The Canal & River Trust is making journey-planning easier for boaters by making passage through more staffed locks and tunnels available to be booked in one place online.
Boaters are asked to book passage in advance for some tidal and river locks, lock flights, long tunnels, and other structures like Anderton Boat Lift and the Ribble Link.
While a few of these structures can already be booked online via the Trust’s online licensing portal, many others have individual, local booking processes.
From 2 November 2020, boaters will now also be able to book the following passages online: Thames Lock; Braunston Tunnel; Saddington Tunnel; Blisworth Tunnel; Boston Tidal Lock; Newlay & Kirkstall Forge Locks; Bingley Three and Five Rise Locks; and Harecastle Tunnel. They join the likes of Standedge Tunnel, Liverpool Link and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park waterways which already use the online booking system.
Before they book passage, boaters will be able to see all the information they need, including any necessary dimensions, and opening days/times.
Jon Horsfall, head of customer service support at Canal & River Trust, said: “We are pleased to be extending our online passage booking offer. We ask boaters to book passage through some of our structures in advance so our colleagues are prepared and boaters have a smooth, uninterrupted journey.
“We’re committed to offering the best possible level of service to our customers and we believe boaters will appreciate a more modern booking process that’s available 24 hours a day, and a choice of how to interact with us.
“We hope that, by reducing the admin, this will give boaters more of a chance to focus on the excitement of planning a cruise. We are planning to bring even more of the booked passage structures into the online process ahead of next summer’s main cruising season.”
Boaters can find out more on the ‘Booking your passage online’ page of the Trust’s website. Bookings can be made via the online licensing portal, in the ‘Bookings’ section.
The online system is already used by boaters for licence renewal, amending details and booking moorings. Boaters will still be able to book by telephone if they are not able to book online.