In this edition you'll find out how, if you're older, you have the edge when in comes to nature. We also tell you how you can find your dream boat at Crick and head of boating, Mike Grimes, shares his thoughts in his monthly column among others...
Welcome to the last spring edition, meteorologically speaking, of Boaters’ Update. Spring is certain to go out with suitable fanfare as it coincides with Britain’s biggest inland waterway festival – the Crick Boat Show.
Along with over 250 exhibitors, I’ll be there with colleagues from the boating team, so please do stop in at our marquee and say hi. Rather than steal head of boating Mike Grimes’ thunder (he talks about Crick in his monthly article), I’ll let you crack on with the rest of this edition which includes:
- Last week, this week - what’s happening on or by the cut?
- Boat bonanza at Crick
- Mike Grimes’ says you can learn at your leisure at Crick
- National boat count shows reduction in licence evasion
- Maintenance, repair or restoration work affecting cruising this weekend
- Generational gap in nature knowledge revealed
- Boating and voting – EU referendum
- Bits and bobs
If there’s something you’d like to share with the boating community via this update then please drop me a line.
Since the last edition you may have heard, or seen, that:
- 9 May – £920,000 and four months of hard graft are what it’s taken to refurbish two massive London Docklands lock gates (that between them weigh the equivalent of four Boeing 737s)
- 10 May - 481,722 hours is how much time volunteers have given up to help us protect and care for canals and rivers this past year – Thank you!
- 10 May – 9% increase (almost) in the number of boaters who said that they trust us to look after the waterways, as revealed in the survey of your views.
- 13 May – Three cars were pulled out of the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal.
- 16 May – 0.2% is the reduction in boat licence evasion (remaining below 5% for the seventh year in a row) according to our National Boat Count. More below.
Before the next edition is published you might like to know that:
- 21 & 22 May – There’ll be lots to do at the Rickmansworth Festival – many boats for you to admire - having travelled from across the country to be there along with over a hundred craft stalls.
- 22 May – Go for a guided cruise through Blisworth Tunnel and walk back over the top with a guide as part of ‘Over and under the hill at Stoke Bruerne’.
- 22 May – Ever been on a Royal Navy Type 45 Destroyer? Nor me! The opportunity doesn’t come around often so get yourself down to West India Docks this Sunday for a tour of HMS Duncan.
- 28 to 30 May – Britain’s biggest inland waterway festival returns (did I mention that I’ll be there?!) – more details of, and why you should come to, Crick Boat Show below.
- 28 & 29 May – If you’re unable to make the trip down to Crick then why not get along to the IWA’s National Trailboat Festival on the Chesterfield Canal?
Of course, there are plenty of other activities around the network so please visit the events section of the website to find the perfect one for you.
In the last edition of Boaters’ Update I talked about the ‘Top 10 things to do at Crick’. It was a tough list to draw up because I knew that I couldn’t fit in everything that’ll be happening at the show. Instead, I tried to include those that best demonstrated the huge breadth of things there are to see and do.
There was one aspect that nearly made it on the list but I simply couldn’t figure out a way to condense it into a few sentences for the list. So, in this final edition before Crick, I can give the subject the attention it deserves.
It’s probably apparent from the title of this article but, to be more specific, I wanted to tell you about the huge range of boats that’ll be there for you to inspect (drool over?)
It may be that you’re a boating enthusiast without a boat or a current boat owner looking for a change or upgrade. Whatever your circumstance you’re likely to find a new love at the show.
I can’t list every single boat, and its specs, here – there literally are too many – so I’ll try to give a flavour of the range; you’ll find luxury in the form of granite-surfaced kitchens and underfloor wine lockers, compact and bijou boat designs, Dutch barges, widebeams, traditional tugs and everything in between.
With so much to do at this year’s show, and thousands attending, having a look round the boats on display is usually very popular. With this in mind, you’ll need to book in advance to get aboard some of them – cast your eye over the list of boat exhibitors and give them a quick call. Those that definitely need booking have an icon next to the listing.
Crick Boat Show will be open from 10am till 6pm every day except Monday 30 May, when it closes at 5pm. Evening entertainment runs from 7.30pm to 11.30pm.
