Meet Liz, Boat Licence Support Officer

Liz Sollars is one of our Boat Licence Support Officers in the Boating Team and works in our West Midlands region.

Stourport Basin Stourport Basin

What is a Licence Support Officer?

We asked Liz about what her role involves. “I work with the boat licence customer support team and am based at the office in Stourport. I work alongside the rangers who collect boat sightings and the licence support advisors who interpret the data that the rangers have collected.

Liz Sollars, licence support officer, West Midlands

Subsequent queries are passed through to myself and I endeavour to resolve the issues raised. My role involves ensuring that our many by-laws are upheld, particularly making certain that all boats are correctly licensed.

Licence fees are really important to the Trust, contributing nearly 20% of our income which helps us to maintain the waterways. I also make sure that continuous cruisers adhere to the guidelines.

Mediation and resolving issues

Much of my role involves dealing with boaters or members of the public and answering queries or trying to resolve issues. However, if after much mediation, boaters fail to comply with their licence terms and conditions, it may mean that we have to take them to court. Ultimately we may to remove their boat. Our main tool is our power under Section 8 of the British Waterways Act to remove boats if they remain there without our permission or are persistently in breach of the licence terms and conditions. However, this is very much a last resort.

Boaters in need

We are increasingly seeing many vulnerable boaters suffering ill health or financial hardship. Once I have identified boaters with such needs, I work with them to ascertain whether they might need an adjustment to their cruising pattern, if they’re continuous cruisers living on their craft, or if they need financial or pastoral support. With their consent, I may refer them to the Waterway Chaplains, who offer care and support to those living on the UK's waterways. Additionally, we have the support of our in-house welfare officer, Sean Williams.

We are often the first point of contact for many boaters or members of the public and answer a diverse range of queries. However, after 18 years in this role I still enjoy the challenges that the position brings and feel privileged that I have been able to work for such an esteemed organisation.

Boat crossing aqueduct on Stratford Canal Stratford Canal

Last date edited: 23 April 2021

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Our boating team bring you news of their work across our network, as well as the stories of boaters they meet

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