Following recent media coverage of CRT’s punitive policy towards boat dwellers without home moorings, especially the features about families on the K&A who are being threatened with the loss of their home because their children go to school, a boater has contacted us with these comments. Steve Haigh writes:
I have read a lot of comments on social media that consist of the usual misunderstood misplaced stuff about continuous cruisers: “why don’t they just get a house / why don’t they just follow the rules like everybody else” etc. Reading these largely negative comments made me feel the need to expand on a thought I’ve had since the screening of “Off The Cut”. and the question and answer session afterwards.
In the discussion after the film quite a lot was said about community and what a great place the K&A is for life on a boat. I agree, but I think it is a mistake to emphasise this element of continuous cruising because it misleads others into thinking what we do is simply a life-style choice and something that we can therefore simply choose not to do.
There is an increase in liveaboard boaters without a home mooring in a lot of areas, not just in London or on the K&A and most of the people that continuously cruise, do so because they have little other choice, in that they can’t afford a house and can’t even afford to rent a room in a house or a permanent mooring. For many boaters, living on a boat is the next thing above homelessness, no matter how optimistically we choose to look at it. And as we know, it is not a simple life: it involves a lot of hardship that others do not understand. Getting water, fuel, shopping and other essential services; getting kids to school; keeping the fire lit; getting on and off the boat; moving the boat; keeping the boat running, is no small feat and most people who can afford houses or residential moorings would not like to do it.
The hardships we endure and the fact that most continuous cruisers have no other choice is OUR STRENGTH and it should be emphasised above all else. It means that CRT actually PERSECUTE and OPPRESS us. Please let’s not let our optimism and resilience get in the way of the facts.