IWI brings together people and organisations who support the conservation, use, development and proper management of inland waterways worldwide. It aims to raise public awareness of the benefits of using waterways for a wide range of activities, from inland water transport to cruising, towpath walking and other recreational uses, as well as appreciating their architectural and landscape values as heritage. It also promotes restoration, where appropriate, of waterways which have become derelict.
Its membership includes leading navigation authorities, as well as voluntary bodies, museums and commercial companies. Individual members include both users and experts in the various disciplines.
All have a keen interest in both the history and the modern significance of inland waterways for commercial carrying and recreational use. Today the membership covers 22 countries from around the world.