What are the rules about keeping and using a boat on the River?

All boats using this river must be licensed with the Environment Agency, have valid third party insurance and a current boat safety certificate, if applicable. Boats using the River Cam above Bottisham lock must be registered with the Cam Conservancy.

Can I live on my boat at your marina?

You can access your boat 24/7, every week of the year and we do not dictate how you use your boat provided you comply with our terms and conditions.

Can I fish and/or park at your marina?

Our own berth holders are welcome to fish off their own boat and mooring during the fishing season (16th June to 15th March), provided it does not impact on our other customers. We do not offer fishing facilities to the general public and car parking for non-berth holders is strictly at our discretion and only with our permission (and if granted, charges will apply).

What are the typical annual running costs of a boat?

There are a lot of variables, including size, type, construction, engine and age that will affect the running costs. It might seem obvious, but the bigger the vessel, the higher the costs, although newer vessels should require less maintenance than older ones. As an approximate guide, you should expect to spend around £50 per foot per year keeping and using a boat on the waterways in addition to mooring fees (see our Moorings page for details of these costs).

Where can we go to from the Fish & Duck Marina?

You are spoilt in that there are three cruising options from the marina; the Old West river towards Earith, the Great Ouse through Ely towards Denver and the Cam towards Cambridge. In total, around 200 miles of navigable river can be easily accessed from the marina, much of it lock free. There is a useful map on the GOBA website, which has lots of information about the waterway on it, and also on the EA site  www.visitanglianwaterways.org.

What is GOBA?

GOBA stands for Great Ouse Boating Association. It is a members’ organisation that promotes the interests of boat owners and users on the Great Ouse river system. It is well worthwhile being a member as it has numerous 48 hour mooring sites along the river that only members can use. Membership application forms are available from our office.

What boat repair and maintenance services does the Fish & Duck Marina offer?

We concentrate our efforts on running the marina and selling boats, and so we have approved contractors that specialise in marine trades that are authorized and properly insured to carry out work on customer’s boats at the marina. Please contact us for their details or follow this link to the Marine Trades page.

What facilities does the marina have for lifting out boats?

We have recently purchased a 10t capacity second-hand slipway hoist and tractor, which will be delivered and commissioned ready for us during the 2022 season. We also have a 3.5t trailer suitable for hauling out boats up to 24’ in length.

Does the marina have spaces or is there a waiting list?

We sometimes have spaces, but these are usually reserved fairly quickly,  We are happy to keep details of people interested in mooring with us, and we will contact them as and when suitable berths become available.  However, we are aware that people’s circumstances can change at short notice, so we do not keep a formal waiting list.

If I buy a boat through the Fish & Duck Marina, would I be guaranteed a mooring?

This used to be the case, but current demand for moorings has meant this cannot be guaranteed at the moment. However, we will always do our utmost to provide a mooring for any boat we sell if it is required.

Does the same apply to a boat purchased privately at the marina?

Because we offer a comprehensive brokerage service, we do not allow boats to be advertised and sold privately from the marina.  If you are buying a boat elsewhere and would like to moor at our marina, please contact us for details of currently available moorings.

What length, beam (width), and air draft (height) restrictions are there on the river system.

These are the maximum dimensions for a vessel using the following waterways to their full extent. Larger vessels will be limited in their cruising range.

  • The River Great Ouse
    Length: 23m (70ft)
    Beam: 3.15m (10ft 4ins)
    Air draught: 2.4m (8ft)
    Draught: 1m (3ft 3ins)
  • The River Nene
    Length: 23m (78ft)
    Beam: 3.9m (13ft)
    Air draught: 2.1m (6ft 10ins)
    Draught: 1.2m (4ft)
  • The Middle Level
    Length: 21.3m (70ft)
    Beam: 3.65m (11ft)
    Air draught: 2.1m (6ft 10ins)
    Draught: 0.7m (2ft 3ins)

Where can we buy fuel on the river?

Red diesel is widely available (including at our marina), and prices will vary. You will also be asked to declare a proportion split between domestic and propulsion use (the latter incurs a higher rate of duty). Petrol is less available (we believe only at Buckden, Hartford, Jones’ (St Ives) and Ely Marinas).

Where can we moor up along the river?

At Environment Agency 48 hour moorings, GOBA moorings (if you are a member), local authority public moorings and private visitor moorings (marinas, pubs, etc.). Be sure not to moor up on private land, fisheries or nature reserves without specific permission.

I don’t own a boat yet, where can I hire one?

