CRT Terms and Conditions – NABO letter to members

Following the last NABO Council meeting it was resolved to write to our members (and CRT) outlining our continuing concerns.
As many of you will be aware there has recently been yet another revision of the Canal and River Trust’s (CRT) Terms and Conditions (T&C’s) for private boaters. This latest publication follows their admission of ‘errors’ in previous drafts which has now led to two of the more contentious conditions being removed. There are now, we think, three differing versions of this document in circulation with the potential to cause much confusion. For our purposes here we are referring to the document referenced by CRT as 15.6.21 v.2.
As many of you are also aware, NABO Council has been carefully scrutinising these developments, engaging with CRT both during the consultation period through to the present. As a result of NABO’s comments significant changes were made to the readability of the Terms and Conditions. The document has been reworded to make it easier to understand but there remain some parts that could be improved. On the Privacy Policy and schedule, many GDPR issues are corrected but the readability remains poor. The document has been reworded to make it easier to understand but there remain some parts that could be improved.

Certainly, many of the typos and much random use of capital letters throughout the T&C’s document that made it such an annoying read were quickly removed when we pointed out to CRT what a shoddy publication they had produced.
So, where are we now? We feel that there remain four key issues some of which were not consulted on and which could impact negatively on boaters.
First, the creation of a new continuous cruising licence. CRT insist that there are no changes, simply a ‘clarification’. If this is so, why the misleading heading that states ‘The following types of licence can be applied for’? Why has CRT felt the need to do this unless it is to commence a process of licence changes and charges in the future.
Second, the conditions for home moorers have changed at 5.1. Boaters with a home mooring are now required to be on a genuine cruise when leaving their mooring, not remaining in one general area. This is ill defined but elsewhere in the document ‘genuine’ is equated with ‘bona fide’. This requirement gives CRT’s powers not granted in the 1995 Act.
Our third concern is with clause 11.2 where it states that boaters must follow the instructions of volunteers. This is a new inclusion that could invalidate boaters’ insurance as many policies stipulate that the owner or skipper must be in charge at all times.  An escalation of a resulting difference of opinion could then lead to our fourth concern.
Clause 10.16. NABO wholeheartedly supports ‘zero tolerance’ measures and totally condemns abusive or threatening behaviour which can of course be suffered by boaters as well as CRT staff and volunteers. CRT have existing powers under current by-laws and the police have the powers to deal with this and should be the appropriate authority to involve if necessary. However, by threatening to ‘take action against your licence’, CRT have added a new condition that is open to abuse. After all, without a recording of the event, who is to say what actually happened? Perhaps the licence holder has mental health issues?
Now it’s over to you, our members. Do you agree with our concerns? There were certainly many changes that were not covered in the consultation. Have you some of your own that you need to air? We look forward to your responses and a lively debate.