NABO joined with DBA (The Barge Association) and RBOA (The Residential Boat Owners Association) in the following submission to EA in response to the request for comment on the proposed signage to appear at EA’s Thames short term mooring sites.
“Thank you for a last minute opportunity to comment on the intended signage and the conditions attached to the contract that you have let to District Enforcement. We, the undersigned, represent three National Boating organisations whose members use the Thames and are represented on the Thames Navigation Users Forum.
We are disappointed by the aggressive and unwelcoming approach indicated by this signage. Users had been given to understand that the intent was to achieve effective management of short term moorings and not a modified car parking scheme designed to deter anyone from mooring.
Following the deaths of two friends from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning in a boat called Diversion in York in December 2019, the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has published a safety flyer with the lessons learnt from its initial findings and the Boat Safety Scheme is urging boaters to read it and adopt the safety advice immediately.
The boaters died when the improvised and mismatched cabin heater installation leaked exhaust gas resulting in lethal amounts of toxic CO being pumped into the cabin near the steering position. The leaking gas and the fact that there was no working CO alarm aboard, may have led to the poisoning of the men’s blood systems without them having any warning.
A Zoom-based meeting of this valuable forum brought together representatives of NABO, RBOA, CBOA, DBA,TBA, HNBC and the General Secretary, Michael Stimpson.
As always, the meeting gave us an opportunity to share our views on a number of key issues. Being largely London focused, the first discussion related to CRT’s request for input on the handling of the over-populated situation on the London waterways and it was agreed that the problem in London (and elsewhere on the system) was folk who had no interest in the waterways buying boats to live on. Adding to the problem was the difficulty of turning existing moorings into residential moorings or indeed in creating new ones, and it was mentioned that the existing planning regulations needed to be addressed. It was noted that there were many off-line locations available which could be used to provide residential moorings especially along the main line of the Grand Union. RBOA agreed to provide a paper on the subject to circulate to members, and the General Secretary will discuss the situation with the EA and CRT.
This online meeting of TNUF was, rather like the recent NNUF (previously reported on), yet another example of how not to use the available technology – in this case a voice only system was used, with most users being muted until being asked if they had any queries following EA presentations. Those who said they did were then noted and given time to comment but there was really no opportunity for any proper debate, and most queries answered by “we will take that up after the meeting”.
In truth, most of the material presented was a rerun of the NNUF materials with of course, more reference to the Thames situation. I must say, though, that this time the EA presenters did try not to just read through their previously provided material but to give what proved to be good summaries. The overview of Thames work being undertaken now and in the near future was particularly impressive and it is clear that the additional funding provided was being well used.