Volunteer roles

Become part of the Waterways Experiences team

Pick the role that suits you best

We’ll match your skills, abilities and interests to the right role to ensure that you get the most out of your volunteer experience with us. Take a look at the role profiles and decide which one suits you best. Then, complete our expression of interest form


Although the public face of Waterways Experiences is our boat crew, there are many other volunteers working in the background to ensure that the organisation runs smoothly and we usually have opportunities for experienced administrators.  Whether your expertise is in finance, HR, communications, marketing,  training, tourism, maintenance or logistics, we have desk-based roles to suit everyone.  Most of the work  can be done at home with occasional visits to the Base at Nash Mills or a zoom meeting to meet up with the rest of the team.     

Team Leaders are responsible for the smooth day to day running the organisation through their own specialist team.  We are always looking for enthusiastic volunteers willing to take on more responsibility, able to deputise for their Team Leader and maybe take on the role themselves one day.                                 

Our constitution allows for up to nine trustees and we are keen to attract new blood.  Each trustee serves a three year term and can serve a maximum of three terms.  

Boat and base maintenance team

There are three sub-teams – boat maintenance, base maintenance and gardening.

It takes a lot of effort to keep our three boats in good order – a housekeeping team ensures that  the insides of the boats are in clean, apple-pie order.  They tackle everything from checking the inventory to making sure that the windows sparkle.  A separate team of volunteers ensures that the boats and base are maintained in the best condition, carrying out repair jobs, large or small… there is always something to be done on a boat requiring expert skills from cleaning to carpentry, painting, mechanical or electrical engineering and more.

The gardening team does a wonderful job keeping the grounds in tip-top shape and we get many, many compliments from our clients.  

Boat crew

No previous experience of canal boating is necessary but you must be physically fit and reasonably agile and strong. Some of our Grand Union Canal lock gates take some pushing to open and close!  

Once registered as a potential trainee, we’ll offer you a ‘taster’ trip on one of our client trips where you can shadow the crew and see what’s involved.  On each trip, the skipper is accompanied by two, or in some cases three, trained crew members and on your ‘taster’ trip you will be able to see how the crew work together.  After that, the next step is to complete a two-part training schedule involving a mixture of teaching and hands-on practice. 

Participation in the training programme is required for experienced canal boaters as well as novices.  This is to ensure that we all follow our consistent, safety-wise crewing practices. 

Canal maintenance

We have adopted a local stretch of the Grand Union Canal and work in partnership with Canal & River Trust to keep the canal tidy.  We clear rubbish, cut back overhanging vegetation, paint bridges and all manner of necessary jobs.  

If you don’t see a role that sounds right for you, feel free to drop an email to volunteersupport@wexp.org.uk  telling us a little bit about your skills and availability for volunteering and one of the team will get back to you. 

Not local to Hemel Hempstead?

We have a few places on each of our Enable holiday trips for one-off volunteering. This would suit you if you don’t live locally or can’t commit to regular year-round crewing.  For more information visit our Enable Holidays page or email enable@wexp.org.uk.

If you are interested in volunteering with Waterways Experiences, we’ll match your skills, abilities and interests to a suitable role to ensure that you get the most out of your volunteer experience with us. Have a look at the role profiles and decide which one suits you best. Even better, listen to what our volunteers have to say about their volunteer experience.