In the Chair December 2023

Ask not what NABO can do for you… New Chair Anne Husar brings her years of experience to the job …and chocolate

Following Mike as chair of NABO is going to be difficult to do. His calm manner and measured approach is one I will attempt to emulate. Thank you Mike for your invaluable work over the years as chair.

When we began our boat travels, British Waterways was running the show. I remember planning our cruises, we were continuous cruisers then, with never a thought about stoppages until the winter months when they were expected and planned around. We also rarely considered whether we were too deep drafted to moor up anywhere we fancied and grounding mid-channel was almost unheard of, unless we went ‘off piste’ on lesser used canals. Locks worked with all paddles usable, grass was cut.

Then followed several years exploring European waterways but we kept in touch with UK boating friends who were beginning to report a deterioration. The Canal and River Trust had taken over. On our return to England, the changes became apparent as we recommenced continuous cruising. I needn’t itemise them here, we have all experienced them. As I write this NABO Council is heavily involved with the Fund Britain’s Waterways campaign; pushing for HVO to be an affordable alternative to diesel for boats; suggesting realistic ways forward for ALL eligible liveaboard boaters to at last receive the energy grant given to households last winter; holding CRT to account for their actions, from their above inflation boat licence increases to the ever spiralling number of unplanned stoppages.

So, persistent efforts have to be made to get positive change before the canals return to the ’60’s. We have a very active and committed Council, what we do need are more willing and active members. There’s a spare seat on Council and a couple of vacancies for regional reps. Please get in touch with me for more information on these roles. After all, as JFK might have said had he known that only two members attended our recent AGM, ask not what NABO can do for you, but what you can do for NABO. I look forward to working with and for you all.