European Inland Waterways

Welcome to the European Inland Waterways Section

The CA has taken an interest in cruising rivers and canals for many years, its first guide to the rivers and canals of France being published in 1975 and regularly updated since then. Initially the French river and canal network was seen primarily as a way for British sailors to travel to or from the Mediterranean avoiding the rigours of Biscay, but over the years an increasing number have recognised the challenges and pleasures of inland cruising in its own right.

As well as central moorings and harbours in great cities such as Amsterdam, Berlin, Budapest and Paris, hundreds of smaller towns and villages offer a welcome to the passing inland cruiser. With a few exceptions, costs and mooring charges are modest compared with coastal harbours and marinas.

The European Inland Waterways Section Area

Unlike the British canal system, almost all those in the rest of Europe were built on a large enough scale to accommodate seagoing pleasure craft, although with the exception of a few of the bigger rivers, bridge clearances usually require sailing vessels to lower or remove masts before venturing far inland.

Over 30 European countries offer cruising possibilities. Some, such as the Netherlands and France, are well known, others much less so. The re-unification of Germany opened up attractive and interesting cruising areas, especially to the north of and around Berlin.

The Rhine- Main-Danube route to the Black Sea by way of Austria, Hungary, Croatia and Romania is open and facilities for pleasure craft are steadily being improved. Further north the Czech Republic is opening up cruising on the Elbe and the Vltava north of Prague.

Where We Meet

Members gather to exchange information, experiences and views, at autumn and spring meetings at CA House. These are usually all day events with enough time for informal discussion as well as presentations on topics of current importance or interest.

Being part of our Section

The section publishes a guide to Cruising the Inland Waterways of France and Belgium. A co-operative effort by CA members, this guide is a supplement to the well-established commercial guides which can suffer from infrequent revision. Inland moorings tend to be much more varied and subject to change than those of established sea ports and marinas, so thanks to reports from members, the information is up-to-date.

There are also guides to fuelling points, repairs and service and the over-wintering of boats. There is an active EIW Discussion and Information on the ‘members only’ part of the CA website which can be useful to those considering or planning inland cruises. It is also where information is posted that may be helpful to members while cruising, such as changes in rules and regulations or unscheduled closures of waterways.

Forthcoming Events

There are no forthcoming events currently scheduled.

To see seminars and lectures organised by members of the CA see here, or to see a calendar of all events see here.

Interested in Finding out More?

Please contact the Section Secretaries, Roger Edgar, John Harwood, Betsan and Neil Caldwell, at or
CA staff at or +44 (0) 207 537 2828.

Cruising Sections


Covers the Baltic Sea, Norway, Iceland, Greenland and Faroes. Holds a popular introductory seminar every spring.


Covers Western France, Spain and Portugal as well as crossing Biscay. Holds a popular introductory seminar every spring.

Blue Water

For those sailing outside of European waters. Holds a popular Blue Water seminar in the summer.


Covers waters from Land’s End to Cape Wrath. Meets at various west coast venues to share knowledge on all aspects of cruising the region.


Covers Northern France from the Belgian border to Normandy and the South Coast of England. Holds a popular introductory seminar every spring, and organises summer rallies.

European Inland Waterways

Covers over 30,000 km of navigable rivers and canals passing through over 20 countries. Meets spring and autumn at CA House.


Covers the Mediterranean from Spain and Morocco in the west to the Levant in the east, and includes the Black Sea. Meets at CA House in the winter, and afloat in the summer.

North Sea

Covers the UK, Belgian and Dutch coasts. Meets at East Coast venues to share knowledge on all aspects of cruising the region.

Local / UK Sections


For members who live in Australia and New Zealand and who sail in the Northern Hemisphere.

CA London

CA London events are held at our Limehouse HQ.

East Midlands

Talks are held in various venues in the East Midlands.


Meetings held at Blackwater Sailing Club and mid-week lunches arranged.


Winter talks are held in Maidstone, and joint rallies are organised with Essex and Suffolk sections.


Summer rallies with weekend meets. Winter talks with ‘club’ suppers usually at a Hamble yacht club or marina.

South West

For members living in or cruising the areas from Portland Bill to the Isles of Scilly and along the north coast of Cornwall, Devon and Somerset to Bristol.


Joint meetings are arranged with the Royal Harwich Yacht Club at Woolverstone.

Thames Valley

Winter talks are held at the Upper Thames Sailing Club in Bourne End near Marlow.


Talks are held at Parkstone Yacht Club, Poole.

West Midlands

Year round events held at Severn Motor Yacht Club, also winter meetings held at Ashwood Social Club Kingswinford.

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