A Quick Guide To Choosing A Boat Mooring

The opportunity to experience the diverse range of wonderful UK waterways from the comfort of your boat with family and friends is certainly one of the biggest draws to owning a boat.

There are lots of considerations and responsibilities which come with owning a boat, which makes the time spent researching everything that comes with purchasing and possessing a boat extremely vital.

Along with obtaining a boat license and carrying out general boat maintenance, one important factor to consider is ensuring that you choose a suitable boat mooring.

Whether you’ll be frequently travelling on your boat throughout the summer months, or are looking for a convenient location to moor your vessel over the winter, there are a few different options to consider, so it’s important that you know what you’re looking for.

Long term vs. short term moorings

There are two main options to consider when it comes to choosing a suitable mooring; long term and short term.

Long term

Long term moorings, also known as home moorings or permanent moorings, are used to moor boats which are not being used for longer periods of time.

Unless you’re planning to continually be on the move on your boat, you will need to ensure that you have secured a home mooring.

Agreements between the boat owner and land owner or mooring operator must be secured which usually includes a fee.


Remember, though, when the term ‘land’ is used, this, of course, refers to the water on which the boat is situated as well as the land alongside the boat. This means that for vessels to be moored alongside the waterway, permission from the adjacent landowner will need to be granted as stressed by Canal & River Trust.

As most agreements tend to last up to twelve months or even longer, it’s important that you ensure that a long-term mooring is suitable for your requirements.

Long term mooring may be popular for three different forms of moorings. This may include leisure moorings, should the vessel be used for recreational purposes, residential moorings, in which permission has been granted for the owner to use the boat as their primary form of residence and trade moorings.

Short term

Should you be looking to moor your boat for a much shorter period of time as you will be moving the vessel much more frequently, you may find a short term mooring agreement to be more convenient.

Generally speaking, short-term agreements for one place at a time last up to fourteen days. It’s always best to double check the exact duration of the agreement should it be shorter than fourteen days due to the high popularity of particular locations.

The site will usually clearly signpost the duration of mooring if it’s in place all year round. If an indication of the mooring duration is not provided on the site, by default, this will last for 14 days during the winter.

Visitor moorings are one example of short term moorings. These banks are designated for visitors who are staying for less than 14 days and tend to be located at some of the more popular areas.

Short term moorings may also include service moorings which are located adjacent to water, sewage and refusal disposal points, and can only be moored when the facilities are in use.

Casual mooring is another form of boat mooring which located along a towpath and could also be situated along a visitor mooring.

When looking for a suitable short term location to moor your vessel, as riverbanks and ‘non-towpath side of canals’ can often be privately owned, it’s safest to moor on signed visitor mooring sites or alongside the towpath.


Additional advice 

We spoke to P&A French Moorings who suggested that doing plenty of research into different moorings and ensuring that the agreement fits your requirements is vital when choosing the right mooring.

They said that “we understand that selecting the correct mooring for your boat is important, that’s why we offer a variety of mooring options including summer rental, winter rental and short lets.”

For more assistance in choosing your boat mooring, The Inland Waterways Association highlight some more useful tips to help ensure that your mooring selection is the right one.

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