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News article created on 16 June 2017

Boaters' Update 16 June 2017

Welcome to the latest edition of Boaters’ Update. Have a quick read for the latest boating news, events and stoppages before heading off (hopefully to your local canal or river) into what's forecast to be the warmest weekend of the year so far!

Gloucester & Sharpness Canal 14 June 2017 Gloucester & Sharpness Canal 14 June 2017

Welcome to the latest edition of Boaters’ Update. In it you’ll find out about free tickets to the Northern and Western Boat Shows, useful advice from River Canal Rescue on how to avoid its five most common call-outs and what to expect, as a boater, if you’re near the Angling Trust’s Division One National Championships on the Shroppie. And that’s just to name a few!

In addition, you’ll find the usual mix of news and this weekend’s stoppages as well as ways in which you can get involved. If there is something else you’d like to see in a future edition, then do get in touch.

In this edition:

Happy boating,

Damian

News round-up and the fortnight ahead

Over the last couple of weeks you may have heard, or seen, that:

  • 1 Jun – We introduced a new boat letting licence to help ensure the safety of the increasing number of people living on rented boats. More on this below
  • 3 Jun – There was a mass paddle as the mile-long Foulridge Tunnel was opened to canoeists (and becomes the longest canal tunnel in the UK open to canoes).
  • 12 Jun – Stoke Bruerne’s oldest floating resident, Sculptor, set off on its maiden voyage of 2017 after recently receiving important conservation work by us and the Friends of the Canal Museum.
  • 12 Jun – There was a double celebration for canal volunteers in Cheshire, Shropshire and North Wales as members of the Small Task Team Volunteers (STTV) recently completed their 100th work party and founder, Paul Mills, was presented with the coveted “National Volunteer of the Year” award by leading waterway newspaper, Towpath Talk.

As we move into summer, it just gets busier on and around the waterways. You’ll find some highlights below but there are plenty of other activities and volunteering opportunities around the network: visit the events section of the website to find the perfect one for you.

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Don’t get stranded this summer – advice from the experts

Repairing boat engine electricsWith a glorious weekend forecast, the last thing you want to do is spend it unable to get out on the cut. So, as River Canal Rescue reports that the January to May call-out figures are already 8% higher than last year - up from 1,357 to 1,464 – it’s reminding boaters of the five most common call-out reasons and how to avoid them.

Click on the links below to find out more about each specific issue and how to fix it (or prevent it!):

Call-out culprits

The next five call-out culprits are; breaking cables, starter issues, prop, prop shaft, rudder and other damage from underwater collisions (hence why accidental cover on insurance is so important), alternator failure and faulty fan belts.

Thanks to the lovely people at RCR for the advice above. Of course, if swim tank, head gasket and cranking battery sound like a foreign language to you then you might want to consider one of its boat & engine maintenance and electrics courses!

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Free tickets to the Northern and Western Boat Shows

The Northern and Western Boat Shows have announced that more canal boats will be joining their spectacular line-up. They join an already bumper number of power boats, ribs and sailing boats on show at Liverpool on 23-25 June and Bristol on 21-23 July, all at the heart of the Mersey River and Bristol Harbour Festivals

The Shows will cover every aspect of the leisure marine industry from boat builders, canoes, kayaks, sail makers, marinas, holidays, chandlers, watersports and engine manufacturers to marine finance, clothing specialists and navigation equipment.

A number of exhibitors at Liverpool such as Aqueduct Marina, Beds on Board, Borrow a Boat, Caldwell Windows, Intellitec MV, Kings Lock Chandlery, Popaloo, River Canal Rescue, Transcool, Vetus, Waterside Moorings and Webasto will be there catering specifically for those of you who do, or want to, boat on the inland waterway network.

Richard Milbourn, Event Director of the Northern and Western Boat Shows said, “Not only is there so much to see at the Shows but the Festivals are great fun for all the family with everything from historic ships, boat racing, music, flyboarding and much, much more! This year, Liverpool is proud to welcome Armed Forces Day, with plans for some of the most spectacular and iconic displays from the Armed Forces being welcomed to the city on Saturday 24th June.“

If you couldn’t make it to Crick Boat Show but are still keen to cast your eye over a range of boats for the inland waterway network, then these shows could be just the place for you. What’s better, the organisers have kindly offered free tickets for readers of Boaters’ Update.

If you want to go to the Northern Show in Liverpool you have until 22 June to get your free tickets.

The Western Show in Bristol may be closer, in which case, you have until 20 July to claim them.

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Angling Championship on the Shroppie – what you need to know

Saturday 19 August sees the Shropshire Union Canal host the 102nd top flight national angling championships. The keen anglers among you will know that this is quite a big deal!

Restrictions are only in place for the match day so anyone else boating in the region will likely be interested in the sections that will be excluded from the match length (i.e. the bit that won’t have any anglers on). A list of these, ideal for overnight mooring, can be found on the fishery team blog.  

