Frequently Asked Questions


How Does It work?

Calling RCR’s Emergency number puts you directly through to the RCR breakdown control centre. Our highly trained staff will assess your situation and organise the required assistance and work to resolve your problem quickly and effectively. The control centre will dispatch an RCR engineer to your location, pass messages to family or friends and also arrange for any provisions you require to be picked up. The RCR control centre will keep you up to date with any relevant information and the estimated time of arrival of the RCR engineer. The average response between the control centre receiving your call and the RCR engineer arriving at your location is approximately 4 hours.

What information will the RCR control centre require from me when I contact the emergency number?

If I breakdown and I am not a member can I join?

You can still join but you will have to join at the minimum of the silver level and there is a one off call out charge of £100 (non-refundable) for joining on a breakdown. Membership is normally activated 72 hours from when an application is received, so it is cheaper to join RCR before you breakdown. A surcharge of £30 is applicable for callouts within the M25 ring, due to the additional costs of parking, congestion charges, emission charges etc.

Where do RCR cover?


RCR offers cover on all inland navigable Rivers and Canals in the UK.

There are restrictions on tidal estuaries. However if you are safely moored and accessible we will still attend even on tidal stretches (see terms and conditions).

RCR offers full cover on the tidal stretch of the River Trent and have a permanently stationed launch to provide assistance from Newark to Keadby.

Who is covered the boat or the member?

Under the Gold level you can chose either for the vessel to be the member, so any user on the registered vessel is covered or for the member to be covered on any boat.

Under the Bronze and Silver level the member is the registered user and covered for the registered vessel only. Silver membership does allow you to add one other registered user. This can only be changed once per year upon renewal.

Under the Retainer level the vessel is the member so any one is covered for breakdowns under this level.

If you do break down and find that you are not covered e.g. you’re a Bronze member and have lent your vessel to a friend and it has broken down without you onboard, you can still contact us for assistance we will charge a callout fee of £50. We can then upgrade your membership if required at a later date.

Do you cover Hire boats, Shared ownership & Charity Vessels?

Yes we do cover these types of vessels through our Retainer membership, however if you would like Gold membership please speak with our office and depending on the age and condition of the vessel we may be able to offer Gold Membership. However you can still add replacement parts cover to your retainer membership.

What are the benefits of joining RCR? 

RCR provides its members with Breakdown and Recovery Assistance Nationally 24hrs, 365 days a year. With RCR there are no hourly charges or callout charges and we offer four levels of membership to suit all requirements and needs.

RCR provides the following benefits with its memberships:


What are the pay on use services?

All RCR members have access to a number of exclusive pay on use services such as:-

The RCR Guaranteed Servicing, which is available at a set price and with money back guarantee that new parts are exchanged during a service.

The RCR Maintenance Courses , a time table of up to date courses are available on the website and will be included in your membership pack,  all courses are held at RCR’s head office in Stafford. It is possible to arrange courses at different locations around the country if enough interest is expressed.

Personal Boat Transportation RCR can provide an RYA trained person to cruise your craft back to your chosen location, should you have any difficulties on your travels.

What does “Discretionary services” mean?

Whilst River Canal Rescue will endeavour to provide the services contracted for, because of the variety of circumstances involved, and in particular the condition of the vessel upon which they are attending, River Canal Rescue have to maintain absolute discretion as to whether to provide the contracted services. Examples of our need to use our discretion could include unfavourable weather, seaworthiness of the vessel, inaccessible location, daylight hours, condition of vessel and repeated calls for the same fault. In cases where we choose not provide any services other than for reasons beyond our control or where you are in breach of your agreement with us we will cancel your membership and provide a full refund of the membership fee.

However other cases of us needing to use our discretion may include spending more time on site than provided by your membership, and for parts detailed under Replacement Parts cover (RPC) we may offer to cover the cost of labour to repair/replace parts that have not failed through ‘sudden mechanical failure’ . In all situations we also take in to account the members history with us when deciding on providing additional benefits.

This list is not exhaustive but illustrates why Our service is discretionary.