Am I missing something?
As a fairly recent member of NABO, I fail to understand the objection to CRT stating that all boaters should obey the same rules when cruising whether they have a home mooring or not. Am I missing something here?
Mark Tizard, NABO Vice Chair, replied:
The reason why NABO objects is a simple legal one and it refers to the Act of Parliament that governs CRT’s management of its waterways. The Act is very clear in that to obtain a licence, it requires boaters who do not have a home mooring to satisfy CRT that they are using their boats ‘bona fide’ for navigation. However, there is no such requirement for boaters that declare they have a home mooring. Thus, boaters without a home mooring are required to continuously cruise in accordance with CRTs guidelines, if they do not wish to fall foul of CRT’s interpretation of ‘bona fide’ navigation and those with a legitimate home mooring are not. This is, in fact, reflected in CRT’s enforcement strategy.
NABO’s new Assistant for the Disabled
Ken Hylins writes: “I have lived on a narrowboat some five years as a continual cruiser ... five minutes as some would say. Then two years ago my partner became very ill and was in hospital for a total of three months, which, when living on a narrowboat, is a major issue. The end result was she lost a great deal of mobility and I would have to be her carer. The occupational health people wanted us to come off the boat and live on land, not easy when we both wanted to carry on with our lifestyle. That then needed a rethink: planning medical appointments; not moving the boat long distances, also being single-handed; safety aspects; and working with CRT
with regards to my partner’s disability. There were many other tasks that were simple before, but not now. Time also became a problem: with not enough hours in a day, we had to prioritise tasks. I was asked: ‘How do you see the role of Assistant for the Disabled developing?’ In all honesty, I do not know, but I can help or advise on each enquiry according to its merits.”
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?
We are all ‘customers’ now
Stella Ridgway looks forward to a better service
As this is my first column as Chair of NABO, I’ll begin with a short background: I live on a narrowboat on the Upper Peak Forest Canal with my husband Chris and two Labradors. My disability prevents us moving at present and we are now on a home mooring. I may not have lived on a boat all my life, but my family spent six weeks on one after they emigrated to New Zealand in the early 1960s, and I spent my teens crewing for friends who had yachts. I didn’t know about my great grandfather until after we had moved aboard, when my Mum told me that he was born on a narrowboat in Middlewich and was a flyboatman with his brothers and father. So, in a sense I have come home to my roots and, even with my illness, we have never once thought about moving back into bricks and mortar. We love this life and the strong community we have among boaters; something that escapes you outside of the towpath and certainly one that CRT still struggles to understand.