Canal and Waterway Mailing List/Forum

Founded 1995

Official emblem

On this page:

Separate pages: This mailing list/forum is for the discussion of canal and waterway related topics. Though to date the discussion has primarily centered on canals and rivers in the UK, there is no such restriction, and discussion of similar navigations outside of the UK is welcomed.

Though still called a "mailing list" out of force of habit, the list is now more aptly termed a "forum", as, in addition to email, you can participate via the web, or via "news". Any message sent to the list/forum, will automatically be emailed to all the email subscribers to the list, and become available via the web and "news" interfaces.

Email participants actually have two ways of receiving messages: either they can receive each message as soon as it is posted, or, they can opt to receive the "digest". Digest Messages are delivered in batches of 25 or daily, whichever comes sooner. A digest will therefore contain up to 25 postings in a single email message. On days with many postings, you may receive more than one digest per day.

Whichever way you decide to read messages, in order to participate, you'll need to "subscribe", and all you need to subscribe is valid email address. Subscribing can be done by email or via the web interface (not via "news")-- details will be found below. Once you are subscribed, you can access messages by any of the available methods (including "news"). Subscribers also have access to the archive of past messages (those posted since this new list incarnation appeared on December 8, 2003). See Message Archives below for information about earlier messages.

The list was started by Bill Davies in August 1995 for distribution of his newsletter. Bill initially ran this list manually, and had been asking for an automated list. I started one here (which was my intention before I discovered Bill), and we put on everyone from Bill's list.

Subscribers can expect on the order of 6 messages per day, though with considerable variation.

The list/forum is hosted for us for free by Yahoo!Groups. The "price" we pay for this service is that there could be small advertisements before or after the messages. These, however, have been extremely rare.

Other than these yahoo-placed advertisements, advertising is NOT permitted on the canals-list, neither by businesses nor by individuals.

This list/forum is "unmoderated", which means your messages will pass straight through to other list/forum subscribers without human intervention. However, members are most appreciative if you follow our netiquette suggestions. [The messages you see will be plain text only. The mailing list/forum software will remove any "attachments". For example, attached photos will not get through. Likewise the software will remove web (HTML) formating from any message, so, for instance, any "bold-facing" that you put into your posting will not be seen by the recipients. These policies protect the list/forum from passing on viruses. They also reduce the size of the postings, which is more convenient for those subscribers currently on boats and who are therefore receiving postings via slow cellphone connections.]

More on photos - though they cannot be attached to postings, subscribers can post photos on the canals-list yahoogroups page. Your posting can then inform readers to view the photos there. Posting and viewing photos does require a simple Yahoo registration, explained below.

[Prior to December 8, 2003, this list was [email protected].]
[Prior to March 17, 2002, this list was [email protected].]
[Prior to June 11, 1999, this list was [email protected].]


To subscribe via the web

This method requires registration with Yahoo, which also carries with it some additional benefits, such as the ability to view the message archive on the web. There is no cost to register, and you can also obtain a free Yahoo email address.

First, visit the Canals-list page at YahooGroups.


If you are already registered with Yahoo:

- Just click the "Join this group" button in the center above the description, and log in with your Yahoo ID, if you have not already done so.

If you are not already registered with Yahoo:

- Click the "Join this group" button in the center above the description. Then on the page that appears, click "Sign up now" to create a Yahoo ID. When this process is complete, you should be subscribed to the canals-list, and registered with Yahoo. Within the half-hour (usually), you should receive a reply asking you to verify your subscription request. Simply reply to this message, or use the link it contains, to confirm. (This step prevents people subscribing others as a prank.)

To subscribe by email

Merely send a blank email message to:

[email protected]

The message should be sent with your usual email reading program, from the address where you wish to receive your canals list email. Please note that the mailing list/forum software extracts your email address from the headers of your email message. Be sure your email program is sending out your address correctly. If it isn't, we have no way to contact you to tell you about the problem!

Within the half-hour (usually), you should receive a reply asking you to verify your subscription request. Simply reply to this message, or use the link it contains, to confirm. (This step prevents people subscribing others as a prank.)

If you wish to receive each message via email as soon as it is posted, you are done. However, if you wish to receive posting in fewer individual email messages, you can opt to receive the "digest", which contains up to 25 postings in a single email. In that case, send a blank email message, from your subscription address, to:

[email protected]

If you have been subscribing to the digest, but want to switch to receiving each message individually, then send a blank email, from your subscription address, to:

[email protected]


Whether you subscribe via the web or email, you must be able to receive the email message from Yahoo that requests confirmation of your subscription. If you don't receive this message, then it is possible that spam filtering, either by your own computer, or your internet service provider, may be discarding the messages. You may need to allow, at least temporarily, the receipt of emails from addresses at

Perhaps you have received and replied to the confirmation message, but, after a full day, have not begun receiving list messages. In this case, it is also possible that spam filtering may be the culprit. Be sure that your spam filter is set to allow messages from the list to get through. Each list message is "From:" the email address of the person that posted it, so that is no help. However you could use the fact that the subject line always contains "[canals-list]" as a trigger, or the fact that the "To:" line always is "[email protected]".


Every email message you receive contains directions for unsubscribing at the bottom of the message.

