A recent Freedom of Information response shows that a decision was made in March 2012 to focus enforcement on boats moving 5km or less. 5km is just over 3 miles (3.107 miles to be exact). The reports obtained included the 2012/13 Objectives for Enforcement, Boating Support and Boat Licensing Team and Continuous Cruisers Monitoring – The Next Steps, both written by Denise Yelland, Head of Enforcement, Boating Support and Boat Licensing, in March 2012.
The reports state that the main focus of the enforcement team will be the monitoring of continuous cruisers moving less than 5km, where sufficient sightings exist to confirm their movement pattern over the past 12 months. In November 2011, 240 boats were identified that were moving less than 5km. Those boats would be monitored for a full 12 months and monthly monitoring of their movement pattern would be carried out.
The reports also state that following the BW v Davies case, the need for a progressive journey around the network was removed from the Guidance for Boaters Without a Home Mooring. This shows that the Davies judgement meant that BW had to make its Mooring Guidance less strict, the implication being that the court decided that the previous Mooring Guidance for Continuous Cruisers was too onerous.
We have also learnt from these reports that the target of putting “all boats moving less than 30km during their contract period into the enforcement process” by March 2012 was dropped because the objective was too ambitious.
The report on Continuous Cruisers Monitoring – The Next Steps also states that “as more pressure is put on continuous cruisers there could be more of a tendency for them to make false or ghost declaration of home mooring sites”. Therefore, enforcement processes would be changed to deal with “those who make false declaration of home mooring, those who we never sight at their home mooring and directly to mooring operators to validate information received.” It continues “This will… help provide more informed decisions about the true nature of the CC population on our waterways”
We would remind CRT that, for those who have a home mooring, there is no requirement under Section 17 3 c i of the 1995 British Waterways Act for the boat to spend any specific period of time on the mooring. To carry out enforcement against a boat because it is never seen on its home mooring would very quickly come unstuck because the boat is being used in a completely lawful way. If you rent (or own a home mooring, it is up to you how much time your boat spends on the mooring.
The report goes on to say that “the focus this year is switching to establishing effective ways to monitor and deal with those boats licensing as continuous cruisers… Longer term we will be looking at alternative strategies to deal with the issues encountered with boaters who have a need to remain within a relatively small geographic area”. The enforcement team seems to have overlooked the fact that they do not need to “deal with” all boats licensed under Section 17 3 c ii – only those that do not comply with the law. This omission reveals CRT’s real agenda regarding boats without home moorings – they don’t want us. Well, we’ve got news for CRT – we’re staying, we will comply with the law, but we won’t comply with any unlawful movement requirements.
You can download the reports here Reports Denise Yelland March 2012
You can read the full FOI response here