Mostly, but not all about Coronavirus

Editor, Peter Fellows, has news of other developments, even though little is happening on the waterways.

The ramifications of the Coronavirus lockdown have dominated the waterway news for nearly eight weeks at the time of writing and these are widely reflected in this issue. CRT’s decision not to close towpaths to visitors initially caused an intensely negative response on social media by some liveaboard boaters. NABO’s support for CRT’s decision is explained by Mike Rodd in his Chair’s column. NABO also welcomes CRT’s support: for high-risk liveaboard boaters who are self-isolating; for the extra month’s licence offered to all leisure boaters; and its support for trade and hire-boat businesses, each reported upon in this issue. In his regional rep’s report, Ken Hylins, who is self-isolating on his boat, describes the assistance he is being offered by CRT volunteers and local residents. However, many small waterway businesses do not qualify for the Government assistance on offer and there is a request for members to contact their MPs to rectify this with additional financial support measures. If nothing is done, there is a real risk that many boatyards, marinas, chandleries and hire companies will go out of business.

It’s not all Covid-19 though: David Fletcher reviews NABO’s progress with the data protection regulations, since they were introduced two years ago, and requests the small number of members who have not yet responded to get in touch. David also describes progress with a CO monitoring study that is underway. For those of you dreaming about your next trip, Helen Hutt recounts her last big adventure in the first of two articles about her travels on north-eastern waterways. Stephen Peters commends the benefits of induction hobs in the galley and I have reviewed a paper by IWA’s Bowman Bradley, looking into the future for boat propulsion, with additional comments by Mike Rodd.

As we ‘went to press’, the Government announced some easing of the lockdown measures and CRT adjusted its restrictions to enable non-liveaboard boaters to visit their boats to check that everything is OK. Tony Brooks describes what to look out for in his Techies’ Corner article. However, boaters are still unable to cruise, except to visit essential services, but everyone is hoping that the current movement restrictions will soon be safely eased. It would be nice to think that we can all be back on the water by the time that the June issue of NABO News is published but, even if this is the case, I suspect that we are in for a long haul back to a new version of normality. The waterway ‘landscape’ will be changed, hopefully not irretrievably, by the effects of this virus. In the meantime, if you have exhausted your supply of waterway books and magazines as you while away the lockdown hours, I hope that you enjoy reading something new in this issue.
Stay safe.