British Waterways and the Angling Trust warn of weir pool dangers

Ahead of the main fishing season British Waterways (BW) and the Angling Trust are reminding anglers of the dangers posed by fishing in weir pools. The advice follows a tragic incident in January in which one angler died after he and a friend got into difficulties when their aluminium boat was dragged under the water at Cromwell Weir on the River Trent. Since the incident British Waterways has worked in partnership with local fishing clubs and the Angling Trust to review safety at Cromwell. BW has agreed to install additional signage at the site and is planning to install a siren system enabling the lock keeper to warn boats in the danger area immediately below the weir. Now the two organisations are advising that, whenever fishing on rivers, anglers take extra care to ensure that they go home unharmed at the end of the day. In particular anglers are strongly urged to follow the advice of signage on site to avoid areas, both on land and on the water, which have been identified as presenting potential safety hazards.
Sean McGinley, Waterway Manager for the East Midlands explains; “The incident at Cromwell Weir earlier this year was deeply saddening and nobody within the angling community wants to see it happen again. Our advice is very simple; when fishing on the river, pay attention to the signage on site and keep away from areas where possible safety hazards have been identified. “It’s also worth speaking to the relevant local angling club – they are great sources of local knowledge on where to get the best catches and any areas where particular care is needed. By taking these simple steps anglers can really enjoy the fantastic angling on the river whilst, most importantly, going home safely at the end of the day.”
David Kent, Director of the Angling Trust said; “There are fantastic opportunities for angling on canals and rivers throughout the country but we need to make sure that anglers are reminded of simple, common sense measures that they can take to reduce the occasional risks that are involved with any activity involving water.”
A list of Angling Trust member clubs can be found at with details of how to join. Read more on the British Waterways website…

Stay safe by the water this summer

Now that the summer is officially here and the days are getting warmer the British Waterways is urging visitors to the 2,000 miles of canal to enjoy the waters safely. 12 million people visit the waterways each year and the canals and rivers are more popular than ever. Although they may look tempting to cool off in on a hot summer’s day, British Waterways is urging people to stay safe and keep out of the water.

Canals are a real haven for people and nature and have something to offer everyone, from walkers and cyclists to boaters and anglers, families on days out and those wanting to enjoy the sunshine. Although the water may look inviting, any open body of water can pose a hazard, particularly to unsupervised children or anyone under the influence of alcohol.
People should resist the temptation to take a dip. The water is frequently colder than expected and can bring on cramps and sap energy of even the strongest swimmers. Dangers from strong current and faster flowing water around locks and weirs could also drag swimmers into danger. Contact with canal or river water can also bring about nasty stomach illnesses or Weil’s disease which although rare can be serious.

Tony Stammers, British Waterways’ Head of Health and Safety, said: “The canals are a great place to visit on a warm summer’s day as not only will visitors see lots of boats on the water but you will also see a wide variety of wildlife fluttering along the towpath. Canals, rivers and reservoirs are not suitable places for swimming as they may have hidden dangers lurking beneath the water that could cause serious injury if someone was to jump in. They can also be deep and the water quite cold which can quickly cause someone to get into trouble. It is far safer and much more fun to visit your local swimming pool or lido to cool off in the summer heat.” Read more on the British Waterways website…

Drowning Prevention: In the spotlight at National Safety Seminar this week

The National Water Safety Seminar, hosted by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, takes place on Thursday, bringing together more than 100 professionals with responsibility for water safety across the UK. The seminar, which comes just weeks after new figures revealed there were 420 water-related deaths from accidents or natural causes in the UK in 2010, will focus on how accident prevention standards can be taken forward despite difficult financial operating conditions. All parts of the water safety industry will be represented, including beach, inland water (e.g. rivers and lakes), sea, swimming pool and water sports safety. The seminar, taking place at ETC Venues – Maple House, Birmingham, is supported by the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF).
Key presentations will be given by:
– Tony Stammers, head of health and safety at British Waterways: how practitioners can balance the cost of protection without sacrificing high standards
– David Walker, leisure safety manager at RoSPA, and Mike Barrett, of the NWSF: how the pioneering Water Incident Database (WAID) has developed since 2009
– Richard Wilson, head of the office of the chief executive at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency: the recently published Blueprint for Future Coastguard Organisation in the UK and its implications for coastal safety ·
– Mike Vlasto OBE, chairman of the NWSF: the future of water safety and the challenges that may lie ahead over the next 18 months
– NWSF members – sea, beach, inland, swimming pool and water sports updates.
Read the full press release on the RoSPA website…

Canal & River Trust appoints heritage committee

The Canal & River Trust, the charity that will become the guardian of British Waterways’ 2,000 miles of canals and rivers in England and Wales in 2012, has confirmed appointments to a new committee that will help to protect the heritage of the waterways.
The Canal & River Trust will be responsible for the third largest collection of listed buildings in the UK and the committee of nine people, chaired by former Chairman of English Heritage, Sir Neil Cossons, will provide valuable advice and support on heritage and conservation issues. Read more on the British Waterways website…

Come and explore the secret history of your local West Midlands Canal

Local residents are invited to delve into the history of West Midlands’ 200 year old canal network and find out why the waterways in this area are so special.
The Canal & River Trust, the new waterways charity taking over responsibility of the local canals and rivers from British Waterways, are supporting a series of canal heritage walks which will allow local people to discover the secrets and mysteries of their local black country canal. The volunteer led walks, taking place between the 29 April and the 30 May, will allow visitors to take in a number of canals in the West Midlands including those around Birmingham, Walsall, Dudley, Kidderminster and Stourport. As well as being able to explore and find out more about these historic waterways local people will also be able to visit a pumping station and view a lime kiln – both of which were important to the waterways during the canal building era. Read more on the British Waterways website…

Canal & River Trust welcomes charity registration

The Charity Commission has confirmed the registration of the Canal & River Trust under registration number 1146792. The news means that the fledgling Trust, which already has a Board of Trustees, a governing Council and, in HRH The Prince of Wales, a Royal Patron, is now legally permitted and will soon be ready to raise charitable income to support its objectives. Read more on the British Waterways website…

New trustees appointed to the Canal & River Trust

The Canal & River Trust, the charity that will become the guardian of British Waterways’ 2,000 miles of canals and rivers in England and Wales in 2012, has appointed three new trustees to its Board. The new trustees bring considerable business skills and experience to the Trust. In addition their specialist knowledge in the key areas of finance, asset management, and property investment will benefit the charity, which will be the third largest owner of listed buildings in the UK and one of the top 20 charities by income. Read more on the British Waterways website… 

Public invited to ‘unlock’ iconic waterway role

The Canal & River Trust (CRT), the charity which takes over British Waterways’ responsibility for 2,000 miles of waterways in England & Wales in April 2012, is today (Monday 16 January) calling on local communities in across the country to get involved in a unique opportunity that will see them carry out an iconic role along their local canal – as a volunteer lock keeper. Read more on the British Waterways website…