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Boating on the waterways

Boating on the UK’s beautiful network of rivers and canals is enjoyed by thousands of people – as homes, holidays and workplaces.

We work hard to make sure we can pass on the UK’s invaluable waterways heritage – and the joy of messing about in boats – to future generations.

Boating Activities

Boats on the river

Buying a boat

Everything you need to know if you’re thinking of buying a boat, including types of boat, legal requirements and advice for buying a secondhand boat.

Narrowboat by bridge

Living afloat

Many people choose to live afloat on canals, rivers and coasts; either cruising continuously, permanently moored or a mix of the two. Find out everything you’ll want to consider before taking the plunge.

Cruisers on the water


Find out what boat handling training is available: the RYA Inland Waterways Helmsman Certificate and the IWA Certificate of Boat Management scheme.

Narrowboats on the waterways

Route planning

Information to help you decide which waterway route to take, including information on cruising rings and how long different routes take.

Download your free Greener Boating Guide

Want to make your boating more sustainable, but don’t know where to start? Download our Guide to Greener Boating – includes the latest on biofuels.

Waterway underfunding

Hundreds of miles of waterways – along with their unique heritage and habitats – are currently starved of funding and rely on constant lobbying by us to safeguard their future.

Waterway restoration

Restoring the UK’s blue infrastructure – our inherited network of navigable canals and rivers – is good for people and places.

Waterway businesses

The government needs to intervene at the earliest possible opportunity to save this vital sector of the British economy and what could be a core element of the British stay-at-home leisure and holiday sectors in the coming years.

Waterways affected by HS2

We’re campaigning to protect canals and rivers from the damaging effects of HS2, especially where the tranquillity of the waterways is under threat.

Love the waterways?