IWA Bulletin

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We have published the results of our Gaptracker Survey, which identifies that the majority of boaters who responded to the survey are concerned about the basic facilities provided by navigation authorities - drinking water and waste disposal - rather than other services such as showers, pump-out and laundry.  The survey, which ran on our website during the second half of last year, asked boaters to identify areas on the UK’s waterways where facilities are missing or are in poor condition.

Hundreds of comments were received about the facilities provided by nine different navigation authorities.  We will follow up the results with each authority individually, with Canal & River Trust, the Environment Agency and the Middle Level Commissioners all saying that they will welcome the findings.  Canal & River Trust has also said that IWA’s Gaptracker facilities survey results will contribute to their facilities review.

An overwhelming 84% of the responses were about water points, rubbish disposal or portable toilet emptying, indicating a strong demand for those basic facilities.  

The report identifies a number of recommendations which we will be asking navigation authorities to adopt, including the general principle that the three basic facilities of drinking water, portable toilet emptying and rubbish disposal should continue to be provided by navigation authorities, without any additional cost to licence holders, at frequencies within 5 hours boating time.

Read the full GapTracker report giving more detail about the findings of the survey.


Photographers, both amateur and professional, are invited to submit images in our new-look competition for 2019. There are eight picture categories and entrants can expect to see their imagery used across IWA’s website, blog pages, printed leaflets, reports and other communications materials.

Photographs received in this way allow us to improve the effectiveness of what we do and ensure that as much of our income as possible is used to protect and restore our waterways rather than in the purchase or rental of imagery. Attractive, well-executed photos really bring our communication materials to life and help encourage support for the waterways.

Each category will be judged independently with one winning image and three runners-up which will all be entered to a public vote to find one overall prize-winner.

The categories are:

Wonder in the every day – those unremarkable jobs that illustrate our vibrant communities, such as mooring up for the evening, working locks, cleaning a canoe…
Up-close – faces of the waterways, a paddle pawl or mooring ring… beautifully shot and instantly recognisable
We want to be together – having fun on the waterways. A couple hand-in-hand as they walk the towpath, a family enjoying a picnic, a father and daughter fishing…
On water – the boats that bring colour and community to our beautiful waterways – narrowboats, historic craft, wide-beams, cruisers, coracles, canoes, paddleboards…  
Restoration – there are 500 miles of waterway that could be usefully restored…
Landscape – show us your favourite navigable waterway
Wildlife – cute, breathtakingly beautiful, awe inspiring – the animals and birds that bring our canals and rivers to life
Built environment – who doesn’t want to live by water? There are some stunning old warehouses, wonderful new developments and creative, refreshing spaces to discover – let’s get a picture of our urban, waterside environment.

Find out more and enter our photography competition. The deadline for entries is 30th June 2019.


Finding time to volunteer can be tricky when you have young children. A few years ago we launched our Waterway Recovery Group Family Camps so that kids, as well as parents and grandparents, could get involved in canal restorations. By offering family volunteering we hope to engage children from a young age and enable them to find out about waterways heritage, work outdoors and learn new skills.

After three successful weekends and fantastic feedback in 2018, we have chosen three further locations for our residential family camps this year. These are open to families with children aged between six and 14 years old.

To find out more about our family weekends, please call 01494 783453 extension 610, or email enquiries@ wrg.org.uk.


This year, our Trailboat Festival is being held on the Northern Reaches of the Lancaster Canal. Organised by IWA Lancashire & Cumbria branch, the festival not only celebrates the bicentenary of the Lancaster Canal but also aims to publicise efforts to restore the Northern Reaches of the canal.

Taking place over the first weekend in June, the Festival will be held on the canal next to the Westmorland Showground at Crooklands. It is being run in association with Westmorland County Agricultural Society’s Country Fest on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd June.

A full programme of events celebrating 200 years of the Lancaster Canal are being planned for the Trailboat festival alongside the music, food, demonstrations and entertainment of Country Fest. There will be an award ceremony at the festival, as well as an illuminated boat parade.

