Canal boating holidays in england, wales, scotland. narrowboat hire from 9 bases in the uk. luxury canal boat holidays on award winning narrowboats.. The chesapeake and ohio canal, abbreviated as the c&o canal and occasionally called the "grand old ditch," operated from 1831 until 1924 along the potomac river from. A lock is a device used for raising and lowering boats, ships and other watercraft between stretches of water of different levels on river and canal waterways..