Navigate Life Like a Boatwoman: Four Inspirational Skippers

Idle Women

Many canal enthusiasts will have heard of the “Idle Women” who crewed the cargo boats during the wars, when Britain’s men were called up to fight. However, 21st century boatwomen are now making use of our beautifully restored canal system by living aboard, community boating, volunteering, helping adults with learning difficulties, training as skippers , … Continue reading

#Santa Claus: The Ultimate Community #Volunteer

Santa on the Wey and Arun canal

Santa didn’t want us to tell you this, but the information was recently leaked by an unscrupulous elf. In the run up to Christmas Santa Claus himself actually enjoys a bit of canal cruising on the UK’s community boats and will be appearing on at least five canals – maybe more. According to insiders at … Continue reading

Young People: How to go #Canal Boating Even if You Have No Cash!


Recently I had a chat on our Facebook page with Jonathan from Oxfordshire Narrowboat Trust. At 42 years old he is the youngest crew member on nb Venturer on the South Oxford Canal. The recent TV series Great Canal Journeys featuring Prunella Scales and Timothy West perhaps confirmed the misconception that the waterways are just … Continue reading

#Volunteering on canal boats: Louise’s story

Louise (centre) as a teenager

Continuing our series of interviews about how community boats have affected individual lives, I recently got the opportunity to interview Louise Yeoman, a nurse who lives on a narrowboat on the outskirts of London. As a teenager she was eager to learn more about boats and her local canal and so in 1989 she became … Continue reading

Santa Claus is coming to town – by boat!

Santa on the Wey and Arun canal

Well-known for his generosity, Santa Claus is actually quite the community boater and this year he will be using his magic to simultaneously volunteer with several community boating projects at once. Whether you’ve been naughty or nice this year it’s not too late to support community boating and have a little festive fun at the … Continue reading

Halloween boat trips

hna halloween big

Hillingdon Narrowboats Association are running Halloween trips on Thursday 31st October, Friday 1st November, Saturday 2nd from 5pm – 9pm. Each trip lasting approximately 1hour. The cost is £15 per family group of 4, individual prices £5 per head. Come along, in fancy dress if you would like too, and join in the FUN. Please … Continue reading

The brains behind the beautiful boats!

When you see your local community boat drifting peacefully by, with the sunlight reflecting off the canal water and smiles on the faces of the passengers and crew, you might think that community boating is all about rest and recuperation. However, our national organisation The NCBA and many of our member organisations provide valuable training … Continue reading

Santa Cruise is Coming to Town!

Santa Christmas cruises and boat trips

That’s right. ‘Tis the season for Christmas puns and goodwill to all community boating projects. Here’s a roundup of what some of the NCBA members are up to during the festive season. If you don’t see an event near you why not find your nearest project and check what they are up to? Just seeing … Continue reading

Community Boats at Halloween

Several of the NCBA members offer themed events at Halloween. This weekend the Hillingdon Narrowboats Association are running Halloween Specials from the Coy Carp, Harefield There will be sweets for the children and pumpkin pie for the grown-ups. Each trip takes about an hour and costs £5 for adults, £2 for children and £12 for … Continue reading

Community Boat Under Threat

Hillingdon Narrowboats Association

Hillingdon Narrowboats Association provides affordable boating for schools, voluntary organizations, community groups, nursing homes and clubs. They are based near Uxbridge, (north west of London) and also hold NCBA-accredited training courses. They have recently been fundraising to save ‘Spirit’, their accessible boat. She is now under imminent threat and needs help to save her. Hillingdon … Continue reading


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