If you just want a day boat, you need go no further – have a look at our hire boat page! If you would like to hire one for a few days or more, please contact Bridge Boatyard in Ely or Fox Boats in March.


I’ve never bought a boat before, how should I go about it?

If you are new to the idea of boating, we would recommend you do as much research as possible to establish what type of boat suits your purposes before parting with your hard earned cash! There are many people, books, publications, web sites and forums that offer advice on the subject and many vessel options available to you. And, when you have found what you believe to be the right boat for you, whether privately sold or through a broker, always have it surveyed before finalising its purchase.

What are the pros and cons of buying and selling privately or through a broker?

In most cases, whether buying privately or through a broker, you will be doing so ‘as seen’ with no warranty. The advantage of buying through a broker is that your money is protected in a client account until you are satisfied with the vessel and accept it. Brokers also undertake checks into the ownership, finance and VAT status of a vessel prior to it being advertised, so that you have relative certainty you are getting clear title to the vessel. Similarly, if you are selling a vessel, a broker will do your marketing, deal with all the enquiries (a time consuming activity!), negotiate the sale, prepare the agreement and Bill of Sale, conduct the river trial and help arrange the survey, collect the funds and complete the sale to the satisfaction of buyer and seller.

How much should I spend on my first boat?

As much as you can afford! This may not seem like sound advice, but as with many things in life, you get what you pay for. A cheap boat is exactly that for a reason, so unless you want a project, set yourself a realistic budget.

What will I get for my money?

As with all things, it will depend on age and condition, but you will be able to buy an older small day/weekend cruiser for £2,000 – £5,000, and a larger cabin cruiser for anything between £5,000 and £25,000. More modern vessels with improved engine economy are likely to set you back upwards of £30,000. The world of steel boats is growing fast, with older narrow boats fetching around £500 per foot, good quality used narrow boats between £800 and £1,200 per foot and similar wide beams anything between £1,000 and £1,800 per foot.

How do you value a boat?

There is no Glass’s guide to second-hand boat values, so we use a combination of experience, market research and a database of sold vessels to arrive at a valuation for a particular vessel.

Do boats depreciate?

Yes! However, this should be qualified because once a boat is no longer new, it’s residual value and rate of depreciation level off, and in many cases you can own a boat for several years and then sell it for a similar figure to that which you paid for it, provided it has been looked after.

There are many different vessels on the market, so how do I decide?

First, ask yourself a few questions; How am I going to use it (day, overnight, weekends, weeks, living aboard)?; Where am I going to use it (river, estuary, lake, sea)?; Do I want it on a mooring or on a trailer (have I somewhere to store it)?; Is performance important (eg. in tidal waters, for water sports, etc)?; Do I want inboard or outboard engine(s), petrol or diesel? What is my budget? By answering these, you will build up a picture of the type(s) of vessel(s) that match your requirements, helping you to narrow your search.

When I find the right boat, what is the buying process?

If you are buying through a broker, they will administer the whole process and will communicate with you throughout to ensure it runs smoothly. If you are buying privately, the process will be determined by what you agree with the seller; above all, you must ensure they re the legitimate owner and that any additional owners or finance companies interests are disclosed. If you are unsure about any aspect of the buying or selling process, please contact us and we will be only too pleased to help.

Can I get finance to buy a boat?

Yes, marine finance is available from specialist providers and there are links on the Boat Sales page to obtain quotes for any vessels you are interested in.

Where can I get insurance?

There are numerous marine insurance specialists and a quick internet search will bring up a selection of them. We are introducers for GJW and Knox-Johnston and links to their online quote facilities are located on the insurance page of our website.

Can I get a warranty on a pre-owned boat?

Yes, please click on the Boats & Yachts Warranty link at the foot of the page for a quote.

I have a boat to sell, what are the costs and terms for selling through Fish & Duck Marina?

Boats that are placed with us for selling and are not being used privately, can be moored at the marina for 3 months at no charge. Thereafter, provided the vessel remains solely on brokerage, the mooring fee is £2.50/foot/month.  If the boat is taken away after 3 months, there is a £150 administration fee to pay to cover our time and work in marketing the vessel. Our standard brokerage fee is 5% + VAT of the final selling price (minimum fee £500 + VAT), which is payable on completion of the sale. Vessels on brokerage with us must remain covered by 3rd party insurance and have a valid Boat Safety Certificate, but the EA will waive the requirement for the navigation licence to be renewed until the vessel changes hands provided they have been informed in advance.

This is a selection of the types of questions we are frequently asked, but if you have a specific question relating to owning, using, buying or selling a boat, please get in touch and we will be pleased to help.