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Manchester Ship Canal Notes

Posted by indigodream on 3 September, 2009

Aha, I’ve hijacked the blog from Sue yet again…… There are a succession of people we had to talk to get from the Shroppie up to the River Weaver. Everybody is really helpful so don’t think just because you are not on a 560′ long ship that they won’t talk to you. There are useful guides online, in particular:

First contact should be with the Manchester Ship Canal Company: Colin Chambers 0151 327 1461. According to this  post on CWF, Colin Chambers has retired, the new contact is Huw Jones who can be reached on 0151 327 2038 or by email on Huw.Jones at  He will send you an exceedingly useful pack with a form, a list of surveyors and a map which makes no sense at all ’til you are on the canal when it becomes invaluable. You need to have a certificate of seaworthiness signed by one of the MSC’s accredited surveyors though there does seem to be considerable flexibility as to who actually does the survey. We used Brian Taylor (01606 836689) who is nominally retired (but still does MSC surveys) and lives canalside in Middlewich. The survey is not onerous, cost us £30. The form needs to be returned to the Manchester Ship Canal Company at least 2 days before you want to go on the canal with a cheque for £20.63. If you are short of time then talk to Brian or PMF Boat Services 01928 712260 as they have a stock of forms so you can cut out one postal delay. Other than standard boat safety requirements you must have an anchor and life jackets.

VHF radio is desirable but not essential, a mobile phone does well and in our case was the only thing that worked from where we were moored outside Weston Marsh Lock. There is a requirement for 55′ long ropes, you will need these if you go through any of the locks on the MSC but not really required at Ellesmere Port and Weston Marsh.

Once you drop down to Elsemere Port you will see that there is a swing bridge across the final lock. Top gates to that lock are chained up. Very strangely it is the Local Council that swing the bridge. Contact Robbie Bunker on 0151 356 6693 or 07786 277556 to swing the bridge (Update 20th June 2011: According to this post by Allan Jones on CWF, the Council contact is now Rob Taylor on 07799 658814); Contact BW on 01606 723800 to  open the lock; note – their hours are 08:30 to 16:30. A useful BW contact was Judith Brackley on 01606 723821. Note: You need to give everybody at least 48 hours notice.

We did the journey from Ellesmere Port to the River Weaver in about 1 hour. Top Tip: When you are talking to BW make sure that the office are clear as to when you are leaving Ellesmere Port and when you arrive at Weston Marsh. It is not so much of an issue when you are going to Ellesmere Port but if it is windy then it is awkward waiting for BW outside Weston Marsh Lock. Ring BW when you enter the MSC, ring them again when you are waiting outside the lock. Lots of boats make this passage, don’t worry about it too much!

3 Responses to “Manchester Ship Canal Notes”

  1. John Baines said

    Your first link on this page (to the IWA) returns a ‘Page Not Found’ error.

    Do you know where the information has gone?

    On the IWA site, I can only find information from Ellesmere Port to Manchester.



  2. indigodream said

    Thanks John, link updated.

    If you find that any of the contacts have changed, please let us know and we will also update.


  3. Adam said

    For info, the info at the MSC is now Alan Feast, Deputy Harbour Master, on 0151 949 6114

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