Boat owners accustomed to freely navigating London's narrow canals will have to pay to moor near Olympic sites during the 2012 Games, fuelling fears by some that they are being pushed out by unprecedented security measures.

London's police will close a handful of boating routes near the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, in the east of the capital, and put in place a controlled zone covering some canals.

British Waterways, which manages the canals, will introduce mooring charges during the July 27-August 12 Olympics and the Paralympics that follow.

A lot of people on the boats are definitely feeling as if we are being excluded, Steve Hatch, 59, a retired fireman who lives on a narrow boat while moving around London's canals, told Reuters.

Whenever you look at any publicity about the Olympics, they show nice pictures of the canals and the stadium itself with boats in the background.

So they want to use us as a backdrop for the Olympics and what they are projecting for London, the East End and Stratford, but they don't want us to be there as it happens.

London's meandering canals pierce through much of the East End of the city, with some passing less than 100 metres from the Olympic Stadium.

Some 3,500 vessels are estimated to operate as 'continuous boaters', run by individuals who do not have a permanent mooring and can generally stay along the canals for free as long as they move on every 14 days.

However, for 10 weeks this year, they will need to buy a mooring licence if they want to be near Olympic sites, with prices starting from around 50 pounds per week.

British Waterways said those with permanent moorings would not be affected.

We have 35,000 boats on our canals and people from all over the country have shown an interest in coming to London for the Olympics. We have to ensure the moorings and wider security are managed effectively, a spokesman said.

We are not looking to make any money out of this. We are just looking to cover our operational costs.

(Editing by Clare Fallon)