Read the story of how the Canal & River Trust came to be
Work for us
We have vacancies across all of our waterways and in the offices, museums and attractions that support them. We're one of the UK's biggest charities and we take pride in everything we do
If you're thinking of getting in touch then please take a moment to look through these pages as we probably have the answer on our website
Planning & design
All you need to know about planning and design on our canals and rivers
Find a winter mooring
Find a cosy section of canal to hunker down in this winter
10 reasons to take up canoeing
It's a great way to get fit and explore our waterways at the same time
Share the Space
Take a look at our common sense guide to sharing the towpath
Find a place to fish
From reservoirs to club-managed canals and river stretches - find your nearest place to fish
Get your free guide
Download your free guide today and start exploring the waterway nature near you
Download your free guides
You've nine free days out guides to choose from - where will you go first?
Find a walk near you
Are you ready to ramble? Find a waterside stroll or a satisfying hike along our beautiful canals and rivers
Take a look at our upcoming events here.
Find your favourite waterway
With over 95 canals, rivers, reservoirs, docks and navigations, find out more about your favourite waterway
Something for everyone
Help us make a difference and have fun along the way. Find your perfect volunteer role today
Join our team
Could you join your local Towpath Taskforce team and help us to keep our canals looking lovely?
Desmond Family Canoe Trail
If you're aged 16-25 and would like to get involved with this exciting project, please get in touch
Could you be a volunteer lock keeper?
Find out what's involved with this popular volunteering opportunity
Why we think canals are better with Friends
Become a Friend of the Canal & River Trust today and you’ll open yourself up to new experiences and endless opportunities.
We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.
We often use divers to help us inspect the condition of underwater structures. It's dark and difficult work so we've spoken to a diving team at a job in West India Docks to find out why they do it.
"We always have two divers suited-up at any one time. One of us will be in the water, the other on the bank ready to go in case of emergencies.
The water here is anything up to ten metres and depending on what stage of the project we are at, we can be in there up to four hours.
We call it ‘black water’. There’s zero visibility. If you screwed up yours eyes and put your fingers into them, that’s what it feels like. We work by ‘touch and feel’ and describe what we find via radio to our team on the surface.
In all honesty it’s freezing, the key is to keep moving.
Apart from getting wet, there’s no real comparison between this type of diving and the scuba diving some people might do on holiday.
As well as my dry suit, I’ve got about 50kg of equipment and weight attached. Imagine diving with a jockey on your back."
"As well as the surveying, we’re also skilled in under-water welding and disc-cutting, among other things. Here we’ve installed the pumps inside the lock gate that help it to float and installed and sealed a limpet dam that enables the repair on the lock pintel.
It takes time to learn these skills but if people ask me I usually say that in my job that I make things, break things and repair things.
Like all the team, my role has taken me to so many different places. I’ve recently worked on the salvage of the Costa Concordia and the recovery of the last known WW2 Dornier 17, which sunk off the coast of Kent.
When you’re diving like this, you’re effectively on the same life support equipment as an astronaut. Astronauts actually train underwater to simulate the feeling of being in space.
When you’re working with massive gates and tides, you can’t just go home when it gets to six o’clock. We work until the job is finished, that can mean 18 hour days, followed by a long drive home.
Everyone carries a knife. It’s just essential when you’re diving and working with rope. A cafétierre is another essential we couldn’t do without.
You have to be conscious of the risks involved with diving, but can’t think about it too much. There’s always a great spirit among the team. At the end of the day, we’re responsible for each other’s lives."
"The abilities in the team show the variety of skills needed on a project like this. So far we’ve required divers, specialist welders, crane operators, tug boat captains, structural engineers and marine architects, among others. We’ve even had IT specialists working with us to install the internal video cameras on the inside of the lock gates.
We’ve got a great team. My role comes down to juggling all the balls; the team on-site while planning the next steps and the materials and expertise needed to do complete the job.
I began as a commercial diver as well, so would never ask one of the team to do something that I couldn’t do myself.
I dived in Docklands before the first big buildings ever went up. We installed the power cables in a culvert on the Belmout Cut that essentially power Canary Wharf.
Since then I’ve been all over – Saudi Arabia, Croatia – but being back in Docklands a couple of decades on and working on this project is a real privilege. So much has changed, but there are so many familiar faces still here too."
Support our work
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Last date edited: 23 February 2016