CRT has informed one of its winter moorings customers that it is going to re-think its new system for winter moorings. The customer in question has not actually been able to use their winter mooring permit because they have not found anywhere that is not excluded from the system. However, the liveaboard boater stated that although they have still had to move every 14 days, they feel that the permit was worth it because it ensured that CRT enforcement staff have not harassed them, even if it felt a bit like a protection racket.
CRT’s 2013 changes to winter moorings were made following discussions with a few of the founder members of the Association of Continuous Cruisers. These changes were brought in without any scrutiny or visibility and without any proper consultation with boaters. The result has been complete chaos, with Sally Ash’s department making further changes on the hoof when it became apparent that the original plan was not workable.
Boaters have been given conflicting and confusing information by CRT about the winter mooring changes. One boater was told that there were no winter moorings on the K&A. Another was informed that there were no winter moorings between Bradford on Avon and Bathampton. Someone else was told that there were no winter moorings on visitor moorings on the K&A. First of all CRT announced that there would be no winter moorings on visitor moorings at all outside London. Then they announced that some visitor moorings would be used for winter moorings outside London and published a list. They also said that continuous cruisers who had received a CC1 or CC2 letter would be barred from taking winter moorings. Then they claimed that was a mistake and only the one-month winter moorings were not open to those in the enforcement procedure. They stated that winter moorings were only available to continuous cruisers who were recorded as such on 1 July 2013. Then Damian Kemp announced in the CRT Boaters Update that from 1 November, boaters who already had a long-term mooring could also buy a permit for selected visitor mooring sites if away from their home mooring this winter, but thiat winter moorings on visitor moorings were not available to boaters without a home mooring.
The restrictions on where you can choose for your winter mooring are extensive and confusing. You cannot stay within one kilometre of a marina or other long term mooring site. This rules out much of the waterways. You can’t stay in Wilcot or Bathampton, two places where local residents have objected to the lawful, legitimate presence of boaters without home moorings. You cannot be on a visitor mooring, except for the duration of the time limit. And where boaters have used the winter mooring permits, some local residents complained to CRT that they were overstaying. It is a completely unworkable system. So if you needed a winter mooring because maybe you have some mobility problems and it is safer for you to be moored on a hard edge in winter when it is slippery and icy, tough. Or as Sally Ash was reported as saying in the Guardian on 9 March 2011, “Some people will have to suffer”.