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Crew News no. 6    April /May 2017
In this issue:
: New 'Crew Duties' leaflet | First Aid and Defibs | feathered friends |Your views on Internet |Yet more from PAT! | New Team Leader Danny |Thanks &
Welcomes | Useful links |

OPPORTUNITIES: |Enables | Boat Masters | Admins| Race for Life | Twitter or Instagram support | Boxmoor Canal Festival  27/9/May | Armed Forces Day 1 July | Race for Life 23 July |
OTHER NEWS: |Bookings |Young carers' weekend | Rickmansworth Fest 20/21 May |Farewell nb Belfast | Coffee Ethic |
Hello <<First Name>>  

Half a year of monthly Crew News!  I've accidentally skipped a month with this issue, which being a few days late, I've decided to make a combined April & May one.  The next issue will be June's which will appear at the beginning of the month.  Incidentally, if you'd like to re-visit or share these newsletters with friends, you can find links to  this and all previous issues on our website

The chances are that most of us signed up to help Waterways Experiences because we wanted to share our love of boating with others less fortunate than ourselves while enjoying the canal at the same time. Isn't it great that we have such access to 'free boating'?! 

Please spare a thought then for what it takes behind the scenes to ensure that every trip booked has a crew, that the world knows about us, that we always have diesel in the tanks, that Enable participants’ parents can be confident that our crews have been properly vetted and so on and so on.  A myriad of back office jobs like these have to be done by people not asking for a wage.  

If you're not already contributing behind the scenes, do read the 'Opportunities' section this month - it's packed with all manner of jobs needing someone like you!

Thanks to contributors to this month's issue.  Please continue to keep us posted at with anything of interest or importance to fellow volunteers.

Thanks and happy crewing! 

PS An important date for your diary:  Notice that this year’s AGM will be on TUESDAY 20TH JUNE starting at 6.30pm - just a few weeks after the end of the financial year that it reports on (1/4/16 to 31/3/17).  Papers will be emailed out ahead of the meeting as usual. 


 New for boat crews
The membership team has written an important new leaflet aimed at ensuring crews carry out all duties consistently and comprehensively.  We’ve printed more than enough for one for each crew member, so please collect your copy when next at the base, then read and hang onto it for reference.
First  Aid & Defibs - read this -
(it could save someone's life) 

Because we host so many elderly and infirm people on our boats, we’re giving increasing attention to ensuring that should the worst ever happen, our crews are trained to react correctly to a health emergency.  

We reached a milestone at the end of March with more than 50 of our volunteers achieving the Level 2 Emergency First Aid at work qualification.  It is likely that one or two further First Aid courses will be run in January/February of next year so if you are interested,  please drop Paddy Flavin a line.

All skippers have had training in manual CPR (remember 2 puffs and 30 compressions!)  We all know the initials, but do you know what CPR stands for?  

Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation is an emergency procedure that combines chest compression often with artificial ventilation in an effort to manually preserve brain function intact until further measures can be taken to restore spontaneous blood circulation and breathing in a person who is in cardiac arrest.  

CPR can be a life saver, but resuscitation is many times more successful if there’s an AED on hand.  ?AED?  An Automatic Electronic Defibrillator, commonly referred to as a ‘defib’.  

We now have Defibs on each of our boats and in the Visitor Centre.  These machines are foolproof and operate by themselves. All we do is listen to and follow the voice-recorded instructions when the machine is opened. They are truly a real lifesaver in circumstances where someone’s heart has stopped.  Their use is demonstrated in the First Aid and Skipper training, but anyone can use them.  It only works on a person whose heart has stopped so there’s no risk if it turns out to be a false alarm.  

Please have a look at this video guidance on our defibs 

And talking of life saving … let’s not forget our feathered friends!
The seemingly innocent act of feeding ducks with bread is harming waterfowl and polluting waterways.  Find out why and take the Duck and Lettuce taste test! 

