Nav-Watch Group

‘What gets reported, gets fixed.’

The group’s aim is to assist Waterways Ireland (WI) in planning maintenance along the Grand Canal, Royal Canal and Barrow Navigation by logging issues encountered when using these navigations and lobbying government to give WI sufficient resources to carry out regular maintenance on the canals.  The Group consists of two or more representatives from the Barrow, Dublin, Kildare, North Barrow, Offaly and Royal Branches of the IWAI.

Nav-Watch App

An easy to use App, designed and developed specifically for gathering information on difficulties encountered on the canals.


Over the past few seasons, regular users of the Canals and the Barrow have encountered problems that are getting worse each season.  The result has been many boaters abandoning the canals for what they perceive as trouble-free waters on the River Shannon. Two of the reasons for the current state of the canals are a reduction in basic funding and the resulting reduction in ground staff each year since 2011.  With the addition of warmer than usual summers in recent years and the introduction of invasive plant species from gardens into the canals, it has become very difficult for boaters to navigate the canals during the spring and summer months. 

Boaters on the canals decided to do something constructive to contribute to the information available to WI.  After examining the issues encountered, the Nav-Watch Group developed a survey tool for all users of the system, to log issues on the navigation or its infrastructure that impede people’s use of the navigation.

We anticipate the data collected will be of significant use to WI when planning the work required to keep the navigation usable. We publish regular updates on issues logged, so all interested parties can assess needs and resources required. Our vision is to regain a clear canal navigation by executing a step-by-step improvement process with Waterways Ireland.  Our Nav-Watch report published in 2020 outlines the issues to date and proposed solutions. 

Select to display Nav-Watch Form

We recommend you also report any problems encountered to Waterways Ireland at WI Contact and any sightings of invasive plant species to Biodiversity Ireland.

Some of the work required to keep the navigation open is described in Canal Management