A guide to residential living

Postal Address

As a BWML residential customer, you will be pro-vided with a registered UK address and a post box. BWML will also accept parcels on your behalf but we do put a size limit on what parcels we will accept and it is not possible for our staff to accept delivery of white goods or large screen TV’s.

Television Aerials, Satellite Dishes and Wind Generators

Every effort should be made to ensure that television aerials, satellite dishes and wind generators are erected in a manner that makes them as in-conspicuous as their design allows for whilst your boat is in the marina. Approval from the local Manager/Supervisor should be sought prior to installation where such items are to be fixed to a BWML structure.

Winter months

If this is going to be your first winter on board your boat you will need to take the following into consideration:

  • A water supply cannot be guaranteed during freezing conditions although.
  • Pontoons get slippery when there is a frost. BWML staff will where possible grit pontoons, and provide grit for you to use.
  • The marina may ice over restricting any boat movement.
  • Pump out equipment and elsan disposal can freeze up during cold periods.
  • It is possible that the water tanks on board boats can freeze.
  • Longer dark nights will require additional care when walking on pontoons.
  • If you burn solid fuel, then please use the correct fuel and please do not stock pile fuel on the pontoons.

Summer months

Do be considerate to your neighbours, excessive noise will travel a considerable distance over water. Please keep barbecues to designated areas and not on pontoons. If inviting family and friends to your boat, please remember that you are responsible for their con-duct and safety. Please also bear in mind our land based neighbours both in the summer and winter.

The Water System

The water tank will need filling frequently and you will soon learn how to save water when washing up or having a shower. Hosepipes should be drained down and stored away from sunlight so as not to encourage algae growth within the hose pipe. Keeping hosepipes permanently connected to the water taps on bollards contravenes the Water Sup-ply (Water Fittings) Regulations, 1999.

Brown Waste

It is illegal to discharge any sewage into the marina and all sea toilet seacocks should be closed when berthed in a BWML marina to ensure there is no accidental discharge. Consider a holding tank if using a sea-going craft for residential purposes, rather than face the possible prosecution by the Environment Agency. Elsan disposal points are available for portable toilets systems, and do not empty cassettes into the marina or toilets. Even if you have a pump out fitted, it is worth considering a ‘cassette’ style toilet for the winter months as marinas do freeze over. Currently, composting toilets are not permitted in BWML marinas under the current waste transfer laws.

Grey Waste

Grey water discharge from sinks, showers and washing machines or even dishwashers can be discharged into the marina, but this has a potential damaging effect to aquatic life, and impact on the environment in general.

Most washing detergents contain phosphates creating the ideal environment for rapid algae growth. Over time, this causes restricted navigation within the marina, oxygen depletion when the algae die and start to break down, fish and other aquatic life suffocate. Most washing up liquids and soaps will also contain a degreasing agent that can remove the natural oils from the gills of fish making it difficult for them to breathe.

To minimise your impact, try phosphate free deter-gents such as Ecover who provide a wide range of laundry and cleaning products. Also remember that when washing down the outside of your boat to also use none phosphate products.

Bilge Water

This can become a serious problem when contami-nated with either engine oil or diesel, and bilges should be inspected before any water is discharged into the marina.
If you have an automatic bilge pump, then the bilges should be inspected weekly. If the water is contaminated, then this should be re-moved via containers and taken to your local recycling centre for disposal; please do not leave it in the bin areas of the marina.

Washing/Drying of Clothes

It is not permitted to hang washing out to dry on either boats or pontoons, if a drying area has been allocated then this should be used.

Domestic Waste

BWML provide domestic waste and recycling bins. Please ensure that the appropriate bins are used and that cross contamination does not happen, as this will result in all waste going to landfill. Any waste beyond domestic, such as mattresses, oil, wood and metal white goods must be taken to the local waste recycling plant as BWML are unable to dispose of these on your behalf.

Electricity Supply

Electricity supply is far less than in a house and will restrict what appliances can be used at any one time, requiring effect management of the use of household appliances, as too many at one time can easily lead to overloading of the bollard, which will trip it out and potentially affect other users. Electricity supply cannot be guaranteed to the marina, therefore in the event of loss of supply, boats should have a level of self-sufficiency such like batteries.

Refuelling Boats

All refuelling should be undertaken via a designated fuel dispensing pump. BWML will allow fuel barge’s access to Limehouse and Poplar Dock marinas to refuel boats; please talk to your marina team about bookings.

Boat Handling

If you are new to boating, we would suggest that you book yourself on a RYA Helmsman course. BWML are part of the RYA active marina programme and we offer a wide variety of courses, some are even free. Ask in your marina office for more information.

Burning Solid Fuel

Most boat stoves are multi-fuel and can burn a wide range of fuels (household coal should not be burnt in smoke controlled areas), so what is the ideal fuel to use? We would always encourage boaters to burn smokeless fuel, whether you are moored within a smoke controlled area or not. There are many brands of solid smokeless fuel some of the most popular are:

  • Taybrite
  • Phurnacite
  • Homefire
  • Newheat
  • Excel


If burning wood this should be well seasoned and dry with a moisture content of less than 25%. Waste wood should be avoided and not used as this is likely to contain chemicals that will be emit-ted during the burning process and these will be toxic and may cause ill health as well as polluting the local environment.

Although boats are not covered by the clean air act as such, they are by the smoke that is emitted during the burning process, and referred to as dark smoke within the Clean Air Act (1993)*, measured by the “Ringelmann Chart”. This chart is used by local councils to determine if smoke emissions are contravening The Clean Air Act (1993). The smoke being emitted should not be darker than No2 on the chart.

Ringelmann Chart Ringelmann Chart

* UK: The Clean Air Act (1993) prohibits the emission of dark smoke from all industrial premises and from domestic premises in designated smoke control areas, but allows a defence that the heating equipment was cold and being first lit.


Please inform your marina if you have a pet or are intending to get one. Please see our information about dogs on our marinas.

You might also find our Residential moorings guide helpful.