BW online moorings in freefall

Published: Wednesday, 16 June 2010

EMPTY berths in marinas are now a fact of life, writes Allan Richards, and has now extended to British Waterways online moorings.

Earlier this year, Executive Director, Simon Salem, made a marketing report to his board. In it he stated:

'The key issue for us, looking ahead, is the abrupt change in the market for BW directly managed moorings since November with only around 50—60% of berths selling at auction, and very few of those selling doing so at above guide price. Although the number of sites coming up for auction is a small percentage of our overall berths, we are monitoring this change closely and looking for innovative ways to market sites.'

Put another way, the demand for online moorings has gone into freefall. Almost half of vacancies attract no bids above the reserve price and most of those that do are sold at a price which is less than existing moorers are paying.


Mooring auctions are almost universally unpopular with boaters for numerous reasons. However, BW has always been adamant that they are needed to fix a market rate for each mooring site.

It is self evident that market rate (the price that someone is willing to pay) has fallen, and in many cases is below reserve price.

Has BW reduced mooring charges for existing customers in line with market rate based on winning auction bids? No!  Has BW reduced mooring charges to reserve prices or below where berths remain unsold? Again No!


From April 1st, BW actually increased its mooring charges almost across the board. It seems that existing customers are now being made to pay for BW's empty berths and its failed policy.