Join the crew!

Would you like to skipper an electric launch on Constable’s beautiful River Stour?

The River Stour Trust is looking for volunteers to join its team of skippers and crew operating its fleet of electric launches on the River Stour in Suffolk, made famous in John Constable’s paintings.

The launches are operated by our dedicated volunteers offering river trips at Sudbury, Dedham and Flatford. They carry thousands of people every year, from Easter until the end of October, helping the Trust raise vital funds to continue its work.

This year is the Trust’s 50th Anniversary preserving the River Stour for you! The Trust has completed a number of successful projects such as; restoring or rebuilding four of the 25-mile waterway’s 13 derelict locks, two slipways, retaining vital river access points and building a riverside Visitor Education Centre. Our annual events include the Sudbury to the Sea canoeing weekend which attracts over 500 entrants from all over the world! These are just some of our achievements BUT we cannot relax – we want the navigation to be there for the enjoyment of all for at least another 50 years!

The river is peaceful, with just swans and occasional rowing boats to negotiate, and you will find yourself drifting back 200 years to the days when it was a busy commercial waterway, with 50ft lighters towed in pairs by horses through 13 locks from the sea at Manningtree to Sudbury.

The 21ft launches are simplicity itself to drive, with smooth, quiet electric motors, and maximum speeds of 4mph. Anyone who can handle a narrowboat or river cruiser will be able to drive one, but full training and familiarisation with the river will be provided. Or you can join the elite team operating our restored 19th Century River Stour Lighter. This is 50ft long, with two powerful electric drives, and it is a test of skill to manoeuvre this 160-year-old craft through locks, with only inches to spare.

The boats operate from Easter until the end of October on weekends and occasional weekdays, but you can volunteer for as many or as few days per year as you wish. Travelling along the river affords you the chance to see its many delights and parts of the local countryside that are inaccessible by foot or road.

We also need people to look after the shore side of the operations, taking bookings and money, so if you are not as active as you once were you can still be a part of this worthwhile operation, and get to meet the many visitors from who come from every nation of the world to visit Constable Country.

What better way to spend a pleasant day than on this beautiful and historic waterway!

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