Changes afoot


Changes afoot

Peter Fellows on upcoming proposals for the BSS and main navigation authorities.

I, like all NABO Councillors, was shocked to hear from John Devonald that he is seriously ill. He has stepped down from his roles with NABO and we all offer him our best wishes.
The future of CRT and the EA waterways will be decided in the next few weeks when the Defra review is submitted for consideration by the Government. As Mike Rodd explains in detail in his Chairman’s column, NABO is committed to supporting continued funding for both organisations. The Council decided that, as part of this support, we should all petition our MPs, asking them to back future funding, and I have included a template for the type of letter that we envisage will have the desired effect.

Discussions and consultations on ‘safety zones’ on the River Lea rumble on and David Fletcher took a stroll around the area to see it for himself. One of NABO’s London reps, Ron Gooding, also shares his views on the current boating situation in the Capital. There is another consultation at the moment on proposed changes to the BSS examination checks, on which members may wish to contribute their views. David and Peter Braybrook are both on BSS committees and have written about further proposals in the pipeline for changes to BSS examinations. I have also included a summary of the BSS incidents and accidents last year.
Ex-NABO Chair, Stuart Sampson, has written an excellent ‘Skipper’s guide to the Yorkshire and Trent commercial navigations’ to help people boat safely with the big boys, and I’ve included it as a pull-out with this issue. Elsewhere, Anne Husar recounts her experience of bow waves from Belgian big boys pushing their boat onto the mud and then helping them off again. It’s also good to welcome Howard Anguish back in the driving seat for the Rewind column.

On a less-happy note, Ken Hylins describes the problems currently facing boaters on low or fixed incomes, due to a wide range of recent price increases. River and Canal Rescue warns boaters to be careful when selecting boat insurance, highlighting the deficiencies and potential problems that could arise with some of the cheaper policies.

I’m pleased to include an article from Martin O’Keeffe from the BCN Society on the heritage of the BCN, with some examples of successful restorations as well as other buildings that remain very much at risk. In his own inimitable way, Ian Hutson also mourns the rotten totem posts he is finding around the system. 
The fine weather has finally arrived as I write this in late March and hopefully you will be able to get afloat soon for some sunny spring boating.