Meet Nathan, Boat Licence Support Ranger

Nathan Arries is one of our Boat Licence Support Rangers in the Boating Team and works across our North West and West Midlands regions. Rangers are the most visible members of our Boat Licence Support team as they are out on the waterways most days of the week, come rain or shine.

Sunrise photo with iced up boat and canal Montgomery Canal

What is a ranger?

We asked Nathan about what it's like to be a licensing ranger and what his role involves.

“Primarily my role involves patrolling canal and river lengths, logging boat data onto my iPad. This information produces a history of boat movements.

"It also identifies boats that are not adhering to our licence terms and conditions, such as unlicensed and unidentified boats, and those without verified moorings that should continuously cruise and may be overstaying permitted time limits.”

Nathan Arries, licensing ranger, North West and West Midlands

Where is your patch?

“My area covers the Llangollen, Montgomery, Staffordshire & Worcester and Shropshire Union (Middlewich branch) canals, and the Weaver Navigation. I am part of a team of 11 in my region, which includes a supervisor, 4 licence support officers and 6 other licensing rangers.” 

Not only for boaters

We're often the first point of contact, not just for boaters, but anglers, walkers and all towpath users, in fact. Our aim is to provide a wide range of support and information whilst carrying out our daily duties.

Sometimes we experience anti-social behaviour. Sometimes we encounter someone with a vulnerability, which we highlight to the Licence Support Officers so that they can provide further support. We have been trained to ensure we address data protection as well as equality, whilst providing and collating information.

What is the job like?

“No two days are the same, and although my job involves ‘lone working’, our safety takes priority. We use a lone working call system, as well as a buddying system with a colleague. We arrange lifts and drop off points to ensure that we both finish together.

We cover the lengths either cycling or by foot. At some times of the year our towpaths can be muddy, but the summer months are a delight. I walk an average of 10 miles a day, which means my whole patch is covered within a 14-day period. Walking in the rain and snow is pretty miserable, but there are so many beautiful locations we walk through, experiencing wildlife and ancient structures, especially on the Montgomery and Llangollen canals.”

Boating on the Llangollen Canal Boating on the Llangollen Canal

Last date edited: 23 April 2021

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The boating team blog

Our boating team bring you news of their work across our network, as well as the stories of boaters they meet

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