Boat Dwellers

Support and advice for boating communities.


Conditions for Continuous Cruisers


If you live on a boat and have a continuous cruising licence, you need to follow these two rules from British Waterways:

  1. Navigation Requirement: You must be on a continuous journey around the network. Short trips in the same area do not count.
  2. 14-Day Rule: You cannot stay in the same place for more than 14 days. A “place” means a neighbourhood. In rural areas, this could be a village or hamlet. In urban areas, this could be a suburb or district.

Licensing and Legal Advice


  • For legal advice, contact the Kennet and Avon Boating Community. They can help you understand your rights, including how to defend yourself in court if your boat is removed.
  • As stated by the Canal River Trust, all boats need a licence to use canals and rivers. Decide if you need a private or business licence:
    • Private Licence: For personal use.
    • Business Licence: For boats used as floating cafes, shops, or rented homes.
    • Gold Licence: Allows use on both the Canal & River Trust network and Environment Agency waterways.

Licensing Authorities

Different waterways have different licensing authorities:

Boater Support Groups

Here are some groups offering advice and support:

  • National Bargee Travellers Association: Represents itinerant boaters | Facebook
  • London Boaters: Fights for the rights of London’s boat dwellers | Facebook
  • Kennet and Avon Canal Boaters Society: Offers advice to boaters on the Kennet and Avon | Facebook
  • National Association of Boat Owners: Represents all private boat owners in the UK | Facebook
  • Liveaboard Boaters’ Health & Wellbeing: Provides health and wellbeing advice |  Facebook
  • Urban Moorings CIC: Helps create moorings and regenerate Canalside in Wolverhampton | Facebook
  • Canal Ministries: Christian evangelists living on waterways across the UK | Facebook
Other contacts

If you would like your name adding to this list please email: [email protected]

If you are experiencing difficulties please contact the Friends, Families and Travellers helpline on 01273 234 777. We are open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4.30pm excluding bank holidays.

Correct as of April 2024.

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