Breaking news! New Waterways Chaplaincy website is live!



Waterways Chaplaincy – the bigger picture

Within the UK there are over 2000 miles of waterways and canals. They are used both for pleasure and also -for all kinds of reasons – as a place to live. Our Waterways Chaplains support all who come they come across, but especially the more vulnerable and marginalised who ‘live aboard’.


As the more vulnerable silently travel through our communities in their boats, you would be forgiven for not even realising they had been there. Many would not choose this way of life, but have had it thrust on them for economic and personal reasons.

Our Waterways Chaplains seek to ‘be there for them’. Whether it is simply to be a ‘listening ear’ or offer more practical support.


To be a catalyst in the waterways communities to bring about short and long term personal transformation – emotionally, mentally and spiritually’.


Living it out

Waterways Chaplaincy lives out this vision by being pastorally proactive and spiritually reactive.

The Church exists to go to people, not to wait for them to come into church. Jesus Christ went out to people. And so the work of the chaplain is to go to people and not hang around and wait…’

(Archbishop Justin Welby, on Waterways Chaplaincy June 2015).

Our values are to

To act justly,love mercy and walk humbly with our God.




  • Waterways Chaplaincy offers support to those who use and live on the UK’s waterways and canals. Chaplains are volunteers from local churches who regularly visit the waterways, offering companionship and a listening  ear to individuals.
  • Chaplains are interested in whoever they meet, be they boaters, cyclists, walkers, runners, anglers or canal Chaplains share with people in good and bad times. They support and encourage everyone regard less of religion, orientation or race and are always happy to offer practical and spiritual help.
  • The Waterways Chaplaincy is developing a national network extending into  both   rural   and   urban It operates as part of Workplace Matters, an ecumenical partnership reaching out and taking Christian values, through its chaplains, into workplaces and locations where there is no natural church community.

The needWaterways - snow

In recent years there has been increasing numbers of people moving on to the waterways. People tend to think that the waterways are quiet uninhabited backwaters, largely disused. Where once the canals were used solely for transport purposes, they are now attracting a larger variety of people: boaters, walkers, anglers, cyclists, new home owners, businesses, as well as those seeking a floating home offering a calmer, less stressful existence.

2008 Salvation Army Report  “Seeds of Exclusion”

‘20% of the UK population live in relative poverty. Some migrate to waterways for a cheaper and alternative lifestyle, sometimes unsupported’

Our Chaplains

Our chaplains are volunteers from local churches who are part of the local community. They share in good and bad times and are supportive and encouraging of all, regard less of religion, orientation or race. They support people of all faiths or none, and are always happy to discuss spiritual and practical matters if invited to do so.

Qualities include:

  • Listener
  • Christian Faith
  • Team Player
  • Willing to learn
  • Empathy with people
  • Commitment
  • Self-awareness
  • Caring



Contact Details