Endaxei, my second boat, was a Wilderness trailable boat, registered 75356 in 1983.

If you spot an old boat on the waterways and you want to find its age it is helpful to know that the registration numbers were allocated in batches. This list, arranged chronologically, gives the dates these numbers were first registered on British Waterways waters.

The batch numbers come from the Inland Boat Owners Book published in 2000 with some additional observations, mostly from Pete Harrison. Note that there are some anomalies which may include infilling of previously unused numbers, or possibly the numbers of scrapped boats.

3xxxx GRP boats before 1995

60000 to 60010 allocated for no obvious reason between 1987 and 1990

60011 to 70561 1980/1

77500 to 77599 1980/1

77700 to 79999 1980/1

76000 to 77499 1982

77600 to 77699 1982

73000 to 73099 1983

75000 to 75399 1983

70562 to 71580 1984

71581 to 72567 1985

72568 to 72599 1986

73100 to 73800 1986

72600 to 72999 1987

73801 to 74856 1987

45501 to 45505 1988

74857 to 74999 1988

75400 to 75999 1988

45506 to 47299 1989

47300 to 49586 1990

49587 to 51320 1991

51321 to 52606 1992

52607 to 53554 1993

At about this date a six digit 1xxxxx series was introduced which was mainly used for GRP boats, but also for some wooden boats.

53555 to 54394 1994

54395 to 55000 1995

At this point a six digit 5xxxxx series was introduced for steel boats.

500010 to 500398 1995

500399 to 501364 1996

501365 to 502357 1997

In June 1997 Douglas E. Maas published his book, Inland Waterways Boat Listing. This contains quite a large directory of registered boats, some with additional information supplied by the owners. Regrettably it cannot be searched by number, only by name.

502358 to 503369 1998

503370 to 504424 1999

504425 and above were issued from 2000 onwards.

The CanalPlan website has a Boat Listing page where you can search the details of over 100,000 boats registered on the Inland Waterways of England and Wales. This is the same database that was previously on Jim Shead’s Waterways website. The database allows you to search by registration number or by name. It is updated once a year.