My earliest memories of the water are on Egan Houseboats in the Trent Canal. I loved the old lift locks. One of my favorites was lovesick lock before it was modernized. The liftlocks many of which were manually operated had levers and hand cranks that you would push around to raise and lower the water and open and shut the lift locks. Very cool. Almost pioneer in nature. I find it amazing what human ingenuity has come up with to tame nature and make this planet hosptitable for us and at the same time it is sad to see nature being bent for our whims. Nonetheless, great memories of playing in the rivers and streams that supported the system.
More on how the company got started here: http://patrickegan.wpengine.com/?p=230