Is the Mersey Ferry an example of 'bona fide used for navigation'? Judge Halbert in a November 2013 CRT judgment recently made public, thinks it is.
He said in the judgment:
To take an extreme example, in its heyday, the Mersey Ferry operated continuously to and fro over the same stretch of water which is less than a mile wide. No one would ever have accepted the suggestion that the ferry boats were not bona fide used for navigation throughout the period of their operations.
Firstly the reports of the demise of the Mersey Ferry are exaggerated. I was there today and I am pleased to say all is well, and the ferry is very much in service, Snowdrop is in fine form, the weather positively Baltic.
The ferry goes from Liverpool Pier Head over the water to Seacombe, with a bit of a cruise down river, then onto Woodside also on the Wirral side, takes a turn up river and then back to Liverpool taking about 50 minutes in all. There is a sailing every hour. So less than a mile is right, but not the whole story.
The ferry operates anti clockwise, presumably to assist with the rotation of the earth, or perhaps the captain is cack anded. This requirement is not yet in the CRT guidelines for boats without a home mooring, but one day it may well be suggested by some div.
So it visits 3 places, neighborhoods, parishes or whatever, and except in the rush hour when it sneaks Liverpool – Seacombe and return, does not double back. It does not stay more than 10 minutes at a mooring. With tens of sailings a day, with about 5km covered per round trip, it travels in a license year, enough overall kilometers to satisfy the most demanding and unsympathetic of the user group associations. But of course as the Liver Bird can see, it ranges much less than the magic 10kms of K&A fame. A wooly back boat checker turning up at the same time every day might well conclude it had not moved at all!
It just goes to show that establishing 'bona fide used for navigation' is not just a matter of specifying a distance to do one, as some would have us believe.
I checked with The Birds but they said, from where they stand, there was no point in getting a cob on, and that the ferry boats have a home mooring anyway, so yous can do as you like!
So dat ay all rite den.
Your Roving Reporter
with apologies to a fine city and people