Family on a Narrowboat

Afloat: family on a narrowboat

Attracted by the life-style, love for nature and roaming, or more affordable housing options that living on a boat offers, the boating community in London has grown tremendously in recent years. The number of boats rose from 2,326 in 2012 to 4,001 in 2017. In 2017, about half of them had permanent mooring, while the other half were continuous cruisers who had free mooring for 14 days, and had to keep cruising every two weeks.

Just as neighbourhoods get gentrified, so is the boating community. Introducing stricter mooring policy or increasing the prices threatens boaters with social cleansing. With permanent mooring prices costing up to £12,000 a year and proposals by the waterways managing body to encourage business mooring in central areas in London and reduce continuous cruisers’ free mooring time to a week or even two days, boaters fear they will no longer afford the increasing prices and that the constant cruising would destabilise their everyday life, especially cruising families who got school-age children.