About the Boat Listing
In 1997 Douglas E Maas' book Inland Waterways Boat Listing,- ISBN 0 9530034 0 X - was published by Inland Waterways Books listing thousands of boat names and other information of interest to the boat spotter. This was popular at the time, and a copy of it still sits on the bookshelf in "Mintball"'s central cabin, but it was soon out of date and the expense of updating, publishing and purchasing new copies was probably a barrier to both potential buyers and publishers of new editions.
With the introduction of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which came into force in 2005, it became possible to produce a new online Boat Listing. The listing was started with over 41,000 individual boats taken from the boat registration databases British Waterways and the Environment Agency and in 2009 the Broads Authority data was added and in 2012 British Waterways became the Canal & River Trust.
The Data Protection Act was designed to give protection to personal data - that is data relating to an identifiable living person. The Freedom of Information Act was designed to open up data held by the government and public bodies to the general public. Data that is covered by the Data Protection Act is exempted from the Freedom of Information Act. So the names and addresses of boat owners are personal data and will not be released whereas boat names and details do not relate to a person and so are in the public domain as far as the FOI Act is concerned. For more information on the DPA and FOIA please visit The Information Commissioner's website.
It is hoped that the listing will be updated each year and that more data can be added from BW, EA, the Broads Authority and from other navigation authorities. Rather than wait for all this data to be available it was decided to publish the present substantial listing because of the demand expected for this type of information.
Tracing a boat
We are sometimes contacted by people who are trying to find the owner of a particular boat or to find where a particular boat is at present. Because the names and addresses of boat owners are not in the public domain the information is not generally released by the navigation authorities. We can only suggest that if you want to contact a boat owner then you should get in touch with the appropriate navigation authority and ask whether or not they would be willing to pass on a communication from you to the boat owner.
Errors in and Updates to the Listing
The details for individual boats have been taken from the records held by the navigation authority so any errors are probably due to mistakes in their records. Please check with your navigation authority to ensure that their records are correct.
This listing is updated at the beginning of each year so any later updates to navigation authority records will not be reflected in this listing until the following year.