IWA Bulletin - August 2018

Quicklinks: IWA Member Discounts


Thousands of people flocked to Regatta Meadow in St Neots over the August Bank Holiday weekend to enjoy the spectacular IWA Festival of Water, our annual event that this year came to the River Great Ouse in Cambridgeshire.

A total of 100 boats took part in the event, with some having travelled from the furthest reaches of the connected waterways, via the River Nene and the Middle Level Navigations, to join boats based on the Great Ouse for the festival.

The Sunday evening procession of illuminated boats was followed by an impressive firework display contributed by St Neots Town Council, who gave their wholehearted support for this Festival.

As well as the colourful display of boats, attractions at the three-day event included boat trips on board the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust's John Bunyan trip boat, the chance to have a go at canoeing and stand up paddle boarding, live music, craft stalls, classic cars, children's rides and the chance to drive a digger under the guidance of restoration experts from IWA's Waterway Recovery Group.

Awards were given to Festival attendees, including boaters that had travelled nearly 900 lock miles, the best illuminated boats, and most locks worked as well as a children's colouring competition. Congratulations to all of our IWA Festival of Water Award winners - see the full list of award winners.

Jane Elwell, Chairman of IWA's Events Team, said: "We chose St Neots for the 2018 IWA Festival of Water because waterways in the Anglian Region are a focal point for a number of IWA's current campaigns. Two new waterways to boost the region are planned, whilst a number of navigable waterways in the Anglian Region are under threat."

We are campaigning for increased funding from Government for the waterways managed by the Environment Agency, including the River Great Ouse, which have been starved of funding for a number of years.

The proposed new Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Park would provide a new 16 mile link from the Grand Union Canal in Milton Keynes to the River Great Ouse in Bedford. As well as creating regeneration opportunities for local communities along its route, it would also provide a strategic connection to the waterways of East Anglia.

Another brand new waterway linking the River Witham in Boston to the River Nene in Peterborough was launched at the event, as the northern part of the original Fens Waterways Link. The Boston to Peterborough Wetland Corridor project is being reinvented to overcome funding and logistical issues and IWA is working with EA and Lincolnshire County Council to drive the project forward. The link would open up a new cruising, cycling and pedestrian route, a wetland corridor and bring welcome economic regeneration to areas along the route.

Next year, IWA's Festival of Water will take place at Lee Valley Park, Waltham Abbey on the Lee Navigation. Find out more and book your mooring and campsite pitch.


IWA's Annual Members' Meeting will take place on 29th September at 10.00am at Maidenhill School, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire. Doors open at 9.30am for refreshments. The 59th Annual General Meeting forms part of the day and begins at 11.30am.

Photo: Ebley Mill. Photo by Mike Gallagher.

We hope that meeting attendees will be able to spare a full day as in the afternoon, due to IWA's excellent relationship with Cotswold Canals Trust, our members have been offered tours of Ebley Mill and a guided walk to Wallbridge Lock which was opened earlier this year by HRH Prince Charles.

The morning meeting will include a presentation by WRG chairman and IWA trustee Mike Palmer on the launch of a new report which hails the value of Waterways in Progress. Ebley Mill is one of the several case studies detailed in the report, an area transformed as part of £115m of investment to excavate the canal, build 550 new houses and create over 770 jobs.

Lunch is free but must be booked in advance. There is some car parking at the school for those with limited mobility which should also be booked, and there is plenty of on-street parking in the area.

Stroud is a beautiful location with lots of excellent attractions and we may have a surprise in store for those who come along to the meeting. See you in the Cotswolds.

Reserve your seat and lunch and to view a copy of IWA's Annual Report and Financial Statements for 2017.


One narrow boat made it through the Old Bedford Sluice at Salter's Lode for the campaign cruise on the Old Bedford River in the lead up to IWA's Festival of Water at St Neots. Two other narrow boats and a 22ft sailing yacht, which had crossed The Wash to take part, also attempted to get through the sluice gate, but failed despite valiant efforts by all concerned. These attempts took place over three different tidal windows when a level was reached, to allow passage through the single guillotine gate, but the tidal entrance was too shallow and silted to allow any but the shallowest draughted boat through.

Photo: Flotilla reaches the closed lock at Welches Dam. Photo by Mike Daines.

Narrow boat Lily May (owned and crewed by IWA Eastern Region Chairman, Chris Howes, and his wife, Christine Colbert) was joined by three portable craft which were put directly into the Old Bedford River by the sluice gate at Salter's Lode, and so a flotilla of four boats set off and reached Welney, about half way along the navigation, by the Sunday evening.

