The Canal & River Trust is conducting a new survey to try and find out who lives on boats moored in London and what their needs might be.

22 September

As part its London mooring strategy, the Canal & River Trust is carrying out a survey to find out who lives on London’s boats.

The charity says it wants to gain a better understanding of people living and boating on canals and rivers in the region, what they want out of boating life and how their needs can be met.

The trust says the findings will be used as a basis for proposals that will benefit boaters in London, and will help to inform the development of the London mooring strategy.

The strategy aims to address the unique challenges and opportunities of boating in the capital.

The survey results will also be shared with partners, such as local authorities, so boaters’ needs can be built into their plans.

The trust’s boating strategy & engagement manager, Matthew Symonds, said: “London’s waterways are populated by all sorts of boaters who are drawn to life afloat for a wide range of reasons.”

“While we’ve got a lot of information about the boats themselves we know far less about the people who choose to call the water ‘home’. By knowing more about the community and what’s important to them, we can make sure our plans take account of their needs. I’d like to encourage London’s boaters to get involved,” he stressed.

The survey is aimed at people living and boating on boats in the trust’s London waterway area.

Invitations by email and letter will be sent to boaters who have a registered mooring or have been sighted cruising in the London region.

Postcards about the survey will also be left on boats across London, and posters will be displayed to encourage people to complete the survey.

The online survey will be available until Friday, 21 October 2016.

The information provided is anonymous and responses cannot be traced to individuals.


14 September

The Canal and River Trust says short-stay, pre-bookable moorings are in demand from boaters visiting London.

It is now trialling pre-bookable, short-stay mooring spots at Rembrandt Gardens, where the Regent’s Canal meets the Paddington Arm.

The trust carried out a survey over the summer as part of work towards its mooring strategy for the capital.

Rembrandt Gardens

Rembrandt Gardens. Credit: Danny Robinson

It found that perceived pressure on mooring space was putting some boaters off visiting London.

Of the 27% of respondents who hadn’t visited the capital by boat, 85% said it was because they weren’t certain they’d find a place to moor.

Those who took part in the survey also wanted an increased range of mooring options, with 59% of all respondents saying they’d consider paying for a reserved mooring.

Of the 1,400 boaters surveyed, 73% had visited London by boat, of which 45% had visited in 2016 and 18% in 2015. 10% had visited before 2010.

Most visiting boaters moored on general towpath moorings (64%) or visitor moorings (63%), with 14% stopping on paid private moorings.

59% of respondents said they would consider paying for a reserved mooring, with most boaters saying they’d pay £10 a night.

Little Venice, London

The popular Little Venice in London. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

One of the most important aspects of cruising into central London was security.

Having a safe and secure place to moor was important to 92% of respondents, while having a guaranteed place to moor was important to 74%. 63% wanted to moor close to local services, attractions or transport links, while 50% thought it was important to moor close to boat facilities.

The boating strategy & engagement manager at the trust, Matthew Symonds, said he was pleased that boaters got in touch to share their views, both positive and negative, of boating in London.

“Our job is to manage the finite space on the canals so that all boaters have a fair chance of finding somewhere to moor up, and in popular places like parts of London this becomes even more important,” he explained.

“It looks like being able to guarantee a mooring spot will give many boaters peace of mind and encourage them to visit. Taking this into account we’re planning to trial pre-bookable short-stay mooring spots at Rembrandt Gardens which will begin later in the year. We will be announcing more details soon,” he continued.

Symonds said the trust had also received a lot of feedback on how to improve boating in London.

“It’s no surprise to see that boaters want to see more facilities, and we’re doing what we can to find suitable places to put them. Boaters also want to see more mooring spaces and rings and we’ve worked hard to get funding to install around 3, 500 metres of rings over the past two years, creating or improving around 195 mooring spots,” he explained.

“We will continue looking for opportunities like this. Also high on the list were requests to reduce overstaying and better enforcement of the rules. We’re going through the comments carefully and they will prove really useful in the development of our wider London mooring strategy, which seeks to meet the needs of boaters and others who enjoy these historic, popular waterways,” concluded Symonds.

The survey ran from 30 June to 26 August, 2016.

The Canal and River Trust will also be carrying out further engagement work including surveys of boaters and other stakeholders in London over the coming months to help inform the wider London mooring strategy.