Stoppages on the UK canal and River system
England and Wales has over 2,000 miles of Rivers and man made canals. So it's inevitable that at times the waterways may need to have restrictions or closures, these are called stoppages and can be due to a variety of reasons such as; maintenance works, lack of water during dry weather or leakage causing the canal or river to be too shallow for passage, or someone left the lock gates open and there's low water in the pound! other reasons could be; high water, or flooding, broken lock gates or repairs to bridges, or for emergency reasons such as an animal or person falling in, or anything blocking the canal such as a fallen tree or a sunken boat. Canals and rivers can also silt up over time making the water too shallow for navigation and requiring dredging to clear the silt.
General maintenance stoppages are usually planned, giving plenty of warning. They are generally carried out during the winter months on a winter works programme of maintenance, when the canals and waterways are quiet which minimises disruption. However in situations of emergency there may be no warning of restrictions or closures.
Canal and River Trust
The Canal and River Trust (CRT) (formerly British Waterways) are a charitable trust responsible for running and maintaining the UK's Waterways so that everyone can enjoy the waterways. They work with communities to transform their local canal or river, creating places and spaces that can be used and enjoyed by everyone, every day.
CRT also run the Boat Licence scheme and waterways repair programme, and monitor boat movement.
How to Check for stoppages
When planning a trip it is always a advisable to check online for any stoppages that could impede your progress. If any navigation closures should occur, it is much better to know in advance. Finding out only once you arrive at the stoppage in question can be disastrous. So before embarking on any boat journey on the canals or waterways, especially during the winter check for any planned stoppages. You can do this by looking at the Canal and River Trusts website where you can search by area for any CRT stoppage lists. You can also download a printable list to keep handy. Another great way of getting up to dates information is to follow CRT on social media for their latest updates.
You can also sign up for a free account with CRT via their website to get email updates each time there’s a new notice or stoppage. You can select which canals and rivers you want to know about and login and update your preferences whenever you like.
If you should notice a fallen tree, a broken lock gate or anything else that is blocking the canal or causing issues for boaters along the waterways, you should report it to the Canal & River Trust.