CRT has extended the period that boaters can stay on some visitor moorings for 14 days due to the suspension of all but essential boat movements following the Government’s Covid-19 lock-down announcement. Where visitor moorings revert to 14 days in winter, this will now be extended up to 14th April, when CRT will review its suspension of the 14-day rule.
The Boat Safety Scheme is also allowing temporary extension to boat safety certificates for those boats that require an examination in the period up to 14th April. The notice from the Boat Safety Scheme is here NR20-001_COVID-19_BSS_Temporary_Suspension-FINAL
However in its latest Coronavirus update, CRT has stated that it will not close towpaths to the public, despite calls from many anxious boaters, some of whom are vulnerable and self-isolating for 12 weeks. In many areas of the waterways, not just on the K&A, liveaboard boaters have been extremely worried by the increased numbers of people who are using the towpath for exercise and not observing social distancing, in particular by joggers coughing and spitting directly outside their boats. In most places the towpath is less than 2 metres wide and the crowded conditions mean that it is very difficult to stay 2 metres apart.
In Bradford on Avon, the Town Council contacted CRT asking it to to warn people not to use the towpath and stay at home. As the result, CRT has put notices up on the towpath, which is normally extremely busy, asking people to stay off the towpath where boats are moored. Further east on the K&A boaters took matters into their own hands and put signs up saying the towpath was closed, but these were taken down.
CRT has circulated this poster for boaters to put up (how many liveaboards have a printer on their boat?) advising the public to avoid towpaths where boats are moored, but many boaters view this as completely ineffective. However the increased use of the towpath during this very worrying time has caused conflict between boaters and the settled community who wish to use the towpath for exercise. This was not helped by CRT’s initial statement on 12th March that “our waterways remain a great option for those looking for time in the fresh air, or a route to work that’s away from the hustle and bustle of more crowded environments, or as places to visit whilst foreign holidays are restricted”.
Tags: 14 day rule, Boat Safety Scheme, Bradford on Avon Town Council, Bradford-on-Avon, community, community support, continuous cruising, Coronavirus, Covid-19, Health, health and safety, liveaboards, towpath, visitor moorings