DBA The Barge Association  aims to:

  • Promote interest in barging
  • Be the representative body for non-commercial barging
  • Be the premier source of barging information
  • Establish contact with and influence other relevant clubs, societies, navigation authorities and trade associations.
  • Keep members informed on all barge related topics
  • Facilitate communication between members to provide the opportunity for discussion of all aspects of barging. 

Detailed policies agreed by the board to forward these aims are listed here.


DBA The Barge Association  was formed in 1992 by a small group of barge owners, interested in their use for pleasure cruising and living aboard. 

The earliest Members' vessels were converted ex-commercial cargo barges, typically Dutch because the Netherlands was (and still is) the best source of suitable sized craft, 20 to 38 metres. These converted vessels, many destined for the scrap yard, were given a new lease of life by providing comfortable living accommodation with all the amenities of any land based residence.  Owing to their size, too big for most UK canal system, most were based in the Thames or on continental waterways.

In recent years, Barge Association members' vessels are more likely to be new-builds designed specifically for living aboard and based on the traditional barge or the more modern cruiser style. The new-builds tend to be a little smaller than the conversions, typically below 20 metres. Whilst being more compact they don't lose out in comfort or amenities due to modern materials and building techniques.

Owners of smaller boats, which share many of the same needs as barges, are also welcome to join DBA since much the same skills and knowledge are needed whatever the boat's size, particularly for cruising on the continent.

Why 'DBA - The Barge Association'?

We started as the 'Dutch Barge Association' because the founder members had Dutch barges. With newer members owning English, French and other converted barges - or modern barges, specifically designed for cruising from builders such as Branson, Bluewater, Sagar, Euroships, SFR and Piper it made sense to drop the 'Dutch' - but the familiar 'DBA' was kept.  So formally we are 'DBA - The Barge Association' but  in conversation we are either 'DBA' or 'The Barge Association'  - but we are NOT the 'dutch barge association' or 'the DBA'. 

The formal stuff

DBA - The Barge Association is a not-for-profit organisation formed in 1992.  The association relies entirely on the voluntary contributions of its mangement team and members. Volunteers represent the membership at both government and non-government levels within the UK & Europe.

Formally, DBA - The Barge Association is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England, No 2683943.  The company's constitution is set out in the Memorandum and Articles of Association.  Registered Office is at Cormorant, Spade Oak Reach, Cookham, MAIDENHEAD, SL6 9RQ and VAT Registration No is 897752373.


Neither DBA nor its management can guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information on this web site. They will not accept any liability for anything resulting from the use or dissemination of information provided. The information is provided primarily for the benefit of DBA members. Any companies and/or services mentioned on this site are NOT recommendations by DBA, and neither the existence nor the quality of their services has been approved or verified by DBA.

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