On the Monday morning the four boats continued their journey along the Old Bedford River, encountering much more weed along this section which made the passage slower, and arrived at the closed lock at Welches Dam soon after midday, where other supporters had gathered to watch the boats arrive. Those viewing the flotilla from the bank included some of the boaters who had been unsuccessful in getting through the sluice, the crew of a boat who had arrived at the other end of the Horseway Channel, and a TV news reporter with camera and drone. After photos and interviews had taken place, the flotilla returned the way they had come, and Lily May successfully passed back through the Old Bedford Sluice on the ebbing tide on Monday evening.

The cruise was organised to highlight two main campaigning issues - the continued closure of Welches Dam Lock, and the difficulties in accessing the Old Bedford River, a statutory navigation, from the tidal Ouse.

We would like to thank the following for their help: Fox Narrowboats, Lamb & Flag PH at Welney, Welney Angling Club, Middle Level Watermens Club, Middle Level Commissioners and the Environment Agency. Staff from EA and MLC who assisted the flotilla cruise at Denver, Salters Lode and the Old Bedford sluice deserve special mention.


We have responded to the Environment Agency's consultation on proposed navigation charge increases, which would see some boaters paying over 30% more for their licence over 3 years, by asking EA to reconsider its proposals.

EA intends to continue the high percentage increases that it implemented for 2018-19 for the next two years. It's fair to say that regular increases in boat registration charges are necessary, but we believe that these should be in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) only. To put this into perspective the July 2018 CPI was 2.3%. The proposed increases are likely to start pricing some boaters away from EA navigations, with a potential resulting loss of income due to less boats being registered.  On the Thames, where it is relatively easy for boats to relocate to other adjacent non-EA waterways, and for larger craft to move to the continent or UK coast or estuaries, registrations have dropped from 20,490 at the end of 2011 to 17,149 at the end of 2016, and on the Medway, the number of registrations has dropped from 1,827 to 1,678 over the same period. 

The increased cost of registering a boat is likely to deter people, especially families and young people, from getting involved with boating in the first place, and potentially lead to an increase in registration fee evasion.

The proposed increases, which are the same percentages which were applied for the current year, are 5.7% on the River Thames, 7.5% on Anglian Waterways and 10% on the Medway. The level of increase across all EA waterways should be CPI, since in all likelihood anything above this will be expropriated by government through further reducing EA's Grant in Aid funding.

The differing percentage increases across the 3 different waterway areas is divisive and the level of increase across all EA waterways should be the same.

We have already offered support with EA's Navigating Forward Strategy and look forward to working constructively by offering our support and help with projects that will allow EA's navigation team to increase its income without disenfranchising boat owners and pricing them off the waterways.

EA needs more funding in order to continue to maintain existing levels of navigation maintenance and service, but the high increases proposed to registration fees is not the way to retain vibrant waterways alive with boats, with all their associated benefits to the economy, communities, and the wider population, and that more financial support from government through Defra is required.

See our response to the EA Registration Fee Consultation.


One of our strengths is our wealth of experience and breadth of expertise. Across the charity we have a number of planning officers who offer advice and respond to consultations where proposed plans might affect the waterways. This could be a development on a waterway that you boat or walk along, a derelict waterway with hopes to be restored or even a proposed new link.

To enable us to offer more support to volunteers and groups with planning problems and issues affecting waterways in their areas, we have now established a Planning Advisory Panel. The Panel is able to offer professional advice on a wide range of planning matters including Development Plans, Neighbourhood Plans, Planning Applications and Planning Appeals - or just provide an opinion on whether planning permission is required.

Find out more or get in touch with the Planning Advisory Panel.


The Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) is running a consultation, which will affect boats seeking BSS certification from 2019. The proposals include a mandatory requirement to have suitable Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms in good condition in suitable locations on boats with accommodation spaces.

BSS is a safety initiative to help minimise the risk of boat fires, explosions, or pollution harming users of the inland waterways. Most navigation authorities require its boating customers to have a BSS Certificate. The changes will affect all classes of examination, private boats, boats used for day or period hire and the Non-private Boat Standards (2002). If the proposals are implemented, checks for alarms will begin in April 2019.

