A boater's view of why boaters should take part in the annual Boat Owners View survey.
Have you received your survey in the post or via email?
Quite a few, in fact around a third of approximately 33,000 licensed boaters on Canal & River Trust waters, will be asked to take part in the annual Boat Owners Views survey that’s happening right now. Predictably in various places across the internet the survey is being discussed, and as in many things, most of us boaters can’t seem to agree as to whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing to take part, and what the Trust is going to do with the results.
The split is almost as polarised as the everlasting “pump-out vs cassette” argument before the advent of composting toilets. I’m going to stick my neck out as a boater and say if you get an invitation to take part it is worth completing the survey. How else can the Trust find out who we are, where we are, why and how we boat, and what we want to be better?
Last March just over 1000 of us bothered to take part in the survey. In more detail, just 223 continuously cruising boats and 801 boats with a home mooring took time to fill in some, most, or even in some cases all the questions. As a result, we now know that the proportion of boaters whose main residence is the boat is up from 15% of respondents in 2011 to 26% in 2016 and that those who use their boat primarily for leisure has declined from 64% to 51%. The ways we boat and the way we use the canal & river network is changing, and it is because of these changes that the Trust, more than ever before, needs to get a much better picture of who we are and what needs we have.
Some people might find some of the questions towards the end of the survey a bit nosey and of course we’re entitled not to answer questions if we don’t want to, but there’s a good reason why these questions are being asked. The Trust are increasingly trying to get local councils, central government and other agencies to recognise the needs of us boaters. Before local and central government are willing to do that they often want to know more information than the Trust currently have about who we are, and what our needs might be.
So, fellow boaters, these questions are necessary to help the Trust help us. Crucially these questions are confidential and none of the answers can be traced to any individual boater.
The survey covers a wide range of subjects but in a nutshell it’s about what we feel strongly about, what’s working well, what’s not working well, what really winds us up, and what we want to see more of. It’s an opportunity to be constructively critical as well as to acknowledge improvements. It is an opportunity for you to have your say, so if you get an invite by e-mail, check your spam folder and take part. If you get one in post, please don’t bin it with the junk mail. Put the kettle on, make a hot drink and take the time to take part!
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