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The Benefits of Dredging with The Rothen Group

At The Rothen Group we pride ourselves on our capability to protect and preserve the British waterways. Following our blogs on preserving rivers and canals through weed control and marine piling, this piece will focus on dredging.

We will walk you through the need-to-knows of dredging and the machinery used. From here we’ll go on to outline the benefits of dredging for the maintenance and preservation of canals and rivers across the UK.

Dredging meaning

The dredge definition is the removal of naturally deposited sediments, debris and overgrown vegetation from water bodies. This work helps tackle the challenges our UK rivers and canals face, largely due to climate change and urbanisation. River dredging and canal dredging is essential to removing sediment, which builds up at key waterway chokepoints affecting flow and navigability.

Dredging is a very technical process. While high-quality dredging can effectively protect the natural ecology of water bodies, poorly executed work can cause irreversible damage. Furthermore, damage to a canal bed can cause leakage, which will cost significantly more to repair. It is therefore essential your first point of call is The Rothen Group for any of your dredging needs.

Dredging machinery

The excavation of deposits from waterways requires advanced equipment. The Rothen Group, for example, uses various specialised floating crafts to complete dredging work where the waterway bank sides are unstable. This is important, as this land may be otherwise unable to support heavy machinery.

Instead, by using these specialised solutions, we can reach areas of the water which landed machinery may find inaccessible. Crane barges are also used for complex dredging operations, with boat-mounted equipment able to access more areas on the river or canal. Specifically, crane boats provide for effective dredging and are especially effective on deeper waterways due to their digging reach.

From Kubota zero-tail swing excavators to the new 70ft Hiab Crane and Grab boat, we have a range of dredging equipment. Further information on the machinery used by The Rothen Group can be found in our dredging guide.

Dredging benefits

The Rothen Group is fully equipped to carry out dredging operations and keep waterways healthy. You can read more about dredging guidance on the UK governments website, in relation to marine management.


UK dredging provides safe navigation for boaters. This is because accumulated sediment and uncontrolled vegetation can stop vessels moving through canals and rivers. This, in turn, can lead to potentially dangerous situations.

For example, built-up areas of sediment on river beds can create unexpectedly shallow areas, which poses serious problems for boaters. Furthermore, thick vegetation can threaten the mechanical components of the underside of a vessel, clogging the engine. The safe passage of boats therefore relies on navigational dredging to keep waterways as clear, deep and wide as possible. This is one of many reasons maintenance dredging is important.


Prolonged and excessive rain can cause serious flooding affecting large areas. As dredging removes sediment that can hamper the natural flow of waterways, it is considered an effective way to mitigate floods.

Dredging canals and rivers increases the amount of water they can hold. In turn, this reduces the likelihood of the waterway overflowing and submerging nearby dry land. Additionally, dredging can also improve general land drainage, which is key to preventing prolonged flooding.


Environmental dredging removes pollutants, harmful vegetation, and other debris from waterways. The sediment in water bodies adjacent to urbanised and industrial areas are especially at risk of pollution, so require dredging to keep them clean. Furthermore, dredging can help preserve the ecosystem within rivers and canals.

If these weeds are allowed to bloom unchecked, these water bodies can experience eutrophication. This relates to oxygen deprivation for larger species due to excess aquatic plant growth. Dredging this uncontrolled vegetation is therefore crucial to protecting natural habitats.

In conclusion, well-executed dredging activities performed by experts helps protect the environment and allows boaters to navigate the UK waterways without problems. As such, seeking out specialist help is definitely recommended. In our own practice, we also ensure dredged toxicants and harmful materials are disposed of responsibly.

If you have any further questions about dredging, or would like to know more about the services The Rothen Group can offer, please contact us today on 01827 215715, or email

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