Canal River Trust reports results of Boat Owners’ Views Survey

27 June 2018

The results of the Canal & River Trust’s latest Boat Owners’ Views survey, that records boaters’ opinions about the charity and the waterways it looks after, has been published today, with boaters saying mental and physical wellbeing were both the biggest motivation for, and benefit of, boating.

The Trust has now surveyed everyone who has held a boat licence in the past three years. This year the sample included every new boat licence holder over the period, who had not been surveyed in 2016 or 2017, so is not be directly comparable with previous years. As such the average over the three-year survey cycle is given for reference.

In 2018’s survey over three-quarters of the 1,760 respondents said they would recommend the waterways to other boaters (76% – three-year average 74%). 74% rated the overall upkeep as OK to excellent (3YA 75%), which may be reflected in their propensity to recommend. 70% of boaters were satisfied with their experience of cruising the nation’s waterways (3YA 71%).

In general around half of all boaters feel they know the Trust very well or a fair amount (53% – 3YA 53%) and feel more favourable to the Trust (54% – 3YA 56%) while 62% trust the charity to look after the waterways (3YA 64%).

Jon Horsfall, Head of Customer Services at Canal & River Trust, said: “The Boat Owners’ Views survey is an important snapshot of how boaters feel about both the Trust and their experience of the waterways they boat on. It’s been inspiring to see how boaters find boating a great source of mental and physical wellbeing. However, with only just over half of respondents both knowing and feeling favourable towards the Trust, we do acknowledge that there is more to do.

“The survey findings help us focus on the issues that matter most to boaters and act on the things that are most important to them. This year we’ve planned to carry out over 1,000 projects – everything from the continuing breach repair work at Middlewich to replacing 136 lock gates and relining and repairing a further 128 lock gates. We’ll also be carrying out circa £8 million of dredging, spending more than ever on this work which we know is a top priority for boaters.

“We want to continue working on how we can improve boaters’ experience and enhance the considerable wellbeing they get from boating on the nation’s canals and rivers. Thank you to everyone who has taken part.”

The most recent survey, which was sent to a third of the Trust’s boat licence holders, was carried out by an independent research consultant in March and April 2018.

The Boat Owners’ Views survey report will be published on the Trust’s website in due course.

Boaters can get in touch with the Trust by filling out a webform, calling 0303 040 4040, tweeting @CRTcontactus or getting involved in a local user forum.