Boats moored at Camden, Regent's Canal (Garry Knight)

You have the best part of 2,000 miles of potential mooring space across Britain.  In general, you can moor anywhere on the towpath, but are some exceptions:

  • No mooring on bends, near bridges, at lock landings etc.
  • No mooring at water points (and similar places).
  • No mooring where it would make the navigation too narrow to allow two widebeam boats (each 14' wide) to pass easily.
  • No mooring when you've already moored on the same stretch of canal recently (see the article about when to move on).

You also can't moor up if doing so means driving mooring pins into the coping stones on the towpath as this causes damage.

Can I moor alongside another boat?

Yes, if the owner of the other boat doesn't mind. We all have to share the space and in popular spots this might mean mooring alongside another boat. It's considered good form to let others moor next to you and in busy places almost everyone is ok with this. It's bad form to buy a 70-foot widebeam and dangle a 'no mooring alongside' sign in your window.

If you moor alongside, say hello or leave a note. You'll often find that your neighbour is happy to keep an eye on your boat when you're out.

When mooring alongside another boat:

  • Moor stern-to-stern if you can, but it isn't always possible.
  • If the other boat is using mooring pins, don't just tie onto their boat - you have to bash your own mooring pins in too. If you don't, they might leave, taking their mooring pins with them, and you'll quite justifiably float over a weir.
  • If they are mooring using rings then you can just tie up to their boat, but don't attach anything to potentially-fragile bits, such as a handrail or vent, because they're not designed to hold the weight of another boat.
  • It's your job to make sure there are fenders to stop the boats clunking together like clumsy lovers in the middle of the night.

Can I moor three or four abreast?

There's no rule saying you can't, but if it narrows the available navigation to less than 10m then you'll probably be asked to move on. (This bit specially for geeky folk: the 10m rule doesn't include water too shallow for a boat to pass, so in practice 10m of navigation might mean 12m or 14m of water.)

Even when the waterway is wide enough, mooring three or four abreast is not a good look as it starts to turn the canal into a shanty town.

How long can I stay?

Usually two weeks. Don't get too comfortable. See the article about when to move on. Moving on is half the fun.