The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been felt across all aspects of society and those who live on their boat haven’t gone unscathed. This is Scott’s story and how asking the Trust for help made a difference.
Tragedy struck boater Scott just before the pandemic took hold when his dad passed away. To compound things, as lockdown came into force, he also lost his job as an engineering fabricator, a job that he had loved. Like so many others, Scott found himself with no immediate prospect of finding employment. For the first time ever he had to apply for Universal Credit, a process which he found to be demeaning. His self-esteem plummeted to an all-time low.
No boat safety, no licence
After all of this, Scott’s Boat Safety Certificate (BSC) expired and, with no wages coming in, he couldn’t afford the test and, as a result, couldn’t renew his boat licence. Scott did, however, manage to put a little aside for his licence by cutting back on all non-essentials and even essentials. He had to learn how to forage for edible plants because he couldn’t enough food and had to collect fallen wood to burn on his stove as he couldn’t afford to buy smokeless coal.
At around the same time, his local licence support officer, Glyn Bumford got in touch to enquire about Scott’s progress towards his BSC examination and boat licence. From their conversations Glyn established that Scott was at rock bottom and struggling to progress the BSC so he could renew his licence. He also learnt that Scott was an ex-Soldier.
A helping hand
With Scott’s permission, Glyn got in touch with SSAFA (the Armed Forces charity) and sought out the application forms that Scott would need to access support. Not long after Glyn turned up at the boat with the forms. It was a pivotal moment as he describes: “I used to think that the Trust was just like any other “Authority” body but discovered that Glyn was prepared to give me time on the phone, listened to me, showed patience, believed me, gave me the benefit of the doubt and suggested options. When Glyn turned up with the SSAFA forms, that made me extra determined and motivated to sort matters out”.
Shortly afterwards, Scott found full time employment as a welder/boat yard operative and all is now well in his world.
Boating can be a great lifestyle but also tough at times. There’s a whole heap of advice on our website but if you don’t find what you’re looking for then do get in touch with your local licence support officer – we want to help you have the best time afloat.
Last date edited: 26 July 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 meetSee more blogs from this author