We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

News article created on 1 July 2016

Boaters' Update

Welcome to the latest edition where you'll find not one word about Europe! Instead you'll find it packed with the latest boating news, videos and stoppages... Enjoy!

Narrowboat near bridge on Staffordhsire & Worcestershire Canal Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal, copyright Richard Straton

Welcome to the latest edition of Boaters’ Update. I hope you find it a welcome respite from everything else that is going on in our world and, after you’ve had a read, that you also get the chance to escape to the water this weekend.

Before we get in to the meat of this edition though, I thought you might like to know that Trustee John Dodwell has been blogging about his recent cruises around the midlands – well worth a read.

If there’s something you would like to see in a future edition, or a regular feature you think will be useful, then please drop me a line. In the meantime, click on the links below to jump to the article of your choice:

Happy boating,

Damian

News round-up and the fortnight ahead

Since the last edition you may have heard, or seen, that:

And here’s what’s happening over the next fortnight:

  • 2 Jul – Why not go along with your family and friends to Welshpool Wharf where you’ll find a Canal & Food Festival and get the chance to have fun on the water. Free canoeing, coracling challenges, boat trips, entertainment and much more.
  • 2 & 3 Jul – The riverside comes alive at the Stratford-upon-Avon River Festival and will feature more free events and activities than ever before, while also welcoming back a host of old favourites by popular demand.
  • 1 to 3 Jul – If you’re in the North West this weekend you might consider a little retail therapy at Chester’s floating market.
  • 9 Jul – Come and take a free tour at Smethwick Lock where you'll be able to explore a drained lock in the midst of restoration works.
  • 9 Jul – In London there’ll be a celebration of plans to re-open the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park waterways, with a public cruise and an evening reception.

Of course, there are plenty of other activities and volunteering opportunities around the network so please visit the events section of the website to find the perfect one for you.

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Update on the £1million dredging project on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal

We’re now half way through an eight month project to dredge sections of the Staffs & Worcs - from Tixall Lock in Staffordshire to Falling Sand Lock near Kidderminster.

The work is focusing on areas along the canal where boaters were having difficulty mooring, navigating through bridges or approaching locks. So far 2,472 tonnes of silt – the same in weight as 32 jumbo jets - has been removed from the canal.

Paul Fox, from the Trust, said: “So far everything is going really well with this project and already we’re getting good feedback from our boating customers from the areas we’ve completed which is really great to hear.

“We are trying to recycle as much of the silt as possible, using it to backfill gaps in the canals bank and also using it to create new homes for water voles.”

Check out this video of the dredger in action:

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Safe use of lock paddle gear

Earlier this week I posted an instructional video, about using paddle gear safely, on to our Facebook Boating page it was well received so I thought I’d include here:

I’m talking to a couple of boaters about creating some more instructional-type videos – please do let me know if you have any ideas about what topics need covering. Thanks!

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Your opinion please!

I’ve been writing Boaters’ Update for something like five years now and regular readers will know that it looks very different from the first edition I worked on.

Feedback from the Boat Owners’ Views survey showed that a good proportion of boat licence holders do receive this (80%) and most (85%) find it at least fairly useful. While that’s encouraging, I’d like your advice on how to make it even more useful and enjoyable for you.

Below I’ve listed some different ways in which Boaters’ Update could change and it’d be great if you could let me know which you’d like, or not, to see:

  • More video (if so what should the videos be of)?
  • A podcast version?
  • Longer or shorter articles?
  • Regional versions?
  • What should the focus of the content be - purely things about, or affecting, boating or broader?
  • More humour/edgy?
  • Do different boater-types (based on age/boating habits etc) need different versions?
  • Frequency - is fortnightly about right?
  • I do include a link to a PDF version in the email I send out when a new one is published but are there any other formats that I should consider?

The above isn’t exhaustive and, at this stage, nothing is ruled out so please send in your ideas and opinions however wild they might be! Please also ask your boating friends. Your help and input is really appreciated.

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Maintenance, repair or restoration work affecting cruising this weekend

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.

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 and while you're at it, sign up to receive email alerts for your most cruised canals and rivers.

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Fishing from your boat

Last week our national fisheries and angling manager, John Ellis, published a great blog about fishing from your boat. Looking at every aspect, from the history through to the current rules, I thought you’d appreciate its inclusion here. As an aside, is there a noun for someone who is a boater and an angler? Bongler maybe? Take it away John…

To the best of my knowledge, history does not record the name of the first person to actually fish on a British canal. Who knows, it could have been a member of the first boat crew when they moored up on that very first trip. Or, if you include the Fossdyke, then a Roman angler wins the prize.

