Following complaints to CRT about the behaviour of hire boaters, CRT is meeting with hire boat companies in Devizes today to try to improve matters. Susie Mercer, CRT Business Boating Manager, visited the K&A near Bath last weekend to investigate the situation in response to a complaint from a liveaboard boater. During her visit Ms Mercer was herself subjected to verbal abuse by a rowdy crew of hire boaters. One of the complainants has asked that liveaboard boaters are represented at today’s meeting but there has been no response from Ms Mercer.
Liveaboard boaters have witnessed the behaviour of hire boat crews between Bradford and Bath becoming significantly worse in recent months. This may be due to an increase in the number of hires to stag and hen parties and ‘booze cruises’. One liveaboard has described the situation as “mayhem … it really is constant with boats speeding past and hitting moored boats on a regular basis”. She continued “I am furious that the companies are allowed to hire their boats to large groups of people and let them go out with crates of alcohol and not be responsible for their actions … someone is going to get seriously hurt if something is not done”. If information about the behaviour of hire boaters became widely known, it would be a public relations disaster for CRT.
We encourage boaters to send complaints about hire boats direct to the hire company and copy them to Susie Mercer, firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure you give the name and number of the boat, the name of the hire company, the date and time of the incident and a full description of what happened. Until now, boaters have not informed CRT of these complaints; the meeting is a result of a boater complaining to CRT ass well as to the hire company.
In recent months liveaboard boaters have witnessed or been the victim of collisions with badly driven hire boats that caused considerable damage, often with drunken crews; hire boats being driven dangerously; speeding hire boats pulling out mooring pins and causing damage to possessions inside moored boats; hire boats deliberately driving into other boats; verbal abuse and rude gestures from hire boaters; sexual assault by hire boaters; hire boaters exposing themselves; two men trying to water ski behind a hire boat; a speeding hire boat capsizing a canoeist; a hire boat sinking because it had too many people on board; hire boaters leaving swing bridges open; hire boaters damaging locks and draining pounds.
Here are Susie Mercer’s contact details:
Business Boating Manager (South)
Gloucester GL1 2EB
01452 318012 or 07795 027366
Here are the phone numbers and email addresses for the main hire boat companies:
ABC Leisure, Hilperton 01225 765243 email@example.com
Anglo Welsh 0117 314 9158 http://www.anglowelsh.co.uk/contactus.htm
Bath Canal Boat Company 01225 312935 firstname.lastname@example.org
Bath Narrowboats 01225 447276 email@example.com
Foxhangers Canal Holidays 01380 828795 firstname.lastname@example.org
Moonraker Canal Boats 01672 851550 email@example.com
Oxfordshire Narrowboats, Bradford on Avon 01225 863987 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sally Narrowboats 01225 864923 email@example.com
To complain about behaviour of crews on Warneford VC, the Fleet Air Arm’s narrowboat that is managed by Hilperton, contact Commodore Jock Alexander, RNAS Yeovilton, Ilchester, Somerset BA22 8HT. Tel 01935 840551 ext 5446 (this is the number for the guardroom but may be routed to the call centre).