Preparing for Winter

Boating in winter can be a challenging time, particularly for those with less experience of a hard winter on the water. In particular, live-aboard boating can be difficult & testing during the harsher months. The RBOA's website holds a wealth of useful tips for living onboard during the winter time, and you can also look at the Trust's own comprehensive tips for winter cruising, living, and essential boat maintenance.


How could my mooring be affected by harsher weather?


Frozen water pipes

Generally, we're not able to action any work to unfreeze pipes. In these kinds of conditions, it's not usually feasible and would be unlikely to give any kind of long-term solution. If a water outlet has burst and is leaking running water, we'll attend to make repairs within the conditions presented.


Salt and/or grit

Where a supply is provided at the site, boaters may spread it at their own risk. Canal & River Trust staff will not be able to spread grit on a customer’s behalf.  Local guidance relating to gritting in high profile areas should be adhered to at all times, this would not normally include mooring sites.


Pump Out

During the winter months, it's important to determine whether pump out issues are caused by a break down, or if the unit is simply frozen.  If frozen, then the only option is to wait for it to thaw out.  For a broken or defective pump out, our first response is to try and fix the unit.  If the problem gets critical because boaters have not had access to sewage disposal for around 6 days or more, please contact us. We'll then review arrangements to assess what can be achieved within the conditions presented.


SMART Bollards or electrical problems

For problems with SMART bollards or electrical outages, please contact us in the first instance. Most outages have simple solutions, and can be rectified by resetting the bollard trip switch, or by our Support team who can view the system, identify any obvious causes and reconnect the supply remotely. Where the outage is caused by a hardware or other physical problem, we will endeavour to repair electrical supplies where possible within the conditions presented.

Do also read through our useful guide to the Meter Macs bollards, which outlines common problems and how you can easily fix them:



If the unit is blocked or frozen then it should be not be used until it has thawed.  Please do not use blocked or frozen Elsan points, this will only lengthen the time the unit is out of order.  An alternative location should be found, these can be found on the Trust’s website here.


Other shared areas on site

Please act responsibly and considerately towards others, being mindful of things that could be more of a hazard during the colder months.  For example, after using water taps be sure that you have closed them off fully, to avoid ice forming on paths. 


Finally, adverse weather conditions at this time of year inevitably mean the potential for issues on site that we might need to contact you about. For example, if you're away from your boat and we spot something that needs your attention - perhaps simply an unsecured window, or something as urgent as a listing vessel. In those situations, it's vital that we hold accurate contact details for you, so that we can get in touch with you quickly. Please do take the time to log into your account and check that your details are up to date.