Narrowboat & Barge Insurance

Leisurely travelling up and down the canal or permanently moored, we have you covered with our Narrowboat, Barge & Houseboat insurance. Our specialist cover includes free RCR membership as standard and liveaboard cover if needed.

Having specialised in Marine Insurance for over 195 years GJW Direct can provide you with the perfect cover for your Narrowboat, Barge or Houseboat with instant quotes available online. Our self-service portal allows you to manage your policy online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Alternatively, you can speak to a member of our friendly team. With a vast range of boat insurance options to suit all needs, when you insure your Narrowboat, Barge or Houseboat with us you’re in safe hands. 

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Contents Cover

We will pay the reasonable cost of repair or replacement for loss or damage to contents in the vessel.

0% Finance

GJW Direct offer interest free annual payment plans on direct debit policies over £100. With a small deposit the remaining cost can be spread over 10 interest free instalments.

RCR Cover

GJW Direct has teamed up with the only dedicated waterways breakdown service River Canal Rescue (RCR), to offer inclusive membership as standard for customers insured under our Narrowboat & Barge policy.

  • Automatic liveaboard cover
  • Agreed value
  • Protected no claims bonus
  • Third party liability £5,000,000
  • Marina features included as standard if vessel is kept in a marina
  • Legal protection cover
  • Medical expenses cover
  • Personal accident cover
  • 24 hour emergency claim helpline
  • 24 hour access to all of your policies and documentation in your online account
  • Simple claims procedure
  • Rapid claims settlement
  • Excellent financial security
  • Friendly personal service
  • Exclusive discounts from a range of recognised marine brands via MyBoat

Features are subject to restrictions. Please see policy wording for full details.

For more information about the features of our GJW Direct Insurance, please refer to the relevant policy document.

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Marina Features included with a GJW Direct Policy
If you keep your vessel in a marina, you are entitled to Special Endorsements as part of our Marina Scheme.
  • 10% discount is included in your price if you moor your vessel in a recognised UK marina
  • Recoup your berthing fees if you cannot occupy your berth due to loss or damage
  • Returning home after an incident; we will pay up to £2000
  • No excess for loss or damage incurred at your home marina if caused by an unknown or untraceable third party
  • Increased legal protection cover up to £100,000
  • Increased medical expenses up to £3000
  • No excess or loss of no claims bonus if loss or damage occurs whilst under way within your home marina
  • In the event of a claim you will have the benefit of a dedicated claims handler
  • We cover the cost of replacement keys if they are lost or stolen
Our FREE digital organiser with Exclusive Discounts
MyBoat, powered by GJW Direct, is a FREE digital boat management and safety equipment reminder service. Plus GJW Direct customers get Exclusive Discounts for specially selected boating retailers.
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What GJW Direct customers think


Great company, policies tailor made for liveaboards with inclusive cover for realistic amount of contents at a very competitive price. Nice people giving a personal service....what's not to like?


We've just renewed our widebeam insurance for this coming year and received an excellent service from GJW. Really good premium and only a very small increase. Superb!


Debbie at GJW was very helpful in arranging the insurance for my narrowboat is over 30 years old and I expected the process to be was a relief to be able to get such comprehensive cover so easily and quickly. THANK YOU, Debbie 🙂


I have just renewed my Barge Insurance with GJW and I am very satisfied with the service. Their price was very competitive and I was pleased that my premium has not gone up this year.

Partnering with RCR
GJW Direct has teamed up with the only dedicated waterways breakdown service, River Canal Rescue (RCR), to offer inclusive membership as standard for customers insured with GJW Direct.
Find out More

What does our Narrowboat, Barge & Houseboat policy cover?

  • Contents Cover

    We will pay the reasonable cost of repair or replacement for loss or damage to contents in the vessel.

  • 0% Finance

    GJW Direct offer interest free annual payment plans on direct debit policies over £100. With a small deposit the remaining cost can be spread over 10 interest free instalments.

  • RCR Membership

    GJW Direct has teamed up with the only dedicated waterways breakdown service, River Canal Rescue (RCR), to offer inclusive membership as standard for customers insured under our Narrowboat & Barge policy. GJW Direct customers also receive an additional 20% discount on other memberships for RCR through the Myboat platform. 

  • Automatic Liveaboard Cover

    Which is available subject to an additional premium, you just need to inform us that your Narrowboat/Barge is your permanent place of residence in order to be covered for this usage.

  • Agreed Value

    In the event of a total loss claim, we will pay the value of your vessel originally agreed upon taking out your policy.

  • Protected No Claims Bonus

    Once you earn no claims bonus it is protected. This means that you will not lose your no claims bonus if you have one claim in any one policy period. Two or more claims will result in a loss of no claims bonus.

