Navigation advisory group

Maintaining canal and river navigations for use by boats is at the core of what the Trust does. We want to ensure that our managers’ decisions are well informed by those who navigate the waterways regularly.

Boat on the canal Boat on the canal

The Navigation Advisory Group comprises boaters with a variety of backgrounds to bring as broad a range of perspectives as possible to decision making.

The group covers advice relating to safety standards, waterway operation, maintenance and repairs, and customer service standards.

Mike Carter - chairman

Mike's family have been involved in canals and owned narrowboats since the early 1950s. Mike has had business interests in commercial freight vessels, drydocks, moorings and vessel repairs. From birth in the 1960s he lived aboard his parents' narrowboat, and now lives aboard a widebeam with his own family, as well as cruising a narrowboat in his leisure time. For the past 25 years Mike has headed up a vessel surveying and marine consultancy practice, with private and commercial clients throughout the canal network.

Sue Cawson

Sue has over 45 years of boating experience and is the owner of a historic narrowboat. She is the navigation representative for the Historic Narrowboat Club, and works with the Saturn Project caring for the only remaining Shropshire Union fly boat.

David Fletcher

David has been a boat owner for 40 years. He was chairman of the National Association of Boat Owners (NABO) for five years, during the period of the creation of the Trust. Although now retired he still holds an administrative role with NABO. David spent his working career as an engineer, engineering manager and project manager for a major oil company. This was predominantly on shore, covering maintenance, operation, research and major construction. A chartered engineer, Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and for some years an expert witness on the design of liquefied natural gas plants, he is currently chairman of the Technical Committee of the Boat Safety Scheme.

Kevin East

Kevin is a Waterways and Environment Project Officer with British Canoeing. He paddles many waterways and takes an interest in the water environment. Kevin is also the Waterways Officer for the Canoe Camping Club, which specialises in canoe touring. His background is a career in telecoms in civil and mechanical engineering operations.

John Hatton

John's professional background is in Leisure and community services including sport and countryside management.  He has over 40 years experience in many boating situations on rivers, canals and sea. More recently he has worked as CEO for Canoe Wales, Development Manager for British Canoeing where he continues to work as Safety Officer. John is currently a member of the Environment Agencies River Wye Navigation Advisory Group. 

Nigel Stevens

Nigel and his wife operate a hire fleet and full-service boatyard with moorings in Yorkshire. Nigel has campaigned on behalf of the waterways for 50 years, through the Waterway Recovery Group, Inland Waterways Association, canal societies and trade bodies. He is a past member for boating business of our council. 

Gareth Jones

Gareth has 25 years of boating experience and currently lives on a narrowboat moored in a marina on the Leicester line of the Grand Union Canal. He has travelled the canal network extensively and also worked for a season as a trip boat skipper running a boat across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. Gareth is a member of the Residential Boat Owners' Association.

Lee Wilshire

Lee lives and works from his boat in London. He previously sat on our Licensing and Mooring Advisory Group and was involved in the development of the London Mooring Stratgey.


New NAG members

The work of NAG requires diverse skills and knowledge of boating and the waterways from its members. If you're interested you can read more about what's involved in the NAG terms of reference and register your interest by completing the 'sign up for this opportunity' form here. We will keep your information on file and will contact you where there is a vacancy and a need for the particular skills that you offer. 


Navigation Advisory Group Terms of Reference

Navigation Advisory Group operations are administered by Matthew Symonds, National Boating Manager (Leisure), and supported by David Baldacchino, Head of Safety & Operations Support.

Dredging, vegetation management and mooring issues are overseen by sub-groups.

Last date edited: 25 October 2021