As with most weekends in the fishing season, you’re just as likely to come across anglers no matter where you are in the country (maybe not in the same numbers though!). In case you’re new to boating, or would like a refresher, here’s a perfect example of how to cruise past anglers:

 

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More ways for you to get involved

Many boaters help keep canals and rivers in good condition by volunteering or donating. As you’re such an integral part of what makes waterways so wonderful, there’re always others ways you can get involved:

  • Winter stoppages – Thanks to everyone who took the time to give us their thoughts on the first draft of our plans for the winter maintenance and restoration programme. We’re now reviewing the comments and in a month’s time, on 16 July, we’ll publish a revised programme for you to consider. At this point you’ll get until 4 August to give us further thoughts which we’ll review before publishing the final plan, a couple of weeks later, on 18 August.
  • Share the Space Facebook Live – Do you have any questions about how we’re promoting considerate behaviour on the towpath? If so, tune in to a Facebook Live session and ask away on Monday 26 June (around lunchtime) with our national towpath ranger, Dick Vincent and Sam Jones from Cycling UK. More precise timings will be posted on our Facebook page in the next few days.

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Canal & River Trust introduces new licence for boat renting

A new letting licence, to help ensure the safety of the increasing number of people living on rented boats, is now available from the Trust. The new licence is in response to the numbers of boats for rent in London, and further afield, as people try to find alternatives to rising housing costs. 

A second market has sprung up with the advent of website letting sites which regularly feature listings of boats for rent, while anecdotal evidence from boaters shows that it’s becoming more common.


Photo of regents canal next to victoria park in hackneyMatthew Symonds, boating strategy and engagement manager at Canal & River Trust, explains: “Living afloat can be a great lifestyle choice but too often there are frightening accidents, from carbon monoxide poisoning to fires and boats sinking.  Boat owners may not be aware that they have greater responsibilities to tenants than they would if they were using the boat themselves, and it’s vital that those renting boats are protected by more rigorous standards to ensure they are safe.”

The new Static Letting Licence (for static boats) covers all types of boat rental, including long-term renting, Airbnb-style short breaks, and overnight stays. The boat owner will need to have a permanent mooring and should talk to their local planning authority to see if planning permission is needed. The price will be the same as for the current Self-Drive Holiday Hire licence.

Importantly, the Static Letting Licence has more rigorous requirements to make sure that both the boat is safe and that potential renters are fully briefed before spending a night on board.  Boat owners will be required to have: proof of adequate insurance; a Non-Private Boat Safety Scheme Certificate; a detailed handover document including emergency procedures and contact numbers; a Landlord Gas Safety Certificate; and written permission from their mooring provider.

Alongside this the Trust will be introducing a new process for dealing with boat owners who may be breaching the terms of their licence by renting out their boat. If a boat is suspected of being rented out illicitly we’ll contact the registered licence holder, as well as hand posting letters onto the boat itself to alert tenants. The licence holder will be given 28 days to clarify the situation, cease trading if appropriate, or apply for a Static Letting Licence. After this their licence will be revoked if they continue to rent out their boat. 

Sarah Dhanda, Chief Officer of Membership & Services at British Marine, commented: “We support the Canal & River Trust’s decision to introduce this new Licence. This new approach provides reassurance for all customers, by raising safety standards in line with those that our members already abide by.”  

You can find out more information about renting boats in the dedicated section on our website.

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Maintenance, repair and restoration work affecting cruising this weekend

Keeping your canals and rivers ready for you to enjoy is a year-round job. From time-to-time this includes some major engineering that we need to temporarily close the navigation for. Below you’ll find a list, by region, of anything that’s happen that may affect your cruising.

Just click on the one where you’ll be and a webpage will open listing any stoppages for that region (if your region isn’t listed then, yay, there aren’t any navigation closures there!). If you’re not quite sure which region your planned cruise falls in to please take a look at this map.

When any restrictions to navigation happen, we get them up on to our website as soon as we can – always best to have a scan before you set off for a cruise. If you have any questions about a specific closure then you’ll find the email addresses for our regional offices on our contacts page.

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Bits and Bobs

  • A heads up that over the coming months we will be carrying out an audit of the self-declarations of Boat Safety Scheme exemptions to ensure they are correctly classified as exempt and that the way the exemption scheme is applied works. Initially, a qualified and independent examiner will carry out an external survey on a sample number of boats. Individual boaters will be contacted if we need further help to verify the exemption or if the inspector feels it may have been incorrectly declared exempt. If you need any further information please get in touch with development manager, Paul Griffin.
  • And finally, I thought I’d share an email I received from a boater because it made me smile so much: ‘We were very, very grateful to every boater who offered help when our throttle cable “went” on us late in the afternoon of Tuesday 30 May near Hardwick Lock. In fact we think that every single boater, private or hire, who came across us offered help in some form - from practical help and technical advice, to moral support, to being offered a lift home (to Cropredy) - and even a tow. There was no irritation at our slow progress through the locks; several boaters offered to wait and help us through after they had gone through. All-in-all it made a very frustrating time far more tolerable - and now, in hindsight, almost a pleasure.  Almost!!!’ – Bill & Sue.

Happy boating and don't forget the sun cream!

Damian

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The boaters' update

Think of this blog as your one-stop shop for up-to-date boating news. It's packed full of useful information about boating on canals and rivers as well important safety announcements and upcoming events.

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