The Lancaster Canal Trust’s freshly painted trip boat will be operating tours up and down the canal during the weekend, including hopefully a chance to cruise along a newly opened stretch of canal called the First Furlong. This 255-metre stretch has taken many years of restoration work by Waterway Recovery Group, Lancaster Canal Trust and the Lancaster Canal Regeneration Partnership volunteers to get to this point. If all goes to plan visitors to the festival will be among the first to use it.  

Find out more about the IWA Trailboat Festival 2019.


It’s almost that time of year again when Little Venice in London is transformed by over a hundred colourful boats, live music, refreshment stands, craft stalls and plenty of family fun for IWA Canalway Cavalcade 2019. The event takes place over May Day Bank Holiday weekend 4th to 6th May in Paddington.

Cavalcade is organised by a core team of dedicated volunteers who meet every 6 – 8 weeks in London to discuss progress and share ideas. The increasing success of the event means we are looking for new, enthusiastic team members to join in the fun of running this colourful spectacle every year.

In particular, we are looking for an Administration Coordinator and also an Assistant Publicity & Social Media Manager, but we would love to hear from anyone who would like to help out.  You don’t need previous experience, you just need a few hours of your time every month - and three days in May.  If you would like to join the team, or for more information, please contact:  Mark Saxon, Chairman - mark.saxon@waterways.org.uk

Volunteers are also needed to assist during the three days of the event so, if you think you can spare a few hours between 4th and 6th May, please complete our volunteer registration form online or download it now and fill it in.

There are still a few vacancies for volunteers in the work camp too, but you should be prepared to work for a minimum of 2 days. Food and refreshments will be available for a small fee and limited overnight accommodation can be provided by arrangement. Please contact our Work Camp Leader, Pete Fleming, for more information: pete.fleming@team.waterways.org.uk

Find out more about IWA Canalway Cavalcade including details of what’s on, timings, how to get there plus a full listing of food & drink, craft and other stalls.


IWA and Canal & River Trust run the Annual Restoration Conference every year to provide support for waterway restoration projects. The aim of the conference is to ensure that local waterways societies and trusts have more support and information to assist in the development of their schemes.

The 2019 Conference focuses on funding and making sure projects are relevant to funders. Content planned for the day includes a presentation from Liz Shaw of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The free workshop is open to all volunteers interested in or involved in waterways restoration. Find out more about the 2019 Restoration Conference and book your place.

The Conference is part of a series of support workshops for restoration groups.  On the 15th February IWA and CRT hosted a workshop on working with young people and successfully implementing safeguarding policies. Restoration groups from all over the country joined us at Hatton Locks, to take part in an interactive day of discussions and presentations looking into working successfully with young volunteers.


IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group is offering six volunteers, aged between 18 – 30, the chance to volunteer abroad on an all expenses paid trip to France, to work alongside other EU heritage groups to undertake practical restoration work.

Selected volunteers will spend 13 days between Monday 5th to Saturday 17th of August 2019 to work alongside our EU counterparts, restoring Villognon Mill, a disused watermill in Nanteuil-en-Vallée in the New Aquitaine region.

We are asking prospective volunteers to complete an application form and write a covering letter as to why they would benefit from taking part in the ERASMUS+ Volunteers Programme. All applications must be sent to alex.melson@waterways.org.uk

Deadline to apply: 1st May 2019

Apply online to volunteer on a heritage project abroad with Erasmus.


Three trip boats will be operated on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation in Essex from the beginning of April 2019.  IWA’s Essex Waterways, which saved the Navigation from closure in 2005, will be running the boats to raise funds to look after the Navigation, but needs volunteers to help run the vessels, both skippers and crew.

The three boats are:

  • Victoria - a 48-seater boat available for parties and charter trips, based at Paper Mill
  • Albert - a 12-seater boat available for parties and charter trips, but we will also offer ‘ticket’ or ‘turn up and go’ trips for individual passengers during the peak summer months.  
  • Blackwater Dawn - a 12-seater boat based at Heybridge Basin, which will offer ‘turn up and go’ trips from the beginning of April through to the end of September.   

If you are interested to help out, please contact the Navigation Manager (david.hewitt@waterways.org.uk).


IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch is calling boaters with craft of all types – cruisers, narrow boats, canoes, historic narrow boats, coracles and dinghies (and any other type of boat you can think of – a steam boat or two would be good!).  Join us this summer for some boating on the Caldon Canal and 'bag' the two IWA Silver Propeller Challenge locations in the Branch area.

