Listening to boat owners, Speaking out for boat owners, Representing boat owners.


What’s in a name?

What we might be tempted to refer to as a long handled gardening tool with a spatulate metal blade Paul Monahan wants us to call a spade.

The inland waterways have a rich, colourful and expressive vocabulary all of their own, which is an important part of their history. Unfortunately, this is being lost as more and more people use terminology associated with motor-cruisers and sailing boats, or even cars – as in ‘driving’ the boat (as opposed to the horse or steam engine, which would be correct) and ‘parking’. ‘Nearside’ and ‘offside’ are similar imports from the world of wheels; it should be ‘inside’ and ‘outside’, from the position of the towpath, please.

All NABO Members Urged To Complete EA Registration Consultation

Environment Agency logoThe Environment Agency are consulting on their proposals relating to Boat registration. Charges are to apply from 1st January 2022. The web site link is:

The proposals apply to all navigable waterways managed by the Environment Agency i.e. principally the non-tidal Thames, Anglian Waterways and the Medway.

The proposals are wide ranging and, whilst providing for increased registration charges for 2022 to 2024, and also seek to make many changes to the current charging regimes regarding classes of craft, measurement of craft, registration periods, payment methods, and many other aspects of craft registration.

The Thames Recreational Powered Boating Organisations, which includes NABO, have many concerns about the proposals and have responded directly on behalf of their members.

However, to demonstrate our members concerns,  the Boating Organisations are urging all their members to respond individually. Please refer to the briefing note here.

NABO also has suggested appropriate responses to the consultation here.

The consultation closes on 16 September 2021

Mike Rodd


NABO responds to CRT Terms and Conditions

NABO has written today to CRT asking them to delay the introduction of the revised terms (for private boat licences), until they have been consulted.

The letter reads:

NABO is naturally disappointed that in the six months since our submission to CRT the Trust has made no effort to respond to the detailed points raised by NABO. Our submission reflected not just the views of NABO’s Council but was prepared after consulting our membership. We are forced to conclude that the Trust finds it easier to ignore a group of its customers than engage with them.

We note that the revised terms and conditions are materially different than the 2015 terms as well as those that were consulted upon. The fact that these revised terms have not been consulted upon and were introduced with six days’ notice is insulting to boaters.

CRT pull a rabbit out a hat.

CRT have this week published their intended wording for boat licence terms and conditions. This follows a consultation in 2020. There is also a report on the consultation.

You can read the details here:

CRT unhelpfully say "After such a positive and constructive response to the consultation with respondents largely recognising the purpose and strength of the proposals, and their feedback further shaping several of them, we thank everyone who took the time to share their thoughts."

This all needs detailed study to see what, if anything, they have done with our comments. It is also clear that there are controversial legal issues that have been introduced in the wording which were not covered by the consultation. NABO Council will meet in the coming days to review the new document and see what is to be done.

One aspect that NABO had recommended was that the general wording be reviewed for readability. CRT appear to have taken this on board. CRT have not published any parallel rewording of the Privacy documents.

These terms come in to play on 1st June for boaters who apply for a new or renewed licence.

CRT have taken 6 months of secret internal and legal review to come up with this. Now they produce it like 'a rabbit out af a hat'. Magic?


Paper or electronic NABO News?

At its last meeting, NABO Council discussed the cost of printing and posting NABO News and a possible electronic version of the magazine. This would have a ‘page-flip’ feature so that it can be easily read on a computer or tablet screen. Opinions were divided between keeping the current printed format on the grounds that members wanted to have physical copies to read and share with colleagues, and those who felt that we should move towards an electronic version that was easy to read and distribute and would result in substantial cost savings. The Council decided to seek the views of members before discussing it again.

I would be grateful if you could email or write to me (details on inside front cover) to let me know what you think. The two options are:

  1. I would like to continue to receive printed issues of NABO News through the post;
  2. I would prefer to change and receive electronic issues, sent to me by email.

I’d be grateful if you could let me know before April 24th so that the Council can discuss the results at its next meeting. Thank you for your help.
Peter Fellows