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 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BOAT OWNERS

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

A focus on BSS (and our forgotten anniversary!)

The extended period of hot, dry weather has continued and, as predicted in the last issue, the more vulnerable canals are now seeing closures due to water shortages – particularly the Peak Forest and Macclesfield canals. Helen Hutt and Mark Tizard both comment on the lack of boat movements on the K&A and Southern Broads respectively, which raises a question of whether the recent fuel price hikes (and more generally the cost of living increases) are having an effect on peoples’ boating. However, Mike Rodd reports that the hire trade is thriving on the Mon & Brec.

This issue has a focus on the BSS: Mike, who is a user rep on the BSS Advisory Committee, describes the debates taking place to improve inspection consistency by examiners. David Fletcher will step down after 10 years as Chair of the BSS Technical Committee and he responds to feedback from members Peter Caswell, Nick Norman and John Hancox, who describe their own experiences of BSS examinations. David has also revisits the new CRT towpath mowing plans to see how they are being implemented this summer and concludes that not all is well – except for the proliferation wild flowers.

NABO News aims to give members an indication of what goes on behind the scenes that leads to the decisions and developments that affect their boating. But occasionally it reports on member’s cruises, especially on infrequently visited waterways, to give a flavour of what you might be missing. In this issue, Helen describes her cruise through the Thames Barrier and back upriver to the K&A, Mark Tizard compares his boating experience on the canals with his new life on the Southern Broads, and Peter Earley describes facilities and cruising on the Great Ouse and Old West Rivers. Ashore, David has also had a look for himself at the incidence of overstaying boats on Thames moorings between Hampton Court and Kingston, following actions by the local councils. Meanwhile, Ian Hutson attempts to arrange mobile banking from his mobile boat, with a predictable degree of frustration.

Finally, everyone on NABO’s Council was distracted last year by the Covid-induced disruption and they completely forgot that NABO turned 30 in 2021. I have attempted to look back at some of the issues that the Council in 1991 were campaigning on and its relationship with British Waterways. Perhaps surprisingly (or not?), lobbying against the terms and conditions of waterways legislation, liveaboards and ‘constant’ cruising, sales of heritage property, lack of dredging and failing infrastructure all featured prominently. As the proverb says: “The more things change, the more they stay the same”!

Enjoy your summer boating.
Peter