Environment Agency update for waterway users 2021

By Andy Wilkinson, national navigation manager

Following the government announcement on 4 January 2021 of a national lockdown for England, this is our updated guidance for boating customers.

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This national lockdown means you must not leave or be outside of your home except where necessary. The latest government guidance on the national lockdown can be found here.

What this means for our waterways

All navigation on our waterways should be limited to essential travel only.

Travel on waterways and overnight stays are only permitted where the boat is your permanent residence or it is necessary for work, education or similar reasons. Those who live aboard their boats should limit their travel to access essential services and facilities. You should stay local where possible.

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As in previous lockdowns, some activities using unpowered boats are permitted as part of your daily exercise, limited to once a day and within the government guidance for exercise. Please check government guidance and any specific guidance from national governing bodies, such as British Canoeing or British Rowing.

For the latest guidance on Boat Safety Scheme certificates, please see the Boat Safety Scheme website. In terms of your registration plate, if you are unable to display it on your boat because of these restrictions, please just do this when government restrictions allow.

Our service at this time

We will continue to support this national effort through these challenging times and will, as always, make protecting the safety of our customers and staff our top priority.

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Our staff will continue to work, managing and maintaining our waterways within the safe ways of working we have implemented over the past year. This may include some asset closures for maintenance.

Our level of service may also be affected due to some staff who are vulnerable and need to shield. This means some tasks may not be carried out, including assisted passage at some locks.

However wherever possible we will maintain essential services and facilities for those boaters who live aboard and who have to make essential journeys.

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At the short stay moorings we own or manage, we will continue to lift time restrictions to assist those who live aboard their boats so they can access essential services.

We will continue to update our guidance on GOV.UK as the national situation develops so please do keep checking this page for the latest information.

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