We are fully supportive of this initiative. The intended benefits include:

  • helping prevent CO poisoning of people and their pets aboard boats
  • helping protect first-responders, emergency services, BSS examiners, waterways staff or other workers on, or in the immediate vicinity of the boat
  • preventing death or injury to boat owners placed at risk in their own boats from running the boat's engines or appliances
  • making craft occupants aware of moderate levels of CO which can be a long-term threat to health if left undetected
  • helping prevent CO poisoning fatalities and injuries to tenants on boats who may be at higher risk from CO poisoning.

See a list of CO alarms recommended as suitable for boats. It is also important that CO alarms are fitted in the right place. Best practice placement guidance can be found in the CO Safety on Boats leaflet

Suitable smoke alarms are already mandatory for boats with overnight accommodation offered for self-drive leisure hire.

Boaters are encouraged to respond to the consultation by Friday 9th November 2018.

Find out more about the proposals and make comments on the Boat Safety Scheme website


Work with us - we're looking to recruit a new campaign team member who can drive forward our campaigns programme and amplify our work through the media.

Key responsibilities will include:

  • Working with the team to identify key issues affecting inland waterways and/or their users that can be developed into effective campaigns
  • Undertaking reviews and analysis of evidence to inform the development, delivery and evaluation of our policy and campaigns work
  • Scoping, developing and writing relevant policy/campaigning documents
  • Devising and implementing media strategies and identifying key media opportunities
  • Drafting and distributing media releases, media comments and editorial features
  • Cultivating new and nurturing existing media contacts, building IWA's credibility and establishing effective working relationships with journalists across the media.

Salary will be £25,000 to £30,000 depending on experience per annum on a pro rata basis plus 7% pension contribution. The role will require at least 21 hours per week over 4 days based at our Head Office in Chesham, Buckinghamshire.

Find out more and apply


IWA's 2019 Festival of Water will take place on the Lee Valley Showground, part of the unique Lee Valley Country Park. The Park is home to some of the most iconic 2012 Olympic venues and for those attending by boat, the Festival offers the opportunity to cruise the recently reopened Bow Back Rivers and visit the termini of the rural Lee and the tranquil Stort navigations.

Photo: Lee Navigation. Photo by Mike Newman.

150 boats will line the Lee Navigation at Waltham Abbey. A full weekend of fun for boaters, campers and all who love spending time by the water. Exhibitors, traders and caterers will be joined by a variety of attractions, both on and off the water, making for a lovely day or weekend out for all the family.

Follow the event on Facebook for updates.

Reserve your mooring or campsite pitch today.


Take a look at our latest range of branded merchandise items for you or a loved one. New for this year, we have bunting, burgees, baseball caps and cotton tees.

NEW IWA Burgee £18.99
IWA burgee for your boat. White logo on a blue, green or red background, with toggle and tie line. The dimensions are 48cm (w) x 24cm (h). Decotex polyester material.

NEW IWA Bunting £19.99
10m length double sided bunting showing 4 designs. Bunting is suitable for outdoor use. 610gsm PVC. 24 pennants 20cm(w) x 30cm(h).

NEW IWA Cap - £9.99
100% cotton drill. Rip-Strip™ size adjuster. Available in Navy, Red, Royal Blue and Green.

A limited number of new cotton IWA T-Shirts in Navy, Red, Royal Blue and Green are available for £6 - please email iwaclothing@waterways.org.uk for details, availability to order or to express an interest in alternative sizes. All other items can be found at IWAShop.com along with polo shirts, sweatshirts, fleeces and waterproof jackets.


IWA Shrewsbury District & North Wales Branch held its seventh annual lock wind at Hurleston Locks at the entrance to the Llangollen Canal in mid-August. Five boats gathered for the customary barbecue the evening before the event and more volunteers came by car from across Shropshire and North Wales. With 16 enthusiastic helpers at various stages over the weekend, volunteers were able to work boats through the bottom three locks on the four-lock flight for most of the time, and also sell home-made produce as well as Christmas cards and calendars to appreciative passing boaters. In total the lock wind raised more than £500 in donations and sales.

Interrupted access to the Llangollen Canal for many craft due to the breach at Middlewich didn't prevent boat numbers being slightly up on last year, with close to 100 boats being worked over almost three days. Pleasingly, despite numerous concerns about the shrinking width of Hurleston Bottom Lock, no boats got stuck though one or two probably came close, including one whose owner applied washing up liquid to ease his boat out of the lock. Hopefully the planned remedial works this winter to the towpath-side lock wall and the towpath groundworks will resolve the problems for many years to come.


