NABO recently asked Jackie Lewis CRT General Legal Counsel to elaborate on the changes to the terms and conditions for boaters with a home mooring. We publish in full her reply with her permission.
“In accordance with Condition 3.1 and 3.2 of the revised terms and conditions, if you have a home mooring, you must cruise on the waterway whilst you are away from your home mooring, stopping only for short periods (defined as 14 days or less if a local restriction applies). This requirement to cruise is the same as it's always been – it is not an amendment to the terms and conditions.
What it means to “cruise” on the waterway depends upon the period of time your boat is away from its home mooring. The longer it spends away from its home mooring, the greater the range of movement expected. As an extreme, if you never returned to your home mooring for the entire period of your licence, we would expect you to cruise continuously and therefore your pattern of movement should be the same as that of a boat without a home mooring. In contrast, however, if your boat spends the majority of the time on its home mooring and only leaves to cruise for short periods of time, then the range of movement expected for each cruise will be much more limited.
To explain further, every time you return to your home mooring (provided that this is not merely for a nominal period in an attempt to circumvent the rules), your cruise ends and “the clock” is effectively re-set. The next time you leave, you start on a new cruise, the extent of which will depend upon the time spent away from the home mooring. If you are away for just a weekend, that cruise will be quite short in terms of distance. On the other hand, if you are away from your home mooring for several months, we would expect to see a much greater range of movement.
By way of example, it would be perfectly acceptable to leave your home mooring for weekend, cruise a short distance and moor for 48 hours (at a legitimate mooring site) and then return to your home mooring, and this pattern of movement could be repeated on several weekends throughout the year. However, shuffling between two locations close together, neither of which is your home mooring, for an extended period is not permitted as that shuffling is not "cruising". “
Whilst NABO appreciates the further clarity provided by the Trust to the questions we raised we query the scale of the problem that necessitates the wholesale changing of terms and conditions for all boaters what evidence has ever been produced of wide spread abuse?
We are confused as there are no definitions of “cruise” or “shuffling” in the relevant Acts of Parliament. It is not clear to us when a shuffle becomes a cruise or vice versa.
We presume the recent case where CRT attempted to refuse to license a boat with a home mooring we believe on the grounds he was “shuffling” within a narrow area but CRT subsequently withdrew and granted the license has led to this change to the Terms and Conditions. This does not seem a proportionate response.
NABO has some sympathy with the challenge of addressing ‘ghost moorings’ but the majority of marinas we have spoken to have indicated that they wold be happy to produce a list of paid up customers which would go a large way to solving the problem of boaters claiming to have a home mooring when in fact this is not the case. Its just a case of building a relationship with your customer base trade and public !
We again point out that the in agreeing to these latest Terms and Conditions does not absolve either party from complying with any relevant law or Act of Parliament governing the canals and rivers administered by the Trust.