Nav-Watch is a collaborative project between Canal and Barrow branches of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland. Nav-Watch came about due to difficulties on the navigation over the past few seasons, and, a concern of boaters to constructively contribute to the information available to Waterways Ireland with regard to maintenance issues. The Nav-Watch project has developed a survey tool for boaters and other users of the system to log issues on navigation or infrastructure that impede use of the navigation. It is anticipated the data collected will be of significant use for planning maintenance required to keep the navigation usable. Regular updates on issues logged will be published, so all interested parties can assess needs and resources required. The project vision is to regain the unimpeded canal navigation by strategically executing a step by step improvement process with Waterways Ireland.
Log encountered issues on our survey,
click the button “USE OUR SURVEY” below.
Making the Navigation a Priority
In recent years there has been much talk of the deterioration of the quality of the navigation of the Grand, Royal and river Barrow navigations. Many of us encountered issues, endured the conditions and often forced ourselves to forget all about it once we reached the end of the canals. With extensive development of the greenways along the towpaths of the canal networks, it is feared Waterways Ireland now have more responsibility for maintaining the extensive greenway infrastructure. The focus of the maintenance of the canals could switch to an aesthetic perspective as Waterways Ireland’s priority shifts away from maintenance of the navigation. The utilisation of the greenways brings a whole new combination of stakeholders to the equation, some of which have very significant weight behind their presence when it comes to demanding alterations to the historic infrastructure and have little regard to the original navigable purpose of the canals.
It must be mentioned though, Waterways Ireland do as much as they can with limited resources at present. But, long gone are the days of the canal engineers travelling the canals by barge, by doing this they became very aware of the most critical snags on the navigation. Without this first-hand knowledge Waterways Ireland rely on us and other stakeholders of the navigation to notify them of issues encountered upon our travels. Without a continuous flow of information, it is very easy for Waterways Ireland to become disconnected from the issues boaters face when travelling the canals and Barrow.
It is suspected the navigational quality of the canal network has deteriorated in recent years, but, there is currently no accurate way to measure this sentiment. This lead to the development of the survey tool, it facilitates a central medium for the membership and wider stakeholders to log and record issues encountered on the canal and barrow navigation’s. The collected data would allow the group to measurably trace and track each issue encountered by the navigational stakeholders.
How will this data be used?
Monthly, a report will be updated onto the Nav-Watch website and distributed to IWAI branches and executive. We will also work with Waterways Ireland to convey the issues, we, as stakeholders of the navigation are encountering on our travels on the canals and barrow navigation’s. It is hoped, with this information we can influence the maintenance programmes and projects of the navigation’s to address the critical issues from a boat owners perspective. It is worth noting, we will never share personal details outside of the project group, reporting of issues to IWAI, Waterways Ireland or wider stakeholders will only include details of the issue. The data from the survey will be kept secure and will be collected onto a spread sheet, each logged issue is recorded with a date and time any personal data collected will not be shared with any body else and will be used only for validation purposes – this gives us the power to start to record and track issues over a longer period and establish the stability of the canals – are they getting worse or remaining the same?
We Need Your Help!
The survey tool facilitates the acquisition of data and allows us to collate all the issues encountered throughout the canal and Barrow navigation networks. However, we need everybody to log any issues encountered on your journeys and keep logging further issues as they are encountered. The information you provide gives us the ability to work with Waterways Ireland to improve the conditions of the canals.
If you encounter anything out of the ordinary, we encourage you to please log it in the survey, for example:
- Broken footboards
- Loose stonework
- Low water levels
- Weed (both native and invasive)
- Defective locks/racks/gates
We need details of your experiences to build the reports, without any data we cannot recommend any changes for improvements to the conditions. Your canals won’t improve without your help!