Volunteers from IWA North Staffordshire and South Cheshire joined forces with the Trent & Mersey Canal Society to carry out a Canal Cleanup day on 19th July this Summer. Five volunteers gave over 28 hours in total to work on Locks 57 & 58 , at Hassall Green on the Trent & Mersey Canal. At Lock 58 the volunteers painted the Lock Numbers on the previously painted balance beams which completed off the renovation work at this particular lock. And on Lock 57, volunteers painted preservative on the post and rail fence parallel to the lock chamber. They also prepped metalwork and paddle gear ready for painting and managed to find time to do some litter picking as well.

Get involved with IWA North Staffs & Cheshire Branch work parties.


Volunteers in IWA West Country Branch have been extremely busy over the last few weeks. On Wednesday 18th July a group of volunteers from National Dairy company, Muller Dairies, along to one of our Canal Cleanup days to pull up Himalayan balsam in Bridgwater, Somerset. Employees were given a brief talk on how to find the invasive plant, how to pull it up and how to dispose of it and then they set work. As well as clearing large areas of vegetation, the team collected five large bags of rubbish.

The following Wednesday, staff joined us from Muller again and worked hard to clear the weeds from block paved area around Newtown Lock where the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal joins the Bridgwater Docks.

Get involved with IWA West Country Branch work parties.


Many of the offers below can be claimed simply by using your IWA membership card.  For others, log in or phone the membership team on 01494 783453 for details.

Please note: All discounts and offers are entirely at the organisers' discretion.

Enjoy the Waterways Through Hire Boats and Leisure

ABC Boat Hire - 15% discount on holidays (Direct Bookings Only)
Blackwater Boats - 10% discount on boat trips
CanalCruising.co.uk - 10% discount on holidays
Canal Boat Magazine - 5 issues for £5.00
City Centre Cruises - 10% discount for Sunday lunch cruises in Manchester
Frangipani SUP Ltd - 10% discount on adult beginner 'Stand Up & Paddle' lessons
Jenny Wren- 10% discount off cruises
Wyvern Shipping Co. Ltd- 10% discount on published prices

Eating Out

To take advantage of eating out offers you just need to produce a valid IWA membership card.

Kings Lock Tearooms- 10% discount on food
The Clifford Arms Pub - 10% discount on food
The Three Locks Pub - 10% discount on food

Better Value on Boats and Equipment

Boatshed Grand Union - 10% discount on brokerage
Boat Windows Ltd - 5% discount
Calcutt Boats - 5% online discount
Channelglaze Ltd. - 5% discount on double glazing
Cotswold Outdoor - 10% discount
IceGripper - 20% discount on ICETrekkers Diamond Grip
Kings Lock Chandlery - 5% discount (exclusions apply)
Marine Mega Store Ltd
- 15% discount
Midland Chandlers - 5% discount
RoadPro - 5% discount
Willowbridge Marina - 10% discount on chandlery purchases and services in the yard


Forge Studio - 10% discount
Harbour Clean - 10% discount
Lee Sanitation - 10% on orders over £100
Paper Wizard - 15% discount
River Canal Rescue - up to 15% discount
Wavetrain Marine - 5% discount on selected 1 day RYA SRC VHF Licence Course

For IWA members who receive a printed copy of this bulletin in the post, please contact the membership team on 01494 783453 for the details of the offers.

Members can also support IWA with a Narrow Boat magazine subscription

Boat Insurance

We have been looking at ways to provide more benefits to the waterways and everyone who uses them, and have extended our insurance offer to help you find the best available cover for your boat, your home and your car.  Every policy purchased or renewed helps IWA, allowing us to further our charitable work for the waterways.

See more information about the IWA insurance schemes for boaters

Free Donations to IWA Every Time you Shop Online

It is so easy to do your shopping via easyfundraising.  Every time you do, a percentage will be donated to IWA and it will cost you absolutely nothing extra.

There are over 3,100 shops and sites for you to browse and buy through on the easyfundraising site.  Usually the thing that stops people raising money in this way for their favourite charity is that they simply forget.  Since we launched IWA onto easyfundraising we have raised over £1000 so it is a brilliant way to support IWA.  Find out more about easyfundraising.

How to remind yourself to raise money for IWA via easyfundraising:

By using the app, the reminder toolbar or shopping through the easyfundraising site, you can help IWA raise hundreds and hopefully thousands of pounds.


IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA
01494 783 453