British Waterways is listening!

Earlier this winter, John Slee, NABO’s continuous cruising rep, emailed British Waterways with a complaint, that Sally Ash, Head of Boating Services, has described as "well justified".

The first matter concerned inaccurate information on boating facilities in the Birmingham area.

In her reply, Sally said that the out of date printed material has now been withdrawn; Dean Davies, BW West Midlands area manager has set his customer service supervisors to work to correct the online Boaters Guide information and as soon as it is validated, it will be uploaded onto

Sally said that BW also plans to make it easier for boaters to report errors, to appeal more widely for assistance in this task and to reduce the time taken to correct their database.


In addition to two other matters, John questioned why ABC rather than BW appeared in the footer of BW emails. Sally responded that many years ago, when BW’s electronic file storage was limited and email communications had not yet taken off, they created a special ‘bw’ computer font. Typing ABC, having selected this special font, displayed the BW logo – but only of course on a PC with the font installed! "BW’s marketing manager, Nicky Ross is now working with the technical guys to make the necessary changes to their systems and staff instructions."

So well done for listening, BW, and thank you Sally Ash for the concise and helpful response.

The British Waterways chairman, Tony Hales, said on one of his blogs recently: "We get it wrong sometimes – but not on purpose." He also said, "I think we are increasingly getting it right and that is because our Waterway Managers are becoming closer to users and are spending more time listening to their points of view – not always agreeing of course."

NABO wants to work with BW and is cautiously pleased with the way things seem to be moving.