Whoever it was, the purpose would have probably been for the capture of food rather than for sport. For back in the 18th and 19th Centuries, coarse fish such as shad, pike, eel and even gudgeon were an important part of the diet.

Fishing rights

Fishing rights are legal property in their own right. We own them on much of the canal network. There are some exceptions to this which have their origins back in history to the time of the Canal Enabling Acts. On the river navigations, the position is that where we own the land, we also own the fishing rights associated with that land ownership.

At other locations on our rivers, we are generally only the navigation authority. Here, typically, fishing rights often belong to the riparian owner. In quite a lot of cases, these fishing rights have been bought by angling clubs and associations, for fishing rights can become separated from the ownership of land. Examples of clubs who have bought fishing rights from landowners are the Birmingham Anglers Association, who control many miles of fishing rights on the Severn and Avon and several Nottinghamshire clubs on the Trent.

Does your Trust boat licence cover you to fish or do you need a separate permit?

Our boating licence doesn’t grant the holder any right to fish either from their craft or the towpath. In situations where we own fishing rights on canals and rivers, we manage them by either license agreements with angling clubs or under our Waterway Wanderers scheme. Anyone wishing to angle from their moored craft needs to have a permit to do so. This permit will typically be

  • A day or season membership of the controlling angling club
  • A Waterway Wanderers’ annual permit

Many, indeed probably the majority of our customer clubs, do offer day permit facilities on some or all of their let sections. In many cases day permits are available from the clubs’ patrolling bailiff and cost around £5 or sometimes less. It should be noted that fishing should not take place from a boat in 'no fishing' areas and that on the canal network the boat must be moored. Fishing must not take place from a moving craft on the canal network.

Where can I go fishing with just an Environment Agency rod licence?

Some believe that holding an Environment Agency rod licence covers them legally for fishing in a canal. Of course, it’s true that the EA rod licence is legally required to fish anywhere, including in your own pond in the back garden. With very few exceptions (some EA owned fishing rights) the rod licence does not give the holder the legal right to fish anywhere in freshwater. It’s perhaps best to think of the rod licence as something that is required to licence the use of a fishing rod or pole, along the same lines as a gun licence.

I have lost count of the number of folk who, after having patiently heard me explain the above to them, respond with a deep sigh and utter ‘why the heck should I buy a rod licence then’ or words to that effect!

So why buy an Environment Agency rod licence?

There are two answers to that particular question. Firstly, anyone fishing would be breaking the law by not being in possession of a rod licence prior to commencement of fishing. Secondly, all income raised is invested in maintaining, improving and developing fisheries and angling in the widest sense.

This ranges from managing fish and regulating fish stocks to encouraging angling participation. We now have representation on the England Fisheries Group which advises the EA regarding its fisheries function. This means we can now begin to influence how the £2 million or so raised from rod licence sales to our angling customers is invested.

Buying a fishing permit on the move

A genuine concern often expressed is how the cruising boater, finding themselves moored up in a new location, can get hold of the correct fishing permit. How can you easily find out which club controls a particular stretch? The best answer I can give is that technology is beginning to come to our aid.

Our fishing pages have the most up to date information regarding clubs on the canal network. The 'fishing info' section of the Angling Trust website is the first port of call for information on the river navigations.

An even more advanced use of technology is the ability to be able to purchase a permit using a mobile phone. Clubs like the Lure Angling Canal Club, who rent fishing rights on both the Grand Union and South Stratford canals, have developed such technology. I do hope that more clubs take up this idea in due course.

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Bits and Bobs

  • 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 a few weeks ago – read now for more info! Your help is greatly appreciated…
  • The Chesterfield Canal Trust welcomed over 30 employees from three local branches of McDonald’s for a day of hard graft sprucing up various bits of the canal.
  • And finally, you might remember that due to a fire that spread from a neighbouring building, River Canal Rescue’s HQ was totally gutted. Well, after nearly 18 months in temporary offices, the boat recovery company has moved into its brand new HQ near bridge 101 on the Staffs & Worcs. Famous boater and actor, David Suchet, was on hand to cut the ribbon. Congratulations!

Happy boating!

Damian

About this blog

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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