Cruise the MSC

The Manchester Ship Canal is a great way to join the Weaver and forms a lovely cruising ring connecting the Shropshire Union Canal at Ellesmere Port to the Weaver allowing onwards travel onto the Trent and Mersey Canal. The Ship Canal itself only takes approx 1hr 30 minutes to navigate.

If you're unsure, we can help with the booking process. Feel free to drop us an email or phone call. 

Booking Process

The first step to your Ship Canal passage, is to get a seaworthy certificate. This is an in water survey to ensure you boat is suitable for the passage.

Please download the Peel Port Induction pack here.

Your surveyor will need to complete Section B: Sighting of Seaworthiness Certification. In order to book the passage along the Manchester Ship Canal, you will need a valid seaworthy certificate. We will put a list of recommend surveyors below:

Michael Carter (Marine Surveys Ltd) : 07831 184495.

Section B: Sighting of Seaworthiness Certification

Your surveyor will need to complete Section B of the Booking Form.

In order to cruise the Ship Canal, an additional fee does need to be paid to Peel Ports as the MSC isn't covered by the reciprocal licence agreement between Peel and CRT.

The Peel Paperwork should be checked for accurate pricing but last time we booked it was only £42 to cruise from Ellesmere Port to the Weaver. 

Once you have received Section B: Sighting of Seaworthiness Certification from your surveyor, you will be able to complete the rest of the booking form and send this to Peel.

Complete Section A: Pleasure Craft Application to Enter and Navigate on the Manchester Ship Canal. This form requires your passage dates, vessel, insurance and personal information.

** Passage Date/Time: Your are allowed to travel the Ship Canal on any day, the only restriction is with CRT and gaining access in or out of Marsh Lock. CRT will only operate Marsh Lock once over the weekend, and provide this on a first come-first-served basis. Therefore if you require a weekend passage, and someone already has this booked, you may be asked to adjust your timings to share the lock passage with them. 

Once this section is complete, send this, and Section B to

Once Peel have accepted the booking via email, you will be asked to call and make payment via telephone.

The next step is to contact CRT and book the passage of Marsh Lock and Whitby Locks.

To do this please email stating the following information, or call 03030 404040



We would like to book Marsh Lock - River Weaver and Whitby Locks at Ellesmere Port, for [date]. We will be heading [out onto/in from] the Manchester Ship Canal. We aim to be at Marsh Lock for [TIME], and Whitby Locks for [TIME 1HR 30MINS BEFORE/AFTER MARSH]

Boat Name: [Boat Name]

Boat Index Number: [CRT Index Number] 

Contact Phone Number: [Your Phone Number]


The final step is to book the swing bridge at Ellesmere Port with Cheshire Council. Please call 0151 356 6612 and request the following:

"I'd like to book Whitby Swingbridge at Ellesmere Port for a narrowboat passage on [date] and [time]." The council will swing the bridge 7 days a week but require 48 hrs notice. Please ensure you book this for the same date/time as you have booked Whitby Locks with CRT.

On the day of your cruise, you need to contact Eastham Port Control before you head onto the Ship Canal to ensure the navigation is safe for your passage. 

Call Eastham on 0151 327 4638. Explain to them that you are ready to transit the Ship Canal from Ellesmere Port to Marsh Lock (or vise versa). They will advise if there is any traffic on the canal and confirm you can proceed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, the passage can be completed 7 days a week.

No, the Ship Canal is a canal. Non tidal and with no flow.

Possibly. Before heading onto the Ship Canal, you must phone Eastham Port Control and inform them you are ready to transit. They will advise what traffic is on the canal and whether you'll pass any traffic.

It is preferred that craft have a VHF onboard, but this isn't mandatory. Instead a working mobile phone must be present and the number shared with Eastham on your booking form so they can contact you if needed.