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Boating the Navigation

The Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation connects Chelmsford with the tidal estuary of the River Blackwater at Heybridge Basin. Along the route of the waterway is a church, two tearooms, numerous pubs, 14 locks and lots of wildlife. You can book a boat trip or launch your own.

14 miles of rural countryside to explore

Boating the navigation

Launch your own boat on the Navigation or book a boat trip.

The stretch above Hall Bridge is suitable for smaller inland boats, but bigger sea-faring and sailing boats can moor in Heybridge Basin, which links the Navigation with the tidal River Blackwater.

All boats on the navigation must be licensed by Essex Waterways.

Moorings and Other Licences

information for boaters

There are a number of permanent, visitor and residential moorings along the Navigation. Moorings are available at Heybridge Basin, Paper Mill Lock and Springfield Basin

Boats that require a mooring are charged a mooring rate which is inclusive of the licence fee to boat along the Navigation and use of the locks.

Craft that don’t require moorings or use of locks still need to buy a licence.

Heybridge Basin can accommodate vessels up 50 metres in length and 4.0 metres draft.  

Further along the Navigation, above Hall Bridge the maximum dimensions for boats are up to 17.40 metres in length, 4.62 metres wide and 0.62 metres draft. The maximum air draft is 1.9m (lowest bridge at Paper Mill). The actual lock dimensions along the Navigation are approximately 18.46m x 4.92m.

We offer other services for boaters, which includes lifting boats out of the water for storage, cleaning, surveys. We also Un-step and Re-step Masts. [link to download or modal]

Please contact the Heybridge Basin Lockkeeper to make a booking.


Guidance on Use of Locks

Boaters wanting to use the locks on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation need to have a licence for lock usage.



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