Boaters’ Voices film online now

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

The Boaters’ Voices film is online now. You can watch it via either of the links below.

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BoACAN Open Day invitation 14 July

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Bradford on Avon Community Area Network (BoACAN) is co-hosting an open day and live music on 14th July in and around ‘The Hub’ in Lamb Yard, Kingston Mills, to co-incide with the launch of ”Made in Bradford on Avon’.

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Three new pages for our web site

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Kennet and Avon Boating Community has added three new pages to the web site –  Report BW Abuse, K&A Nature Watch and Useful Contacts.

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Liveaboard boater to stand for election

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Liveaboard boater Frank Kelly will be standing for election to one of the four boater representative places on the Canal and River Trust Council. Here is his statement which will be on the voting form:

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BW Charity gets C*R* name

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

The name of the new waterways charity has been announced. It will be called the Canal and River Trust. You can read one residential boater’s take on the new name on Simon Robbins’ Liveaboard Forum blog

Trading boats under threat

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Recently BW has proposed changes in rules and regulations that affect roving canal traders such as coal and diesel boats and travelling shops. The main change BW wants to make is to increase their licence fee.

The present situation is that most of these traders pay £30-£40 over and above a normal boat licence fee on the basis that their business is what BW call ‘low intensity’ – they only make a small amount of profit. The new fee will see their business licence replaced with a normal licence and a new permit, and lots of extra regulations. This will see the fee increase to £156 above the normal licence fee. Their ability to trade and make a living on the waterways will be affected.

A new web site has been set up with the aim of giving a voice to the small traders on the canals of the United Kingdom.

It’s at

There are many traders on the canal selling a diverse range of products such as traditional canalware, ropes, fenders, cheese, groceries, jewellery, fudge , cratch covers, boat names and embroidery.  The many trades afloat serve the boating community, bring diversity and enhance the public’s enjoyment of the waterways. We wish them the best of luck in challenging this licence fee increase.

The Continuous Cruising Myth

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

By Simon Robbins

That Continuous Cruisers are the main culprits when it comes to overstaying on visitors moorings is a myth that BW continue to perpetuate in order to justify differential charges and other targeting of Continuous Cruisers.

Many Boaters in the boating forums rail about Continuous Cruisers in this way too. I was therefore very relieved when a glimmer of reality pierced through the prejudice and outright bigotry one too often reads in such forums when one contributor bothered asking the question, “what’s the evidence”?

The answer is, NONE! Beyond that, when challenged, the evidence BW have supplied to date, seems to prove that very point!

As I said in my posting in the Canalworld string “Freeloaders?”

NABO did a Freedom Of Information request on this a few years back. We wanted to test the assertion that CC’r’s are more guilty on overstaying than those with moorings. We asked BW about numbers of patrol notices issued and then asked them to look at the proportion of those notices that were issued against boats that had home moorings versus those that were Continuous Cruisers. The maths showed clearly that boats that had registered with BW as having home moorings we more likely per capita to attract overstay notices than CC’rs.

BW have never attempted to contradict our findings which were sent to them with an invite to reply if they dis-agreed or could show we had missed something. Another bit of NABO correspondence they never replied to!

Well catching up with old e-mails this morning, I came across a more recent set of evidence which seem to further confirm that BW’s rhetoric on Continuous Cruisers is just that, and does not stand up, even on with their own figures.

The Western end of the Kennet and Avon seems to be the focus for BW’s efforts at the moment and a boater’s Freedom of Information Request in Autumn 2010 again put paid to the false prospectus that BW are running.

BW says , ‘The number of boats on the Kennet and Avon Canal which have legal action pending – 152’.

When one comes to BW’s categorisation of the individual reasons we are told:

Licensing Enforcement – 119;

Mooring Enforcement – 15;

Overstay Enforcement – 7;

Continuous Cruising Enforcement – 8

Other – 3

If eight of the cases are classed as CC’rs does that mean the seven listed as Overstayers have home moorings? If so then again we see that boats with home moorings are as much of a problem a CC’rs.

Even if in slightly self-contradictory fashion, one assumed the seven ‘Overstayers’ were all CC’rs too, does the fuss and drama BW are making over the evils of continuous cruisers seem proportionate to the fact that BW can only show, on their own numbers, most generously interpreted, fifteen serious breaches of the ‘rules’ worthy of legal action on the K+A?

(The next question, one that was not asked but one wonders; how many of these fifteen cases are solid enough for Court proceedings to have been issued?)

The BW numbers seem to me to show pretty clearly that most Continuous Cruisers based on the Kennet and Avon are doing what they should be and that BW’s rhetoric cannot be about enforcement issues. Rather it seems to be an excuse to introduce differential charges and other sanction against Continuous Cruisers based on a rhetoric of prejudice which even BW’s own facts and figures do not support.

BW are basing a whole campaign of activities on a false premise. No wonder BW are in a mess when idiocy like this is allowed to prevail, apparently with the endorsement of the BW Board and Directors.

This article first appeared on Simon’s blog Liveaboard Forum:

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