Richard Drake joined IWA on 30th June 1978. He was elected to the committee of the IWA Wirral Section (the fore runner of the current Chester and Merseyside Branch) in January 1982 as the section sales officer. In March 1986, he was elected section chairman and remained chairman when the section became a branch later that year. He stood down from the branch chairmanship in March 1993 when he became chairman of the Western Region. He served on national committees, including Navigation, Technical and Amenities, and Finance & General Purposes, and served as national chairman from 1999 until 2002. He represented the Association on the Anderton Lift Development Group (the forerunner of the Anderton Boat Lift Trust), initially as a member, but later as chairman until its demise in June 1997. On the founding of the Anderton Boat Lift Trust became one of the two IWA nominee trustees, and later chairman of the Trust. At the time of resignation from the national chairmanship he also resigned as a trustee and from all national committees. Richard maintained close association with the Chester and Merseyside Branch, and a keen interest in the activities of the Association as a whole until his death in 2014.