We’ve now got envelopes of healthy food for the ducks and swans on each of the boats, so please point them out to clients.  Refill the envelopes from the big bag in the Beach Hut, and if you need more envelopes, there’s a supply in one of the left-hand drawers in the desk by the kitchen hatch in the EVC


What are your views on using the internet??

The Communications team (aka Marketing) needs to know this!  If you didn't do the survey last month (only 7 did!), please click here and do it now - it's very short and quick.   

  Yet more from PAT  

In a former life as a medical technician, John Dickins was always told that it was considered very bad manners to electrocute your patient!   Your trustees think similarly – it’s equally bad manners to electrocute a fellow volunteer or client.   His message this month is …Image result for electricity hazards

“All the mains electrical equipment on our site and boats is tested regularly. More vulnerable pieces are tested more frequently.  Possibly the most vulnerable are the shore leads that deliver 240 volts to the boats when they are moored at the base. Last week, while testing all three of them, I found that the longest lead which is normally used in the Visitor Centre was dangerously faulty. The “female” connector (the one that the boat is plugged into) contained a rusty part inside. Where it came from I don't know - it certainly wasn’t fitted by me and nor was it present when I did the previous test 3 months ago.

Whilst rusty it would still work and supply 240 volts to the boat, even though the earth lead was not connected.  The earth is there to lessen the risk of electrocution by the massive and potentially lethal 240 volts that run through standard domestic mains supply in the UK.

If you were responsible for somebody getting electrocuted you may never forgive yourself.

If you are electrocuted, you'll probably not have the chance to forgive yourself!

If you need to repair or alter something, or you see a potential problem please let me know, don't do it yourself!”

New Boat Crew Team Leader Danny writes …

Ever since I've been involved with WExp, I've been amazed at what volunteers will willingly do. Many new crew members quickly get “hooked”  and go on to become skippers, boat masters or members of our essential shore teams.

But we also have lots of volunteers for whom being 'crew' is plenty. I felt that these people could benefit from better representation in our organisation so was happy to offer to lead a new team for boat crew members.   

My plan (such as it is) is to liaise with crew who don't belong to any other team, and who risk being left out on a limb.  Having established a list of the relevant volunteers, first step will be to make contact and seek views on what’s needed.  
Do please get in touch with me if you have ideas or suggestions: or call for a chat on 07722 057155

(Next month, we’ll be hearing from our other new team leader, Christine (Chrissey) Thompson – she confesses that right now she’s up to her ears in getting to grip with her new role.) 

Thanks and welcomes

Christine Thompson, our new Training Team Leader has made a flying start, training no less than 13 people over the past month.   So congratulations to the following people:

New widebeam crew:  Emilia Liddell, Tony Lenten, Alan Standford, Colin Smith.

New Sheldrake 3 crew:  Bob Gabbey, Nigel Parke, Paul Young, Linda May, Mike King, Ed Magee. 

Well done too to  Simon Beales , Phil Moody, Chris Saxton for embarking on skipper training.  

And very big ’thank you’s’ to the six young ‘Dragon’s Apprentices’ who raised £614 for Waterways Experiences.  John is pictured here proudly with them at the recent award ceremony. The money will be used to help fund this year’s Enable trips.    

Useful links for all

Maintenance news
Skippers' and crews' guide to SH2 & CS 
Who does what in WExp,
Privacy Policy
How to claim expenses
Volunteer role vacancies
Trip calendar - for pro-active crew offers
Gift Aid Form

The following are restricted to people logged in from an '@wexp' email account

WExp IT Guide       
 WExp wifi 


 Enable trips - final crew vacancies 

We have nearly all boats fully crewed for this summer’s trips but are pretty desperate for TWO YOUNG PEOPLE for 5-12 August.  Do you know a responsible young person who could rise to a rewarding challenge like this?  If so, please get in touch with asap .  Here’s a link you could share with anyone potentially interested.

...and anyone can help by shopping at the Coop!

Again this year we’re hoping to be able to cover the full costs of these trips so participants don’t have to pay anything.  Prudential has once again awarded us a valuable grant and we’re hoping for a similar response from Santander.  We’ve also been successful in being chosen for support by Co-op – the amount we receive will depend on how local co-op shoppers choose to allocate their votes – please look out in your local branch for the opportunity to support our bid.

