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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.

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.

Sustainable Boating

We want boating on canals and rivers to be more sustainable and – even though the current overall contribution to UK carbon emissions is very small – we want to help reduce emissions on the waterways.

Waterways Heritage at Risk

Britain’s canals and rivers are a unique, living heritage. But that heritage is at risk – from urban development, lack of protection, loss of skills and knowledge and climate change.

You can help Save Waterways Heritage.

Waterway restoration

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

Love the waterways?