“There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

Editor, Peter Fellows, is hoping to be back on board this month.

After what seems to have been an eternal winter, it’s good to see spring arriving again. Some members have used the latest lockdown to reflect on boating as it used to be: Stephen Peters looks back over 50 years to, among other boat facilities, instantaneous Ascot water heaters, and John Devonald recalls a simpler, electricity-free life afloat. 

NABO has been busy throughout the lockdown and this issue has our response to CRT’s London strategy consultation, together with a perspective on progress to date from London liveaboard, Simon Robbins. There is also a BSS report on serious incidents in 2020, especially injuries caused by propellers, fires and explosions – although fewer incidents of CO poisoning, possibly because of the requirement last year to fit CO alarms.

Helen Hutt reports on the last CRT Council meeting and Peter Braybrook has filed his first regional report of a CRT meeting in the West Midlands. Paul Monahan has been trawling the CRT website for nuggets of information. Following CRT’s decision to review the disposal of ‘humanure’ at its facilities, Helen expounds the charms of eco-toilets on boats. I have included the third part of my survey of boat names, showing that some owners might have revealed rather more than they intended when choosing a name.

At the time of writing, the fate of Braunston Stop House is not decided, but Lewis Esposito has written to reinforce the notion that CRT should be protecting our waterway heritage, not selling it off. In another letter, Don May offers thanks to CRT ground-staff for the help and support they offered when the water in the canal he was floating on at Beeston suddenly disappeared. There is at last some good news to report on red diesel, something that NABO has been campaigning on for more than two decades! Finally, I’ve asked for your view on whether you would like to continue with paper issues of NABO News or change to an electronic version.

Hopefully it won’t be too long before we can all start “messing about in boats” again.