UK Freight Waterways

Many inland waterway pleasure craft in the UK use the larger freight waterways, either on a regular basis or occasionally, to move between different parts of the waterway network.  These waterways range from canals such as the Gloucester & Sharpness, through river navigations like the Aire & Calder or the Weaver, to tideways including the Thames, the Humber system, the Mersey, the Severn and Witham estuaries. 

Not all inland pleasure craft are suitable for all the tidal reaches and this note does not deal with seaworthiness, safety equipment (lifejackets, anchors etc) or insurance, which you need to check carefully before setting out.

The guidance provided in this section of the website is generally applicable to all inland freight waterways (and other tidal waterways) in the UK and you may even find it useful even if you intend venturing no further seaward than the Aire & Calder at Castleford.  However, it does not pretend to give you sufficient advice if you intend venturing out to sea where, in particular, you need to be fully aware of the GMDSS 1 and its implications for radio users.