The Princess Royal has been canal boating in Wiltshire this week reports The Wiltshire Times. She took a short narrowboat trip to meet the local people of Devizes who helped restore the Caen Hill flight 40 years ago. The Queen reopened the Kennet and Avon canal in 1990. The princess also presented the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service to David Bruce, president of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust.

In 2012 The Rivertime Boat Trust won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and in 2013 The South Staffordshire Narrowboat Company won the award.

Rivertime is a 12-seater day boat based in Henley on Thames for use by disabled and disadvantaged children and adults. The South Staffordshire Narrowboat Company provides day trips for the elderly, disabled and youth groups on their specially designed narrowboat based in Wolverhampton. The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service recognises volunteering work that is a social, economic or environmental service to the local community.

Change the World

Changing the world can sometimes mean just making a difference on a local level. Community boating projects can make a real difference in people’s lives.

There are over 100 local community canal boat organisations in the UK offering access to the waterways for disadvantaged members of the community. Some projects run electrically powered boats which are cleaner, greener and quieter. Some restore historic boats and some run seasonal events such as Santa cruises or Easter boat trips. Some organisations have worked with Sail4Cancer to provide respite for children, young people and families living with cancer. This was a pilot project organised by the National Community Boats Association; an umbrella organisation representing inland waterway community boating organisations.

Your Local Project

There are many community boats based on the Grand Union canal around Hertfordshire and in Central London, such as Beauchamp in Little Venice, Tarporley in Camden and the Angel Community Canal Boat Trust in Islington. Heading out of London there is Hillingdon Narrowboats Association and the South West Herts Narrowboat Project to name but a few. The NCBA blog covers awards, events, and news and provides information about several training courses. Articles range from How to Live on a Boat with a Disability to 5 Boating Rules You Don’t Even Know You Are Breaking.

Getting Experience

Volunteering or training with your local community boating project is a great way to get valuable experience before buying your own boat. If you are about to sell your boat but still want to be involved with the waterways, then community boating could be for you.

Read more about how to sell your boat.


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Living on a Boat: The Boatshed Guide (free) / How to Sell a Boat: The Ultimate Guide / How to Buy a Boat: The Ultimate Guide / The best blog articles of 2013/ Don’t miss: The Boatshed Grand Union Daily/ A slideshow of our boat of the moment./More articles.

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