Boaters Newsletter - April 2019

Welcome to David Hewitt, who has taken over as your new Navigation Manager from Dave Smart, who left in February.  Thank you to everyone who has already contacted David and made him feel so welcome. David said “I can tell already that I am going to enjoy working here at Essex Waterways and look forward to meeting more of you hopefully at our Users Meeting in April.”

April Users Meeting

Our next meeting to which you are all welcome is on Tuesday 9th April, 7pm for 7.30pm start at Langford & Ulting Village Hall, Maldon Road, Langford, Essex CM9 4SS. Please let us know any items you would like to hear discussed. We will be giving an update on works completed and plans for the rest of this year. We would be pleased to get your feedback and suggestions for the future.

Work completed

Weed Clearance

Essex Waterways and Chelmer Canal Trust completed training in the use of pesticides to help control Floating Pennywort. We will continue manual clearance as well, but this may be a useful tool to control this alien plant that would block the Navigation if left unchecked. Thank you to Chelmer Canal Trust Volunteers who were out each month clearing the weed and collecting litter. If you would like to join them for some friendship and exercise, further details can be found at or

Tree Work

EWL staff were out removing trees that fell during storm Gareth. We also removed some unsafe wood from trees at Hoe Mill, and completed a tree survey which has identified more work required elsewhere in the future.

Heybridge Basin Lock

The caisson gate is still in its reliability testing phase.  We are currently working with Essex and Suffolk Water Ltd and their contractors to iron out the final issues.  Visit the lock on spring tides to see it in operation.

Day Trips and new Kiosk

Our newly acquired trip boat ‘Blackwater Dawn’ will be offering day trips from the kiosk at the top of Daisy Meadow Car Park Steps from Easter.  Both the boat and the kiosk are now owned and operated by Essex Waterways Ltd, raising funds to support the Navigation, so please support us if you can when visiting Heybridge Basin.

Springfield Basin

We now have a waiting list of people wanting to take up residential mooring at Springfield Basin. These new boats will be arriving from April 2019.

Paper Mill Lock.

‘Victoria’ our 48 person passenger boat passed its Maritime & Coastguard Agency trials with flying colours and is taking bookings for charter trips which can be arranged for any day of the week with timings to suit hirers.

‘Victoria’ is perfect for wedding receptions, parties, celebrations and group outings. The hire includes a qualified skipper and crew. A licensed bar is available. Also available as a static venue for parties & meetings at Paper Mill Lock.

For more information or to book ‘Victoria’ please call Sue Clift on 07507 055021 or Sarah Phillips on 01245 226 245, email or go to

’Albert’ our other small trip boat will be operating from Paper Mill Lock taking up to 12 passengers and also available for charter trips from May or June.

Emergency Repairs

In February we undertook emergency repairs to Paper Mill Lock after the gate was lifted off its hinge by a boat travelling up the lock. The bow of the boat drifted forward and into the gate as it was rising up. The lock had to be dammed and drained to allow the repairs.

Important reminder to everyone using the lock that boats need to keep clear of the cill when going down but also keep clear of the gates when rising up or going down to avoid expensive and dangerous damage to both the lock and your boat.

Landing Stages

A number of landing stages have been repaired and/or replaced.

Long Pond

A dredging project was completed between Beeleigh and Chapmans Bridge.

Work Planned

Rushes Lock. 

Rushes Lock (the first lock downstream from Paper Mill) is to have gates replaced starting 25th March and will take about 4 weeks. Obviously, during this time the Navigation will be closed to boats at Rushes until the work is completed.

Important Information

Volunteers wanted!

We are always looking for volunteers to come and help maintain the Navigation.  From crewing our trip boats to cutting grass and hedges or maintaining landing stages,  a wide variety of jobs await and volunteer roles can be tailored to suit.  Please contact the Navigation Manager.

Key Facts

Alongside the usual documents, new customers to the Navigation will be issued with a ‘KEY FACTS’ sheet.  This is a quick and convenient introduction and reference to those all-important sections contained within our mooring agreement.  Can all existing customers please also be reminded of these points;

  • Mooring – you cannot sell your mooring with your vessel
  • Lock gate setting – please leave locks full and top paddles half open
  • Landing stages – do not alter without consent
  • Speed limit – 4mph
  • Insurance – certificate must be provided
  • Angling – not permitted from the bank between boats


Permanent moorings on the Navigation are almost at current capacity. As above, if you plan to buy or sell a boat please ensure that you contact the Navigation Manager well in advance to facilitate mooring.

Social Scene

We would like to see more of you at our social meetings.  Chelmsford branch IWA Socials are held at:

The Galleywood Heritage Centre,
The Common, Galleywood, Chelmsford, CM2 8TR
Time: 19:45 for 20:00

Thursday 11th April
Athina Beckett - The Buckingham Canal Society

Thursday 9th May
Adrian Wright – Railways to the Seaside

Sunday 5th May – Coach trip to IWA Canalway Cavalcade at Little Venice, London - contact

Wildlife Sightings

Essex Wildlife Trust is keen for us to report any sightings of Mink as part of their Essex Mink and Water Vole Project 2019. Please contact the EWT River Catchment Coordinator if you can help.  We would love to see pictures of your wildlife sightings please send them to the Navigation Manager, contact details below or message us on Facebook.

Staff Changes

We are pleased to welcome Tony Fallon and Amy Saddington as new residential caretakers at Sandford and Heybridge respectively.

Welcome to Derek Boswell (Del) who was working as part time skipper on Victoria last year but joins us full time this year as Operations Manager for all our trip boats and additional caretaker at Paper Mill Lock. Please give Del a wave as you see him ferrying all our passengers around the Navigation this summer.

Jane Basil and Ian May are joining us for the summer season to man the kiosk at Heybridge Basin, so do pay them a visit too, and Julie Burge will be joining to provide some administration assistance at Heybridge Basin during the busy summer period.

Contact Us

Navigation Manager, David Hewitt 07966 375351

Heybridge Lockkeeper, Grant Everiss 07712 079764,

Chelmer Cruises, Sue Clift 07507 055021, or Sarah Phillips (as below)

Administrative Assistant, Sarah Phillips, 01245 226245,

Essex Waterways Ltd. no longer has a separate out of hours emergency line. We will shortly be updating our emergency response plans and sharing this with the emergency services as appropriate.