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


Editorial June 2017


When is shared ownership not shared ownership?

Editor Peter Fellows considers licences for rented, shared and time-share boats

NABO News April 2017 Editorial



From dark arts, via 100 feet-wide locks, to volunteer lock-keepers

Editor Peter Fellows introduces a packed issue

We emerged from hibernation in March and a group took our shared narrowboat out for the first time this year, to introduce a new shareholding family to the joys of the cut. Although it was a fine, warm(ish) day, there were very few moving boats - possibly just as well while the new family got to grips with the tiller! I was surprised at the amount of floating debris in the Coventry Canal, presumably from storm Doris a few weeks before, and we had several stops to clear the prop. CRT contractors had also been out on the job, removing large trees that had fallen across the canal. In her column, Chair Stella is also emerging from the winter, with a myriad jobs that need doing come spring.

Editorial February 2017

Consultation and funding - a lack of both for some

Editor Peter Fellows compares navigation authorities

Following the complaints throughout last year over lack of vegetation management on the South Oxford Canal, it is good to see that CRT is spending the winter putting the situation right. And it is also good that CRT is consulting widely on a proposal by Birmingham City Council to pay for widening of the towpath through Edgbaston Tunnel. This would reduce the width of the canal, enforcing one-way passage of boats through the tunnel. In NABO’s view, it is totally unacceptable to compromise the navigation in this way and disadvantage boaters (who pay for the waterways’ upkeep) for the benefit of speeding cyclists (who pay nothing) and who could simply be told to dismount and walk through the tunnel.

Editorial December 2016


Another successful AGM at Wolverhampton Boat Club (many thanks for the excellent food and hospitality), with Stella taking over the reins from Mike and farewells to longstanding Council members Geoffrey Rogerson and Stephen Peters and London rep, Simon Robbins. It was good to meet Ken Hylins, who has a special interest in assisting boaters with disabilities. I also had a conversation with a continuous cruising member, who, when she stops at different places, helps ring the bells at the local church. She’d been moored up for a week or so at Brewood when the vicar asked if she could ring the bells at a wedding three weeks later. She replied that she would love to, but didn’t think that CRT would allow it. “I potter slowly around the system, doing no-one any harm and obeying the rules, and I don’t see why CRT should be allowed to dictate how I live or what I choose to do”. I agree with her, and I think a lot of other boaters would also. She could ask the local waterway manager for an exception to the 14-day rule on this occasion, but she would not automatically qualify (no illness, pregnancy or breakdown). But why should she? It is not the role of a navigation authority to give permission for someone to do something. She could also go somewhere else and return to Brewood in a couple of weeks time, but she risks falling foul of the ‘progressive journey’ rule – and again why should she have to do this?

Editorial NABO News 5 November 2016

Winter’s on its way

Editor Peter Fellows hangs up his tiller pin for the year.

After the boat spent the summer on the River Great Ouse, my last cruise this year was back up the River Nene to Northampton, which coincided with the Indian summer at the beginning of October - wonderful to be in shirt-sleeves instead of waterproofs! The aim was to get the boat back onto the canals before winter storms made the Nene impassable, but we needn’t have worried: I travelled with a narrowboat having a draught of 30 inches, and they were told by the EA that, due to lack of rainfall in the catchment area, the river was too shallow for them to proceed and they should hole up in White Mills Marina until it rained again! Generally, the locks and river are well-maintained, so CRT will not have to incur vast expenditure if, or when, they take over the navigation, but there were a few places where tree growth restricted the river to a single boat width. This is not due to lack of cutting back over the last few years - some of these trees must be 20 years old.