How To Moor

A UK Canal Boating Article

Category : How To


Mooring is a term which has been used since the 15th Century and is a place where a craft can be made fast or held in place.

At some point during your canal boat holiday you are going to need to moor up whether it is for an overnight stay or for an hour or two to stock up on supplies or explore the area.

Don't worry about mooring as you will be shown how to do this safely and correctly at hand over. For the most part you can moor anywhere along the canal bank on the towpath side apart from if there are signs that prohibits. Mooring on the opposite side, or non towpath side, of the canal is not usually allowed since the land is often privately owned.

Any area where mooring is not allowed or is restricted will be clearly signed. Some people like to moor as far out in the country whilst others prefer to moor outside pubs or in urban areas. At the end of the day it is up to you and that is one of the benefits of a canal boat holiday.

On some parts of the canal you will find designated mooring rings or bollards so you can just use your ropes and secure the boat. Mooring pegs or pins are provided for you when there are no mooring points and your canal boat will be equipped with all you need to moor safely.

To moor the canal boat you need to start to slow down and then aim towards the canal bank at about a 30 degree angle. As you get around five or six feet away from the canal bank then you should straighten up, place the boat in reverse to slow you down and with any luck the boat will come to a stop in a parallel position to the bank.

This should be close enough for your crew to carefully step off the boat onto the towpath in order to moor. Don't block the towpath by putting your pins in too far from the canal side. Tie the boat up fairly tightly so that it does not move about when other boats pass.

Important safety advice
Do not let the rope cross the towpath.
Your crew should step ashore – not jump.
Carry the ropes do not throw them, make sure there is plenty of slack and that one end is fixed to the boat.
Put something light coloured, a carrier bag is ideal, on top of the pins so walkers and cyclists can see them clearly.

Don't moor
In lock approaches or in lock flights.
Near swing or lift bridges.
Near weirs.
Near sharp bends.
By blind spots.
At turning points.
Close to Marina entrances or at junctions.
If any signage prohibits you.
Moor in a way that it makes it awkward or difficult for other canal users to manoeuvre or to pass you
On private property.
At water points – unless filling up your water tanks.
To the bank on a tidal river, you might find yourself hanging from the ropes when the tide goes out

Adhere to any mooring notices.
Try to stay 50 feet away from established angling spots.
When moored for the night remember your neighbours and keep noise level to a minimum.
Leave room for other boats to tie up.
Check that you are not a hazard to other boats or to people using the bank.
It costs nothing to be polite and considerate and the waterways are big enough for everyone to enjoy.

Essential equipment to moor a canal boat.
Mooring pegs/pins - to help secure the rope.
Mooring hook – look like a very large safety pin.
Lump hammer - a hammer the mooring pegs/pins in to the ground.
Mooring rope - to enable a crew member to pull the canal boat to the bank.
If you want to know more about the etiquette of mooring up then download the Boaters Guide.

Download the Boaters' guide here :



More Canal Boating Articles


Holiday Bases









How to moor a canal boat


Places to Visit