody bag.


About Black Sluice Drain

The Black Sluice Navigation is on the South Forty Foot Drain, an artificial drainage river in Lincolnshire. Unused for nearly 40 years, it was restored by the Environment Agency with funding from Lincolnshire County Council and re-opened in 2009.  It’s a typical Fen drain, providing 19 miles (31km) of navigation to the west of Boston in Lincolnshire.

The first lock here was part of the first attempt by the Earl of Lindsey to drain the surrounding levels in 1635. It is thought that the name derives from the battle that destroyed the original sluice. The current structure dates from 2008 and was built as part of the Fens Waterways Link scheme.  The intention is to link the South Forty Foot Drain to the River Glen as part of establishing a navigable link between Boston and Peterborough.  Beyond Donnington Bridge, access is only possible for small unpowered boats, such as canoes and kayaks. This is due to restricted water depth, headroom, width and environmental considerations.

[The photo shows boats in the lock at the official re-opening in 2009]

Notes for visitors


Postcode: PE21 7RB

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Boat Dimensions

The maximum size of boat that can pass through Black Sluice Lock is:

  • Length: 21 metres (70 feet)
  • Width: 6 metres (20 feet)
  • Draft: normal water depth in the lock is 2.80 metres (9 feet), however this will vary with the tides

Headroom in the lock isn’t restricted but when passing from Black Sluice Lock into the navigation you pass under London Road Bridge. This arched bridge has headroom from around 1.7m to 3.4m (11ft).


An Environment Agency licence is required; either a day-pass or a 7-day visitor licence and a key is needed to use the moorings. To enter the Black Sluice Navigation you need to pass through the Black Sluice Lock. It isn’t permanently staffed and needs to be booked at least 24 hours in advance.

Please call the Black Sluice booking line on 01522 785 041 to book (open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).  The lock connects the Black Sluice Navigation with the tidal Boston Haven approximately a mile below Boston Grand Sluice (operated by Canal & River Trust).

Canoeing, Trailable Boats and Trip Boats

Canoeing is encouraged on the Black Sluice Drain with an Environment Agency licence or British Canoeing membership.

Trailable boats can be launched on the slipway at Hubberts Bridge where there is a mooring pontoon, water, etc.

There are no trip boats or hire boats on the waterway or nearby.

Challenge Location

Boston Black Sluice

Black Sluice Navigation

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