Canal upgraded after lottery-funded restoration
The 200-year-old Kennet and Avon canal, which runs between Bristol and Reading, has been reclassified following a multi-million pound restoration.
A lottery grant funded major repairs 10 years ago after it faced being abandoned.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced its upgrade to cruiseway status.
This means that British Waterways must keep it safely maintained for craft to navigate.
Mike Rodd, from the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, said he was delighted about the reclassification.
Mr Rodd said the previous classification as remainder waterway meant there was "no real legal obligation under British Waterways to maintain it".
"This is what the cruiseway status seeks to change," he said.
The canal is said to help support 13,000 jobs, with 11 million visitors enjoying it every year.
Mark Stephens, waterway manager at British Waterways, said it was fantastic news but emphasised the canal needed more work doing.