In his final column before the Crick Boat Show, Mike Grimes invites boaters going along to come and talk to him, and his team, about our plans for the future.
‘Since joining the Trust around a year ago I’ve spent lots of time wearing out my shoe leather trying to meet as many boaters as possible. It’s been enjoyable and given me a good understanding of what’s important to boaters.
‘What I’ve also found is that every time I get out on a boat I learn something new. While I’ll be largely tied to our marquee for the duration of the show, you’ll have the opportunity to get a blast of boating knowledge via the series of seminars.
‘Whether you want to learn more about buying a boat, maintaining your boat, living afloat or even the canal pioneer James Brindley, you’ll find it all there.
‘Of course, my team and I (along with other Trust experts) will also be there and, if you’re interested, can tell you about some of the things we’re working on. For example, you might be interested in learning more about:
- How we’re getting on with our plans for the 2016/17 winter moorings
- What the London Mooring Strategy is about
- How we’re working on a new version of Boaters’ Guides
- How to become a Boating Buddy (where boaters help introduce non-boating staff to the pleasures and challenges of boating)
- How you can help us keep our free to use waterways maps up to date
‘Those above are just a few of the things we’re working on to help make a boaters’ life better. In all likelihood you’ll have some questions of your own and we’re happy to answer them to!’
‘Crick is the biggest inland boat show in Britain and, as outlined in the last Boaters’ Update and the first article of this edition, there’s a huge amount to see and do. It’d be great if, among it all, you’ll find five minutes to stop by for a chat.
‘We hope to see you there.’
Every year we take a snap-shot of boats on our waterways in our snappily named National Boat Count. This year’s, completed in March, shows that licence evasion has reduced by 0.2% in the past year to 4.4%, with 95.6% of boats holding up-to-date licences. It’s now the seventh year in a row below 5%.
The national boat count also paints a picture of the changing numbers of boats across the country. London has seen an increase of just over 400 boats, with numbers in the south west and south east also rising, while other areas reduced by almost the same amount.
Late last week, Mike Grimes gave us his take on the results: “I’m pleased that licence evasion continues to remain below 5%. The contribution boaters make to our canals and rivers helps fund their vital upkeep and it’s important for everyone to play their part. I’d like to thank our enforcement team for their sterling work in helping protect the income that goes towards looking after the waterways for the benefit of all boaters.
“There’s also an important safety aspect. If a boat isn’t licensed we can’t know that it’s safe, which poses a risk for both the boat owner and other boaters.
“While evasion has fallen slightly, it is disappointing to see a small minority taking the benefits of boating on the waterways without putting anything back to fund their upkeep. In 2015/16 we had to remove 90 boats from our canals and rivers as they were unlicensed or in breach of our terms and conditions. This is always a last resort and I urge anyone without a licence to get in touch with the local team so they can help resolve the situation as soon as possible.“
While we work hard to protect the 200+ year old network of canals and rivers and keep them in tip-top condition, it’s not always possible. The list below is what we already know will affect cruising over the coming weekend. This list highlights those instances where, for one reason or another, cruising won’t be possible.
- Rochdale Canal – Lock 36 to lock 45, Sowerby Bridge to Summit.
- Calder & Hebble Navigation – Crowther Bridge to Salterhebble Guillotine gate.
- Shropshire Union Canal – Lower Basin Washwall to Wide Lock Approach, Ellesmere Port.
- Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal - Junction with the River Irwell and Middlewood Deep Lock.
- Engine Arm Canal (Smethwick) – Engine Arm Aqueduct.
- Birmingham & Fazeley Canal – Lock 2, Aston.
- Weaver Navigation – Marsh Lock.
- Kennet & Avon Canal – Bridge 27, Padworth Swingbridge.
- Peak Forest Canal – Between Lock 1 & 16.
- Macclesfield Canal – Between Bridges 26 & 27.
- Welford Arm (Leicester Line) – Fallen Tree Near Lock 1 by the winding hole.
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.
We’ve just launched our annual Great Nature Watch campaign, and we're calling for people to ‘Stop, Look and Listen’ to what’s happening around them, following survey results which show surprising gaps in people’s nature knowledge.
