Monthly Archives: October 2022

iwa waterways for today

iwa waterways for today

economic benefits

IWA has recently launched a new report – Waterways for Today - looking at the 12 Major Benefits of Britain’s Inland Waterways Network.  

In this article – the first of four – we are looking at the three key FINANCIAL benefits of the waterways.  

These economic benefits include  waterways contributing to the economic recovery of the countrywith waterways projects regenerating both rural and urban areas and improving the lives of the  millions of people who live close to them or visit them regularly.  

Auchinstarry Marina

Waterways also bring  increased spend to local communities. Boat-based tourism and leisure activities contribute £2.5bn to the economy each year, with people on day trips, boating holidays  and those taking part in water-based activities spending even more in local pubs, cafés, restaurants and shops.  

The third economic benefit of the waterways is the  savings to the NHS and social care budgets. Waterways are well placed to improve the health, wellbeing and longevity of the many people living  near them, through increased physical activity and social prescribing.  

Sir David and Lady Sheila Suchet are quoted in the report saying that they have seen “first-hand how  waterway regeneration can act as a catalyst for the wider transformation of the whole community”.  

canoes on the Montgomery Canal

The economic benefits are extremely wide ranging, from macro-scale benefits such as helping national government to deliver post-Brexit and Covid-19 recovery programmes to smaller scale  benefits within individual local authority areas.  

Some statistics in the report include:  

  • The leisure marine industry supports 133,000 FTE (full time equivalent) jobs across the inland waterways  
  • Of the 124 local authorities designated as Category 1 for the 2022 Levelling Up Fund, 87  (70%) are on the inland waterways  
  • The Falkirk Wheel has become one of Scotland’s most visited tourist attractions, has created  60 jobs and sees an economic impact valued at over £3 million a year  
  • Every £1 spent on creating a navigable route under the M4 for the Wilts & Berks Canal will produce £1.79 in economic benefit to the local communities in Swindon and Royal Wootton Bassett  
  • Ten years after the reopening of the Rochdale Canal in 2002, a study found that between 3.5 and 4 million visitors were spending around £18m a year  
  • The Huddersfield Narrow Canal reopened in 2001 and has been receiving between 2 and 2.5 million visitors each year, spending over £10m annually  
  • For every £1 invested in the canal towpath network, there is a return of £7 in health benefits

Our waterways are free to visit and easily accessible for all. By their very nature, they are often located right in the heart of urban areas, offering a small haven of peace and tranquillity to the many  millions of people who live close the them. They are a huge draw for tourism, not only attracting people from the UK to visit, but also international visitors.

Falkirk Wheel

In the report, IWA highlights the importance of investing in the inland waterways and the need for  ongoing public funding. Not only do the existing navigable waterways need investment, but the  derelict waterways that could be restored in the future need protecting from inappropriate development. If we could restore 500 miles of derelict waterways, it would provide a greatly  enhanced national waterways network offering unlimited opportunities for leisure, living and business to millions more people.  

To read the full IWA Waterways for Today report or to read the case studies related to the Economic benefits of the waterways, visit  Waterways for Today - Inland Waterways.  

Join us next time to look at the ENVIRONMENTAL benefits of the waterways.  

rcr and rising callout figures

rcr and rising callout figures

and top ten replacement parts

River Canal Rescue says its number of general callouts for electrical, fuel and engine issues, flat batteries, over-heating and gear box failures, is likely to reach an all-time high by the end of the year. Figures up to 30 September are already 3318, ahead of 3235, logged for 2021, and 2850 in 2020.  

RCR says the rise is due to the high number of people unable to visit and maintain their boats during lockdown, resulting in minor niggles now becoming larger problems.  

RCR managing director, Stephanie Horton, comments: “Figures are currently an unseasonable high and we still have a couple of months to go. It’s worth noting that only 14% of callouts were attended by contractors this year, partially due to their availability, but also in response to customer feedback that they prefer an RCR engineer to attend their boats. 

“Considering how busy we have been, it’s likely 2022 will be one of the highest callout attendances on record. The good weather, new fuel issues, specifically ‘sticky fuel’, and the need for boaters to get out and about have all lead to lots of boats on the network.” 

RCR’s Canal Contracting service has also arranged 455 visits this year, to undertake a variety of work, including: plumbing and electrical installations, gearbox replacements, inverter, solar installations and general engine maintenance as well as 90 rescue jobs.   

So what are the top 10 parts that have broken down so far this year, why do they fail and how much do they cost to replace? 

Water pumps - 43 replacements due to seal failures, wear & tear, impeller break up and sheared components; morse controllers - 41 replacements due to wear& tear; engine mounts - 30 replacements due to hitting underwater obstacles, wear & tear, age, rubber degrading, misalignment and bolts shearing, came just outside the top 10.  

Stephanie concludes: “This list demonstrates why our Replacement Parts Cover is important as it covers the most common parts that need replacing. RPC also has an excess of £50 so covers items that have a higher value.” 

To find out more about River Canal Rescue visit

the voyage of friendship 2 – home for christmas

the voyage of friendship

part 2: home for christmas

Hello friends and family,

The voyage continued well last week, and I enjoyed my first night spent alone aboard "Therapy", moored in a sheltered spot between Pangbourne and Beale Park.

On Monday morning I met Sue Allen, with her husband Joe (whose birthday it was) and their beautiful wee girls. Sue and Joe have lived on a narrow boat in the past and it was great to have experienced folk with me on the Thames where the yellow boards at the locks sometimes pronounced that the current was increasing. At Goring, Joe and little Trixie left us, and Hannah and Ash came aboard. Sue was Captains mate, her old boating skills obviously coming back, while Hannah and Ash worked out lock duties.

Sally Kershaw with Bunty     narrowboat Therapy moored on pontoon      child on board a narrowboat  

I was delighted with our progress as we reached Wallingford soon after lunch and we decided to press on to Benson. The book showed a great public mooring and we glided into the jetty well before dusk. Sue called Joe, but as we started to arrange a little birthday surprise for him on the boat an officious person approached us to let us know that we couldn't moor here and suggested we moved a mile or so up the river. OK, we cast off again to seek another mooring spot. The sun was starting to go down now and a slight tension crept in as we looked ahead for possible places. I could see a green bank and directed Sue in towards it. As we approached I realised that it was too shallow, but Therapy was already grounded on the remains of a tree. We were stumped! The sun was almost disappeared now, but Ash saved the day when Hannah held on to his legs and he hung over the side to push us off the wood. Once free we cruised on in the fading light to find a very suitable mooring outside Shillingford Bridge Hotel. We quickly re-staged the birthday surprise for Joe, who'd met us with the car and sang a hearty "Happy Birthday" to him. Many thanks to all for an excellent day.

After another cosy and enjoyable night with my puppy, Bunty, Tuesday was set to be a very relaxing day as we'd gone further than expected yesterday. Bunty is settling in well aboard Therapy, and I hope will be a confident boat dog.

Lambourn friends, Katharine and Libby were my "shipmates" today and arrived shipshape and Bristol fashion at the appointed time. Again, the weather was kind, and we had a quiet day's cruising, reaching Abingdon an hour or so before dusk. Our only brush with difficulty was at lunch time. We had moored at a very quite spot for half an hour to eat cauliflower cheese, when the land owner appeared from nowhere to let us know that "we could not moor there". Is this a phrase I will have to get used to on the river? I wished the chap a super Christmas, let my puppy off to pee, and we cast the boat off into the current again.

Ewan met us at Abingdon, we moored and locked up the boat and headed home for Christmas.

Happy Christmas and many thanks to all those who've helped me and to those who plan to meet me further on.

Warmest wishes,