  • Third Party Liability £5,000,000

    We cover you and any other person using your narrowboat, barge or houseboat with your permission for legal liability to another person arising out of interest in use of your Narrowboat or Barge up to a maximum of £5,000,000.

  • Legal Protection Cover

    We cover your legal expenses up to £25,000 to pursue damages for injury or death or out of pocket expenses following damage to your Narrowboat, Barge or Houseboat or for the defence of criminal prosecutions brought against you.

  • Medical Expenses Cover

    We cover you and the crew of your narrowboat, barge or houseboat for Medical Expenses incurred by you and/or them arising out of personal injuries caused by any of the perils covered under your Narrowboat or Barge Insurance up to £1,000 any one occurrence

  • Personal Accident Cover

    Our Narrowboat & Barge Insurance covers you and any other person using your boat with your permission for accidental bodily injury or death whilst using your Narrowboat or Barge up to a maximum amount of £20,000 any one person and £40,000 in respect of any one event.

  • 24 Hour Emergency Claims Helpline

    Our staffed emergency claims helpline is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year so we’re always there when you need us to offer a swift response and give sound, practical advice.

  • Rapid Claims Settlement

    Once we have received invoices and bank account details it takes 3-5 working days to be processed through the banking system and to arrive in the recipients bank account. 

    Please note that payments being made to outside the UK may take a little longer. 

  • Excellent Financial Security

    You can trust in our Excellent Financial Security as we are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

  • Exclusive Discounts From a Range of Recognised Marine Brands via MyBoat

    Did you know, MyBoat members who insure with GJW Direct have access to exclusive offers and discounts from a range of recognised marine brands. Unlock your discounts today - sign up to MyBoat

GJW Direct launch their latest Marina Scheme offer - a FREE 1-year savvy navvy subscription 

That's right, as a thank you for joining the GJW Direct Marina Scheme, we have teamed up with savvy navvy to supercharge your navigation.

Key features of a savvy navvy subscription

  • With your savvy navvy subscription, you'll find a boatload of amazing tools to help you navigate the waves over the next year. Below we've highlighted a handful of our favourites:
  • Savvy Charts - built with the boater in mind, allowing you to access essential marine information with a user-friendly interface.
  • GPS Active Tracking - quickly view your live position whilst on the move. Enabling you to check your Course Over Ground and Speed Over Ground in a matter of seconds.
  • Weather Forecast - never misjudge the weather again with this key feature, you can find the changing wind direction and speed, instantly.
  • Route Planning - organise your day with this handy route-planner tool. You'll be able to see the best route based on a number of factors, including departure time, chart, weather, tide and boat data.
  • Not to mention so much more, including Course to Steer, Distance Measurements, Marina & Anchorage Information, plus Dedicated Customer Support. Learn more, here.
  • For eligibility and full terms and conditions please see details here

Policy Documents

See below the policy documents relevant to your Narrowboat and Barge cover which are available for you to download.  

Please note, your policy wording may differ from the latest version available on our website. Please refer to your online dashboard for the relevant wording for your policy.

Sponsoring the Autism On The Water Charity
We are delighted to sponsor Autism On The Water in their South Coast Adventure 2022. Find out how we are engaging our community, through sailing and charitable support.
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Partnering with the RNLI
Since 2018 we've partnered with the RNLI to help 'save every one’ from preventable drowning. By sharing safety information with our customers and asking them to donate, we have raised over £120,000
Find Out More
  • What is a Narrowboat?

    Narrowboats are so called as they have to navigate the narrow canals which can only take boats up to 6' 10" wide in their locks and these canals make up the majority of the UK waterways, particularly in the Midlands. The bridges have restricted width on the narrow canals.

    Narrowboats are usually constructed from steel. The length of the Narrowboats vary, although there is a maximum of 70 feet on most waterways.

  • Where can I use my Narrowboat?

    There are broad canals which have locks of twice the width, or over, allowing wider boats or two Narrowboats to pass through side by side. Major rivers, such as the Thames, Severn and Trent have much wider locks than canals, allowing even larger boats.

  • Narrowboat Insurance

    We cover all types of narrowboats, and with River Canal Rescue breakdown cover* included as standard, you’ll never be left stranded on the UK waterways.

    *Subject to exclusions and limitations

  • Moored and Houseboat Insurance

    Whether you’re always on the move, or permanently moored, we offer all risks contents insurance and automatic liveaboard cover so you don’t have to worry about damage or theft to your property.

  • Barge & Dutch Barge Insurance

    Our policy also covers wide-beams, barges and Dutch barges, with third-party liability up to £5,000,000 for larger vessels.

