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Navigation advisory group

Maintaining canals and rivers 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

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.

Nick Grundy

Nick's family started boating in the 1930s and Nick has been boating on the inland waterways throughout his life. He remembers many childhood holidays in the '60s on small wooden cruisers. In 1968 Nick's family bought a full length, converted, historic narrow boat, which Nick now owns. Over the years Nick has cruised with his family just about everywhere on the waterways system accessible by a full-length boat. In his youth Nick was active in waterway restoration and he is still a member of the Waterway Recovery Group. He has been a member of the IWA since 1980. Nick has worked on a commercial barge on the north-east waterways, giving him an understanding of the demands and requirements of freight operations on the waterways. Nick also has experience of the European waterways. Since 2016Nick and his wife have owned a replica Dutch barge, cruisingin Belgium, the Netherlands and France. Nick is also a member of the NAG Dredging sub-committee.

Ian McCarthy

Ian first became interested in canals and boating through a Sunday school trip on a canal boat, in the very early sixties. By the end of that decade he had became an active campaigner for canal restoration, and preservation. He was very active with the Peak Forest Canal Society (PFCS) in particular. He became a trustee of the PFCS and later a founding member of Waterway Recovery Group North West (WRG NW), and the Huddersfield Canal Society. He is an active volunteer for Canal & River Trust in the North West, and has been elected, twice, as the national volunteer rep on the Trust's Council, where he is a member of the appointments committee. Ian is active on the NAG Dredging Sub committee and the Stoppages Sub Committee. He became the part owner of a historic wooden canal boat, which he and his friends have managed to keep in good repair and active on the waterways, for over 50 years. He has boated extensively around the waterway system, both with his boat and others.

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.

Hannah Rigley

Hannah has been boating since 2018, when she first went on a hire boat holiday. Shortly after, her mother-in-law set up a hire boat business, and from that point on Hannah was hooked. She and her partner have lived aboard their 54ft narrowboat since 2020, and they were initially based on the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal. In 2023, they embarked on a grand tour of the main network, beginning in Droitwich Spa, exploring the South East region and heading towards the Peak Forest Canal.

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. 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 Edited: 11 April 2024

photo of a location on the canals
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