Coming soon!

Milton Keynes Community Boat - Electra


Inspired by the success of the John Bunyan boat in Bedford, and informed by other Trusts’ small trip boats,  the BMK Waterway Trust will launch the Milton Keynes Community Boat in late spring 2021. It’s called a Community Boat because it is run entirely by volunteers, and it is open to everyone.

Electra is a brand-new 12-guest, fully-electric, 54-foot narrowboat. It has full disabled access, with a lift and a toilet that take wheelchairs.

The name means ‘shining light’. Electra was the goddess of sea clouds, in which lightning is often seen, so it seemed a great choice for an all-electric boat and its sparky volunteer team.

Electra will operate out of the new Campbell Wharf development in the heart of Milton Keynes and offer cruises on the Grand Union Canal towards Cosgrove and Fenny Stratford. It will offer public cruises, private charters, seasonal specials and ‘park & parish cruises’ for local communities.

Advance booking information will be available during April 2021.

Volunteers wanted!

The Milton Keynes Community Boat will have a crew of two or three people: a Skipper on the helm, a Cabin Host to welcome and cater for passengers, and on longer, night, locking and party cruises an Assistant to help both the Skipper and the Cabin Host.

We are still looking to recruit volunteers for the 2021 season, and in particular we want to hear from people who may like to be a Cabin Host – it’s a great people-facing role, out and about on the water.

Behind every successful boat crew is a ‘Shore based team’ with all kinds of skills including IT, sales, marketing, PR, admin, finance, community outreach, management, maintenance, and training.

We’re currently recruiting to both land team roles and boat crew roles. If you are interested in finding out more about volunteering roles in this exciting new project please contact the MK Community Boat Chair at

What will the MK boat be like?

The boat will be one of the first all-electric community narrowboats in the country, giving passengers the unique experience of gliding along the water. People can take relaxed time out in nature; see the city landscape, art and parks from a different angle, and find out about the BMK Waterway Park at its starting point in Milton Keynes.

The boat will have a covered open bow area so people can stand out and take the air, a saloon area with seating for 12, galley for café/bar services plus a wheelchair-access toilet and lift for less mobile passengers.


To see the latest photos of how we are progressing in building our new community boat click View Progress button

  • View Progress
  • Halseyon Days built by Colecraft (photos courtesty of the Baldwin Trust) show some key features of the MK Community Boat: disabled-access lift, cabin interior with large windows for viewing, and covered open bow area. Note: our interior and exterior livery are still under discussion.


Please help to float the MK Community Boat!


The Milton Keynes Community Boat will cost £140,000 ex VAT, plus further costs to get the boat fully equipped, crew qualified, and all operations set up ready to trade.

Construction of the boat has been fully funded by a combination of contributions from the Trust, Trust members, Section 106 funding from Milton Keynes Council and a grant from Milton Keynes Community Foundation. The construction contract has been awarded to Colecraft Ltd and build will take place October 2020 – March 2021.

Initial costs of crew training, equipment and accreditation, and a community outreach pilot, have been covered by the Postcode Community Trust, a charity funded by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery.

Fundraising is ongoing to support the final set-up costs involved in fully equipping the galley and cabin for cruising,  compiling a maintenance kit, and creating  a suite of marketing and sales materials in a range of media.  Individual or group donations towards these costs will be very gratefully received. Donations can be made below. To find out what is still needed, please contact to request a current list.

Every donation helps. These can be made online and can be Gift Aided too.

Why is the Trust doing this?

The Milton Keynes Community Boat will give the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust a presence at the heart of the city, in the newly developed Campbell Wharf area.

The boat will cruise on the Grand Union canal through eleven parishes and many areas of parkland from Fenny Stratford to Cosgrove, where it will:

  • raise the profile of the Trust at the western end of the route
  • bring in new Trust members and volunteers in Milton Keynes
  • raise additional funds to enable the work of the Trust
  • enable residents and visitors to make more use of the canal and the parks it runs through
  • help to improve the canalscape and increase community activity along the route
  • demonstrate the local health, economic and social benefits that waterway parks can bring

Find out more

View our News & Events page for details of the next public meeting. All are welcome.

Bedford and Milton Keynes Waterways Trust invite local residents to come and find out more about the Trust and the project, and help shape the cruising plans for the Community Boat. Where would you like to go by boat in Milton Keynes on the canal? What would you like to do?

The team is keen to meet local people who are interested in the project and would like to share their ideas and experiences, and maybe get involved – there are many different volunteering opportunities and the chance to get involved in an exciting project from the outset.

For more information contact the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterways Trust at

There’s enthusiastic support for the Milton Keynes Community Boat … please join us!

Founding Sponsors & Supporters

Founding Sponsors