Archive for January, 2011

The Continuous Cruising Myth

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

By Simon Robbins

That Continuous Cruisers are the main culprits when it comes to overstaying on visitors moorings is a myth that BW continue to perpetuate in order to justify differential charges and other targeting of Continuous Cruisers.

Many Boaters in the boating forums rail about Continuous Cruisers in this way too. I was therefore very relieved when a glimmer of reality pierced through the prejudice and outright bigotry one too often reads in such forums when one contributor bothered asking the question, “what’s the evidence”?

The answer is, NONE! Beyond that, when challenged, the evidence BW have supplied to date, seems to prove that very point!

As I said in my posting in the Canalworld string “Freeloaders?”

NABO did a Freedom Of Information request on this a few years back. We wanted to test the assertion that CC’r’s are more guilty on overstaying than those with moorings. We asked BW about numbers of patrol notices issued and then asked them to look at the proportion of those notices that were issued against boats that had home moorings versus those that were Continuous Cruisers. The maths showed clearly that boats that had registered with BW as having home moorings we more likely per capita to attract overstay notices than CC’rs.

BW have never attempted to contradict our findings which were sent to them with an invite to reply if they dis-agreed or could show we had missed something. Another bit of NABO correspondence they never replied to!

Well catching up with old e-mails this morning, I came across a more recent set of evidence which seem to further confirm that BW’s rhetoric on Continuous Cruisers is just that, and does not stand up, even on with their own figures.

The Western end of the Kennet and Avon seems to be the focus for BW’s efforts at the moment and a boater’s Freedom of Information Request in Autumn 2010 again put paid to the false prospectus that BW are running.

BW says , ‘The number of boats on the Kennet and Avon Canal which have legal action pending – 152’.

When one comes to BW’s categorisation of the individual reasons we are told:

Licensing Enforcement – 119;

Mooring Enforcement – 15;

Overstay Enforcement – 7;

Continuous Cruising Enforcement – 8

Other – 3

If eight of the cases are classed as CC’rs does that mean the seven listed as Overstayers have home moorings? If so then again we see that boats with home moorings are as much of a problem a CC’rs.

Even if in slightly self-contradictory fashion, one assumed the seven ‘Overstayers’ were all CC’rs too, does the fuss and drama BW are making over the evils of continuous cruisers seem proportionate to the fact that BW can only show, on their own numbers, most generously interpreted, fifteen serious breaches of the ‘rules’ worthy of legal action on the K+A?

(The next question, one that was not asked but one wonders; how many of these fifteen cases are solid enough for Court proceedings to have been issued?)

The BW numbers seem to me to show pretty clearly that most Continuous Cruisers based on the Kennet and Avon are doing what they should be and that BW’s rhetoric cannot be about enforcement issues. Rather it seems to be an excuse to introduce differential charges and other sanction against Continuous Cruisers based on a rhetoric of prejudice which even BW’s own facts and figures do not support.

BW are basing a whole campaign of activities on a false premise. No wonder BW are in a mess when idiocy like this is allowed to prevail, apparently with the endorsement of the BW Board and Directors.

This article first appeared on Simon’s blog Liveaboard Forum:

Liveaboard Forum Home Page:

Kennet and Avon Boating Community mobile number

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

We have now acquired a phone. Text or call us on

07928 078208

If we need to ring or text you back we might use another number or an ‘unknown number’ – depending on what freebies we manage to get our hands on. Please circulate this number to any boaters you know who don’t have internet access!

2011 Licence consultation extended to 31 January – respond now!!

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

Following formal complaints that the time was too short for responding to BW’s consultation on 2011 licence fees and changes to licence terms and conditions, BW has extended the deadline to 31 January. According to its own code of practice on consultations, BW should have allowed 12 weeks for responses, not 6 weeks.

This consultation is important because yet again, BW is proposing more unlawful changes to the licence terms and conditions.

Read more…

Local Mooring Strategy: Hire boat companies and liveaboards agree on way forward while BW tries underhand tactics

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

The fourth meeting of the Local Mooring Strategy steering group took place on 10 December. It was notable for the comments of the APCO rep that “existing legislation, consistently applied, would solve the problem… if we get ‘place’ right, we’ve done our job”. APCO, the Association of Pleasure Craft Operators, is the hire boat companies’ trade body. Many hire boat firms rely on liveaboard boaters for much of their skilled and unskilled workforce, and would encounter problems if their staff had too far to travel to work.

Read more…

BW pushing ahead with local mooring strategies for River Lea and other areas.

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

According to Sally Ash, BW is in discussion with the Lea Valley Regional Park regarding a local mooring strategy for the Lee and Stort Navigations, prior to wider public consultation. BW has tabled proposals which the Lea Valley Regional Park is considering. Ms Ash also said that she is talking with boater representatives “about the concept of individuals who are well-informed boaters and members of parish councils” with a view to finding suitable people to chair local mooring strategy steering groups independent of BW which will then go back to BW with proposals. This “concept” would appear to exclude liveaboard boaters from chairing any local mooring strategy steering group – how many people who live on their boats are also elected members of a parish council?

Read more…

Christmas Photo Competition Winner!!

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Congratulations Kris Malarchist, you are the lucky winner of a lifetime’s free membership of our web site!! You contributed the funniest caption to the photo of a liveaboard boater’s encounter with Simon Salem, BW Marketing Director –
“Salem: I feel sick. Boater: I thought so – I spiked the punch.”

Kris, your prize is in the post…!!

For some reason we received a lot of entries we couldn’t publish, as even we thought they were too offensive to BW…and a few that missed the deadline, but we thought one of those was good enough to let it through anyway.