We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

Volunteer on a boat

There are many exciting ways to volunteer with the Trust. Did you know that we have opportunities to volunteer on board boats up and down the country?

Cassie Ward, volunteer manager Cassie Ward, volunteer manager

If you like messing about in boats and are looking for a chance to meet new people, have fun and learn new things, then read on.

Our 2,000 mile network of canals and rives offers great diversity and contrast, from the urban sophistication of Gas Street Basin to the rural charm of the Kennet & Avon Canal. Our boating volunteer opportunities are the same, we’ve got roles for history buffs, for people wanting to get active in a canoe and for those who wish to inspire the next generation to fall in love with the waterways.

Our historic boats

We’re proud of our historic boats which illustrate the many different types of craft found on our canals and rivers over the centuries. We have a collection of historic boats in our museums and we also have a fleet of working boats which you can see out and about on the waterways. Volunteers play a crucial role for both.

At the National Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port and the National Waterways Museum Gloucester, our dedicated team of volunteers work constantly to care for and restore boats from our nationally important collection.

Sabrina 5 Gloucester Sabrina 5 Gloucester

Volunteers also help the Heritage Working Boats Group maintain our collection of historic working boats. They take the boats to events and show both adults and children around, educating them about how working boat families used to live. On top of this, our volunteers act as crew members when the boats are on the move between events.

Boat moving

It’s not just historic boats that volunteers move around the waterways for us. We’re thrilled to have volunteers who help our operations teams by moving boats in various waterways.

Getting stuck in

And volunteers don’t stop at just moving the boats. We have teams of volunteers on boats helping up to maintain our canals and towpaths. You can join us for floating litter picks or get involved with an established volunteer crew.

Student volunteers on a boat Student volunteers on a boat

Floating venues

We use boats as floating venues for school children, community groups or visitors to the canal. A number of our welcome stations are on board a boat, which makes for a volunteer role with a difference.

Volunteers also work on board boats such as George travelling up and down the canal engaged in various activities to support our learning programme.

Desmond Family Canoe Trail

The Desmond Family Canoe Trail offers a fantastic chance for 2,000 young people to help us create the country's first ever coast to coast canoe trail. The volunteers will help us to design the trail and then organise and run a year-round programme of activities for their community. They'll also improve the environment along the trail, planting new community gardens and habitats.

And there will be a number of opportunities to get out in a canoe.

Find out more

This is just an introduction to the types of boating volunteer opportunities we often have available. To find out more, please search our roles or email volunteer@canalrivertrust.org.uk

Last date edited: 2 June 2017