  • Are there any other limitations on the waterways?

    There are various limitations when cruising, the main being a speed limit of four miles per hour.You can usually moor your Narrowboat anywhere on the towpath side of the canal.There are, however, a few limitations, such as at lock moorings, under bridges and on bends, etc.

  • What is a lock?

    Locks are used to lift or lower boats from one level to another. They are found on almost all canals and rivers. A lock is a section of canal or river that is closed off by gates which control the water level so that boats can be raised or lowered as they pass through it.

  • Who controls the Inland Waterways?

    There are three main authorities who control the waterways:

    - British Waterways who control almost all canals and some rivers including the Trent, Severn and Yorkshire Ouse

    - The Environment Agency controls the rivers Thames and Medway and the rivers of East Anglia

    - The Broads Authority control the Norfolk and Suffolk broads

    They are responsible for the operation and maintenance of the waterways under their jurisdiction, and also responsible for licensing boats.

  • Can I live on my Narrowboat?

    Yes a Narrowboat can be your permanent home, as many marinas have residential moorings, with all facilities and services. However, you will have to pay council tax, which may be included in the mooring charge. You should also inform your insurance company that your Narrowboat is your primary residence.

  • Do I need insurance for my Narrowboat?

    You will need a minimum of Third Party Liability insurance to use the Inland Waterway system.

  • What should I look for when insuring my Narrowboat?

    GJW Direct only offers comprehensive insurance . Our insurance will cover your Narrowboat for accidental damage, theft, fire and vandalism, plus third party liability. 

    There are many companies offering Narrowboat insurance. You should always check the extent of the cover to ensure that you meet all the company’s requirements and they meet yours. You could end up uninsured if you do not comply with the conditions.

    Here are some things to look out for:

    - Cruising range - Some companies limit you to non tidal waters only, but you may require tidal waters for access.

    With GJW Direct the cruising range is United Kingdom inland waters which means inland waters of the United Kingdom where there are no tides but including broads and fens whether tidal or not. You may travel along enclosed inland tidal stretches for the purposes only of entering or leaving the non-tidal system.

    - Houseboat use - If you are using the Narrowboat for residential purposes you need to advise your insurance company as the policy may exclude Narrowboats used as a permanent residence. The GJW Direct Narrowboat and Barge Policy offers live aboard cover at an additional premium, however you need to inform us that your Narrowboat is your permanent place of residence in order to be covered for this usage.

    - Personal property/Contents - You need to check the extent of the cover you have for your personal belongings. You may require all risks cover similar to a household policy if you are living on board permanently. Our single article limit is £1,000, therefore you will need to inform us, in writing, of any items over the value of £1,000 ,to ensure you have the required cover. 

    The GJW Direct Narrowboat and Barge Policy mirrors a home owner’s policy especially tailored for a boat which forms a place of residence. Contents can also be covered anywhere in the world on payment of the appropriate additional premium.

    - Single handed use - Some companies exclude single handed use or charge extra. The GJW Direct Narrowboat and Barge policy includes single handed use as standard.

  • What is the Boat Safety Scheme?

    The Boat Safety Scheme is owned by the Canal and River Trust and is like a boating version of the M.O.T. It sets standards for Narrowboats, the installations and components, which you must meet before obtaining a cruising licence. The scheme is designed to minimise the risks of fire or explosion on Narrowboats.

    The standard combines essential safety requirements and best safety practice advice. They include criteria for Narrowboat systems such as electrical installations, inboard/outboard engines, appliances, ventilation and fuels.

  • I have heard there are signals you need to make for left and right - what are they?

    When cruising the Inland waterways you use a horn blast to signal your manoeuvres, here are the basic signals:

    1 blast- Turning to the right

    2 blasts- Turning to the left

    3 blasts - Reversing

    4 blasts- then pause then 1 blast- Turning round to the right

    4 blasts- then pause then 2 blasts- Turning round to the left

    1 blast- loud and 2 blasts short - I can't manoeuvre

    1 - long blast - Warning e.g. when approaching tunnel and bends

  • What's included in the River Canal Rescue cover?

    Equipped with the most up-to-date mapping technology, RCR's qualified mechanics will investigate and, where possible, rectify any breakdown with your boat or tow it to the nearest marina or safe haven.

    Nationwide breakdown assistance and recovery

    24-hour practical and technical telephone assistance

    Crisis coordination and message relay service

    Homestart and provision pick-up service

    Free WaterNav App for navigation

    SOS app to keep you updated when you breakdown

    This cover is a pay on use system at a cost of £50 per call out

    For more information, please download our RCR brochure


    Subject to the terms and conditions of the GJW Direct Narrowboat & Barge Policy.