This year we've worked with the renowned Wildlife Sound Recording Society (WSRS) to create a series of nature noises and challenge people to identify them as part of the our Wildlife Ear and Eye Q test.
Surveying toddlers to OAPs, the results showed that 25% of parents and 30% of children could not identify the sound a duck makes, plus 23% of parents and nearly a third of children thought that ducks have yellow feathers, perhaps the result of children’s TV programmes such as Peppa Pig.
Findings also show that 76% of parents believe that they are less knowledgeable about nature than the previous generation with 68% of parents also believing that their children are less knowledgeable about nature than they were at their age.
When put to the test the gap in wildlife knowledge between parents and their children is actually surprisingly close, however the gap between grandparents and their adult children and grandchildren is much bigger.
In a bid to stem this decline of wildlife knowledge, we've created an interactive test with audio and images so that you can test yourself about some of the wildlife you’ll find out on, or by, the cut.
Dr Mark Robinson, the Trust’s national ecologist, says: “It’s a shame to see that peoples knowledge of nature is declining, but this can easily be reversed. Did you know that a blackbird’s song mimics its surrounding noise, or could you identify the sound a fox makes? Just step outside your front door, stop, look and listen, and you can hear such a variety of nature sounds.”
Additional results from the Ear and Eye Q test show that 63% of parents and 69% of their children believe that owls can rotate their head 360 degrees, while both parents and their kids (44% & 54%) thought that goldfish have a mere three-second memory. In fact goldfish have the ability to store information for up to five months.
Richard Beard from the Wildlife Sound Recording Society, says: ‘It’s great to be working with the Canal & River Trust on such an interesting topic. At the society we have been recording the sounds of nature for years, from the dawn chorus to the allusive otters. To be able to share these with the British public, as well as encourage everyone to listen to their surrounding nature, is fantastic.”
With less five weeks to go until the EU referendum time’s running out if you’re not already registered to vote but want to. You can register online up until 7 June. First things first, check that you fulfil the eligibility criteria:
- Aged 18 or over, and
- Registered to vote in the UK by 7 June 2016; and
- A British or Irish citizen living in the UK, or
- A Commonwealth citizen living in the UK who has leave to remain in the UK or who does not require leave to remain in the UK; or
- A British citizen living overseas who has been registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years; or
- An Irish citizen living overseas who was born in Northern Ireland and who has been registered to vote in Northern Ireland in the last 15 years; or
- A citizen of the Commonwealth nations of Malta and Cyprus.
All good? Then read on!
If you have a permanent mooring then you’re effectively a resident of that area and the process is the same as for your land-lubbing neighbours. Just visit the Government’s voting registration website.
It’s slightly more complicated if you’re always on the move and don’t have a home mooring. If this is your situation then you must register a declaration of local connection, which, when approved, will be valid for 12 months (or until you cancel it).
It’s not too hard though, find your local electoral registration office via Google. You’ll then need to pop along, explain your local connection and fill in a form. The ‘local connection’ should be at a place you spend the most time or where you have some connection. This could be where you were last permanently registered or any boatyard or marina you regularly use for maintenance.
Once complete you’ll be able to rock up at your nearest polling station and have your Brexin or Brexit vote!
- Can you help us keep our maps up to date? In the last edition I mentioned that we’ve developed a simple online form for boaters to report any differences they spot between our maps and what they come across out on the cut. I blogged about it last week too – read now for more info! Your help is greatly appreciated…
- Just in from the Residential Boat Owners’ Association – it has a new website. The name remains the same (www.rboa.org.uk) but the site has a completely fresh look. As well as news and other items relevant to all boaters, and some specific to those living on boats, there is a Members’ Forum, which the RBOA encourages Members to use Also on offer on the new site are details of merchandise, and classified and other advertisements.
- While we make plenty of mentions about Crick Boat Show in this edition, one slightly further off (3 to 5 June) is the Beale Park Boat & Outdoor Show. We’ll have a small team there among everything from amphibious vehicles to bushcraft lessons! So, if you can’t make Crick, do come and find us at Beale Park.
Last date edited: 20 May 2016
About this blog
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 as important safety announcements and upcoming events.See more blogs from this author