To unsubscribe, send a blank email from your subscription address to:

[email protected]

If you're going on holiday (vacation), and wish to stop emails from arriving while you're gone, you can either unsubscribe, or you can set your subscription to "web-only; no mail". Going "no-mail" is best, as your right to post messages is preserved. (If you unsubscribe, and then resubscribe, you become a "new member" and your postings may be delayed pending approval.)

If you want to go 'no-mail' for a holiday period, send a blank email, from your subscription address, to:

[email protected]

To restore email delivery upon your return, send a blank email, from your subscription address, to either:

[email protected], to restore delivery of individual messages as they are posted,


[email protected], to restore delivery of the digest.

To Read and Post Messages

To read and post messages via email

Messages will arrive in your email inbox, just like any email. If you have opted to receive messages one-at-a-time (as they are posted), then each message will appear to be "From" the person who posted it. If you have opted to receive the daily digest, the digest will be "From" ca[email protected], and clearly identifed as the digest.

To send a message to all the subscribers on the list/forum, send the message to:

[email protected]

Your posting needs to be "From" your subscription address. This is to prevent non-members (i.e. spammers) from posting messages.

Reply to individual list messages just as you would to any email, but be sure that the "To:" line of your message specifies [email protected]. Messages from the list contain a "Reply-To:" line that will help you in replying to that address. Please use care and quote only those parts of the message you are replying to to provide context for your reply.

Replying to digest messages is a bit more complex. You will still reply to [email protected], but you will need to cut and paste the subject of the message you are replying to into the subject field of your reply (because message subjects like "Re: Digest Number 348" are not very helpful!). You may also wish to copy and paste portions of the message you are replying to into your message, to provide context for your reply. Just be certain not to quote the entire digest in your reply.

To read and post messages via the web

In order to read and post messages via the YahooGroups web site, you will need to be registered with Yahoo. See Yahoo Registration below.

Since Web access does not keep track of what you have or haven't read, it is mainly useful for occasional visits, or for searching in previous postings.

Since you will be only reading and posting via the web, you'll want to turn off the delivery of messages by email. Once registered with Yahoo, you can do so on the canals-list page on YahooGroups. Click an "Edit my membership" link on the right hand side of the page. On the resulting page, go down to Message Delivery, and select the "No Email" option, then press the "Save Changes" button near the bottom.

To read and post messages via "news"

To do this, you must already be subscribed to the canals-list via the email or web methods described above.

Describing how to use "news" to those unfamiliar with it is more than I want to tackle here. But for those already comfortable with "news", just direct your newsreader to:


Note that you must use the email address you used to subscribe to the canals-list to access the messages via "news".

Once you are receiving messages via your newsreader, you will want to be sure to shut off email delivery of messages. To do this, send a blank email, from your subscription address, to:

[email protected]

[Many thanks to Julian Tether for pointing out this free news service to me.]

Customising your Subscription

You can do certain things via email: For more information, visit the YahooGroups help page.

Yahoo Registration - Optional, but ...

It is optional, but only minimal information is requested, and it allows you to do certain things on the web (like viewing the message archive, posting/viewing photos, running/voting polls, viewing/posting useful files, selecting digest delivery, or going "nomail" when on holiday).

To register with Yahoo, visit the YahooGroups home page and click one of the "Sign up" links.

Register with Yahoo with the same email address you used to subscribe. After responding to a confirmation email, you will be able to log in to YahooGroups, upon which you will see a list of what you are subscribed to, probably just "canals-list". Click on canals-list, and links to use the various web site features will be available.

Privacy, Spam, Viruses

The list of subscriber addresses to the canals list/forum is available only to the list managers (Bob Wood and me) and to YahooGroups for the purpose of delivering messages and/or validating participants for YahooGroups web site access. The subscriber addresses will be supplied to no one else.

YahooGroup's privacy policy looked OK to me. In particular, I gather that our email addresses will not be used by them. You might wish to review it yourself.

It is unlikely that any spam will appear on the list.

Only list subscribers can view messages in the archive, and the email addresses of subscribers are partially obscured.

Attachments are not allowed, giving canals list messages protection from viruses. It appears that attachments are simply removed from the postings. All messages you receive will be in plain text. You may send HTML (i.e. web page format) messages to the list, but the HTML will be automatically removed and only the text portion of your message will appear.


Display of the official emblem, shown on this page, and shared between the canals mailing list/forum and the uk.rec.waterways newsgroup, will allow participants to recognize each other while cruising or at waterway-related events.

Canals Mailing List/uk.rec.waterways Message Archives

Canals list messages from December, 2003, to the present, are available (only to subscribers also registered with YahooGroups) at the YahooGroups web site , where the canals list is now hosted.

Canals list messages from the resurrection of the list on May 11, 2002 to December, 2003, are available (only to subscribers also registered with Topica) at the Topica web site , where the canals list was hosted during that period. (Oddly, a smattering of posts continued on the Topica list until Feb 2007; these are in this archive as well.)

Between March, 2002, and May 11, 2002, the list was not in operation, so there are no messages to view during that period.

Canals list messages from June 11, 1999 to March 2002 are not available.

The uk.rec.waterways newsgroup and the canals list carried the same message traffic between November 1995 and June 11, 1999, when the gateway between the list and uk.rec.waterways was closed. Messages from this period (with the possible exception of the earlier portion) could be searched at uk.rec.waterways on Google Groups.

Link to main canals page.
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Text, graphics, and and photos Copyright © 1995-2011 by George Pearson.
Last Modified: Tuesday, 19-Jul-11 1:40 pm EDT