THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BOAT OWNERS

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Other Live Issues

Towpath Winter Mooring Permits – a debate

Mark Tizard summarises the arguments for and against.

 

NABO has been contacted by several members regarding the growth of towpath winter moorings and, following a discussion at the recent AGM, we thought we would open up the debate further to our members. NABO has supported winter moorings in the past where specific towpath spaces have been allocated. However there is concern that CRT’s use and acceptance of the term ‘home mooring’ when describing the benefits of a winter towpath mooring permit contravenes the definitions of ‘boats with and without home moorings’ in the 1995 BW Act.  We have briefly summarised the arguments for and against below.

 

For:

·       Increasingly popular amongst continuous cruisers who can choose to moor on the towpath at a place of their choosing for up to five months (with a few exceptions).

·       Take up has increased by 30%+ this winter.

·       New revenue stream for CRT likely to be in the order of £300k this year.

·       Precedent of winter mooring has been established for many years.

·       Could enable CRT to create short-term chargeable mooring permits (in excess of 14 days) for popular towpath moorings throughout the summer.

·       If a boater is in possession of a winter mooring permit they can then enjoy the same cruising pattern as a boater with a home mooring.

 

Against

·       Boaters licensed as not having a home mooring required to ‘bona fide’ navigate throughout the period of the licence.

·       Winter mooring permits, as with the roving mooring permit, are ultra vires (beyond one’s legal power or authority)as confirmed by CRT’s legal counsel and accepted by CRT’s own legal team in previous discussions.

·       Can mean good towpath mooring spots are not available to boaters throughout the winter.

·       Encourages CRT to effectively define a cruising season of seven months and prevent more general cruising over a longer maintenance period during the winter mooring period.

·        Could enable CRT to create short-term chargeable mooring permits (in excess of 14 days) for popular towpath moorings throughout the summer.

·       Can cause noise/pollution problems in certain residential areas.

 

At the recent NABO Council meeting it was suggested that CRT could amend the process next year such that boaters select their preferred towpath location, call CRT and pay for the period that they wish to stay at that specific location. This gives CRT the ability to decline on the basis of suitability. Should boaters wish to move to another location during the winter period they just repeat the process. This would seem to satisfy the requirement of the 1995 Act and the needs of boaters.

What do you think?