The Narrow Boat Trust

Over the last few years, Nauticalia customers have raised almost £100,000 to support maritime charities such as the RNLI, Dunkirk Little Ships, the Sailors’ Society, and the preservation of Mary Rose amongst others.

Our charity partner for this year is The Narrow Boat Trust. Established in 1970, they are committed to not only restoring and preserving traditional canal craft, but actively employing them for public benefit through education and carrying cargo such as coal – keeping traditional skills alive.

They have restored and operate a pair of working narrow boats, Nuneaton – a 70ft all-steel motor boat built by W. J. Yarwood & Sons at Northwich, Cheshire in 1936 - and Brighton – a 70ft all-steel butty built by Harland and Wolff at Woolwich in 1935. Together the vessels have a carrying capacity of around 40 tons and demonstrate how boats and cargoes were operated during heyday of the canals. Members of the Trust can crew the boats and, through professional training, qualify to captain the pair on the canals and rivers in England.

Both boats have cabins for crew accommodation and, in addition to membership and donations, earn their keep carrying and delivering coal to boats and hard-to-reach places on our canals and rivers including the Thames, Wey and the Kennet – exactly the type of work for which they were originally built.

If you are interested in traditional working canal narrowboats and would like an opportunity to gain hands-on experience of steering both motor boat and butty boat, working as a traditional 'pair' then the Trust would love to hear from you. No matter if you are an experienced boat owner, regular hirer or complete novice you will find handling these boats an interesting and rewarding experience as well giving you an insight into a way of life and skills from an age gone by. There are also opportunities to see Brighton and Nuneaton in full working trim at one of several canal and waterways festivals and events each year.

Please help, perhaps adding one of our donations to your order. We’ll pass it straight on. For more information, please visit

Thank You.