Our Moorings Explained

Waterside Mooring is brought to you by the Canal & River Trust, the guardian of 2,000 miles of historic waterways across England and Wales.  We provide and directly manage around 3,600 long term moorings spread across 300 sites.  This represents about 11% of moorings available across our network.

Our mooring sites comprise of those on the main lines of the canal/river which can either be next to the towpath or on the opposite bank, or they can be located ‘offline’ which includes small basins, lay-bys and marinas.  The numbers of boats at each site varies greatly from 1 to over 50. 

Berths at a Waterside Mooring are usually let for periods for 12 months or more, with the ability for customers to renew at the end of the term.  They are predominately offered for private leisure customers, although in a few locations we do provide moorings for residential use (i.e. those with formal planning consent, or long established residential use).

Mooring Types

Our customers can choose from a wide range of berths where facilities, services, location, and permitted use (i.e. residential or leisure use) will vary.  We have three Mooring Types: Premium, Standard and Basic.   


Typically fully serviced sites where facilities will include electricity, water, elsan or pump-out and refuse disposal.  Some sites may also have security, laundry facilities, storage, car parking, use of adjacent land that we own and WiFi.  Premium sites are usually located in prime mooring locations, either in, or close to, towns or cities where there is good access to public transport or established road links.  Most of our residential moorings are located in Premium sites.  These sites will typically have a weekly visit from a member of the moorings team.


Standard sites are typically located in locations where there is a hard edge river/canal wall or a pontoon is provided - usually away from the towpath.  Electricity will be provided to the site, though not necessarily to all berths and sanitary facilities will either be provided at the site or located a short distance away.  Often they will include a level of security, some car parking and/or permitted use of adjacent land that we own.  These sites will typically have a monthly visit from a member of the moorings team.


Basic moorings sites are usually located in rural areas with no (or minimal) facilities provided.   Sites are provided with either a hard or soft edge, a location sign and mooring rings/cleats.  Customers at these sites are required to cruise to the nearest sanitary facilities, which can be up to 30 minutes away.  Similarly, local amenities may be some distance by foot or by car.  Basic moorings predominantly provide for leisure use only, i.e.  customers are not allowed to use their boat as their primary residence.  These sites will typically be visited annually by a member of the moorings team.

Moorings Management

Waterside Moorings are operated by the Canal & River Trust as part of its discretionary commercial business activities.  Income earned from this part of our business contributes to the significant cost of preserving and maintaining the waterways for the benefit of the nation.

The moorings are managed by a central team, but with staff spread around the country.  Each mooring site on this website will have the name of the local mooring manager.  In addition, the team looks after applications to create single berths alongside private property, for example ‘End of Garden’ moorings.  For further details and application forms please refer to the information here. 

Mooring Allocation

In some situations we may choose to let an available mooring via an auction process, however the majority of available berths are advertised on our website for immediate allocation.  In some instances, we offer moorings for short term periods (3, 6 or 9 months).

On occasion there may be ‘Special Offer’ moorings at an individual site. In exceptional circumstances we may consider Best Offers from customers for a berth which has not yet been sold.  Please see our FAQs for a fuller explanation of the means by which we allocate available berths.

Price Setting

Like any other business, the Trust’s commercial activities need to operate within the boundaries of competition law, including the need to ensure that the prices we charge for our moorings are not anti-competitive and achieve an appropriate income.

We carry out regular price assessments which involve examining occupancy levels and an analysis of data accumulated by our mooring sales website.  We will adjust prices (both up and down) based on known demand, turnover of customers and any investment made to a site over the preceding 12 months.

Our prices reflect a site’s location, mooring classification (e.g. residential or leisure), the level of services and/or facilities and finally whether a mooring comes with any right for the customer to sell it on or not.