Each terminus of the Caldon Canal, Leek and Froghall, has been included in the Silver Propeller Challenge as both have campaigning issues:

  • At Froghall we are campaigning about the headroom through the tunnel, and for something to be done to enable more boats to reach the top lock and basin of the Uttoxeter Canal on the other side of the tunnel.  Both the Branch and Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust are keen to explore potential solutions with CRT and there is some funding allocated for a survey of the tunnel.
  • Meanwhile at the end of the Leek Arm…  Following on from the dredging carried out by CRT over the winter, the plan is to find out how effective this dredging has been in terms of allowing boats to now turn at the very end of the Leek Arm by the aqueduct over the Churnet, as well as campaigning for improved moorings and facilities to encourage people to stop and visit the market town of Leek.

Boats taking part in the campaign challenge will be free to visit Froghall and Leek at a time of their own choosing during the weekend (or in the days either side), in order to minimise the potential congestion which might arise from everyone trying to use the same section of canal at the same time.  The weekend will also include a garden fete fundraising event on the Saturday afternoon as well as sociable gatherings on the Friday and Saturday evenings, which will be based around Denford, in the middle of the canal. This will also enable boats to moor on both the Leek Arm and the main line.  Those without boats will have the opportunity to explore Hazelhurst and Denford on foot, and to learn about the history of the canals in that area.

Further details will be developed over the coming weeks.  To register your interest in taking part in the event, or to get involved in the planning, please contact Alison Smedley by emailing alison.smedley@team.waterways.org.uk.

More details about IWA’s Silver Propeller Challenge (to visit at least 20 locations out of a list of over 40) can be found here


7.6 miles of navigable river will be opened up thanks to a grant of £179,000 and work to restore an existing slipway.  The award will help fund a number of improvements on the non-tidal River Parrett in Somerset to bring an increase in leisure, recreation and tourism attractions to the town.   

Langport Town Council was awarded a grant by The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra). The bid was supported by IWA West Country Branch, South Somerset District Council and many others.

The grant will be used to add four pontoons with access ramps and safety equipment; three fishing platforms for disabled anglers; two sets of steps for canoeists; benches, picnic tables, bins and cycle racks for visitors; interpretation boards and new signage; solar lighting on footbridges; a fitness trail and an outside tap for filling reusable water bottles or washing muddy boots. Improvements to a 550 metre right of way between Langport and Huish Bridge will also be made as part of the wider project.

In addition to these infrastructure works, other funding will cover ongoing repairs to the slipway at Huish Bridge, half a mile upstream from Langport, as well as improvements to the adjacent car park, which together will be particularly useful for trail boaters and paddlers.

The total budget for the river project is in excess of £200,000, with the remainder of the funding being provided by the Town Council and other groups. The work is due to be completed by spring 2020.


The owner of Limehouse Basin Marina has been refused planning permission for its scheme to build an extra five pontoon moorings in the basin. This proposal is something that IWA North & East London Branch, as well as numerous others, strenuously objected to. 

The proposal, for new mooring pontoons along the southern edge of Limehouse Basin which would have reduced the number of available visitor moorings, received over 150 objections.  Limehouse Basin is the only safe haven, off the Thames Tideway, which is accessible over much of the tidal range. 

It is understood that the owners of the marina have advised that they will not make any further planning applications in relation to these moorings, a move welcomed by the branch which regards the availability of a clear area of water space essential for the muster of a fleet of craft off the tideway, especially in emergency situations.  


The familiar wharf crane at Audlem has at long last been removed for repair.  The crane, star of countless photos, paintings, illustrations and souvenirs, was originally pronounced in a dangerous condition in early September 2018 and was duly fenced off with the adjacent water point restricted to boats of no more than 50’.  IWA Shrewsbury District & North Wales Branch, local IWA members and other waterways users have been pressing for remedial action over the autumn and winter, with questions tabled at CRT’s North West Region user forum in November and direct contacts with the navigation authority since.

Photo by Graham Russell

The latest estimate given for the reinstatement of the structure to its Audlem home is ‘late spring’, 2019. 


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