Boat Masters 
We are perilously close this year to having to turn away bookings for Sheldrake 3 for want of Boatmasters.  We’re working hard to train more but this takes time.  If you happen to know of an already MCA-qualified Boatmaster who might be willing to join us, even on an occasional basis, this summer, please get in touch with

Admins needed!   
Last month’s appeal for new team leaders bore fruit and now Trustees are calling on anyone with reasonable admin skills to step forward and help out in any of the following teams – Crewing (logistics), Maintenance, Enable, Membership.  Would a few hours a week be too much to give up to sustain our wonderful charity for the long term?    
Please contact asap to discuss how you might be able to help. 

Twitter or Instagram user?
If you’re active on either of these and would consider helping with our pages, please contact

Boxmoor Canal Festival & floating market  27th-29th May
Alan Rook at the Fishery Wharf Cafe is looking for volunteers to help at this lovely event over the bank holiday.  We would have taken a boat , were they not  all already booked for trips.  Alan is looking for 4 volunteer stewards for each of 6 different sessions,  1000 to 1400 and 1400 to 1800 each day - there’s a free meal for those who help.  Please contact, our coordinator for this event  - volunteers welcomed from your family members too!  It should be jolly community event which will help keep our name in the community.   

Armed forces Day, 1st July  Gadebridge Park
Dacorum Borough Council is organising a celebration to show support and appreciation for the Armed Forces Community. The free, outdoor event will be at Gadebridge Park on 1st July from 11am – 4pm, with arena entertainment and refreshment stalls for all of the family to enjoy.  Local community groups have been invited to take part by taking a stall.   We’ll exhibit if there are offers to help from WExp members.  Please contact if you would like to support this. 

Race for Life

On Sunopenday 23rd July, Cancer Research UK are hoping to see 1,500 women taking part in St Albans Race for Life 5k and 10k at Verulamium Park, raising vital funds for life-saving research into all 200 types of cancer. As well as participants, they are looking for volunteers (male and female) to help put on the event. They really couldn’t do it without volunteers. It doesn’t matter what role you do. It doesn’t matter how much time you give. What matters is beating cancer. Email to volunteer.


Bookings - still running ahead of the curve with a  total of 319 days booked by 20 April 2017.  (Last year it was 289 by13 May).  So please keep the crewing offers coming!

Our first ‘Enable’ trip of 2017 for Young Carers happened at the end of March.  Read John Bennett’s illustrated account 

Rickmansworth 20-21st  May
Sheldrake 2 will again be at the ever-popular Rickmansworth Waterways Festival at the Aquadrome.  Moorings have been rearranged this year and we’ll be on no.19, the second slot south of  Frogmore Bridge.  We have a full quota of volunteers to talk to visitors but if you’re artistically inclined, how about dressing Sheldrake 2 and entering it into the competition??  Contact if you’re interested.  

If you’re thinking of coming along anyway - it’s a great, free day out - here is information  about the entertainments programme and the boater’s party on Friday evening.  

Farewell to our neighbour, Narrowboat Belfast   
We’re sad to be saying goodbye to Graeme Pattison and Dacorum Narrow Boat Project.  After many years of valuable service to
community boating providing trips for Scout groups and the like, dwindling demand has forced them to sell the boat and wind up the charity.  Belfast was built for the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company in 1936 and was purchased as scrap  in 1970 by enthusiasts who operated it as a camping boat for local young people. It moved to its current mooring in 1980.  

A message from another of our worthy neighbours …
Druglink helps those affected by substance misuse by encouraging prevention, recovery and reintegration. Coffee Ethic provides high quality, fair trade coffee, tea, hot chocolate and snacks. The service offers people in recovery the opportunity to learn new skills and build confidence.  They're asking for our  help with their market research so please do this by take their short ‘Coffee Ethic: Coffee At Home’ survey.
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