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News article created on 8 September 2017

Boaters' Update 8 September 2017

Welcome to the first September edition of Boaters' Update. Below you'll find a report on the things you'd like to see all boaters doing, an update on the licensing consultation, the latest boating news, events and much more besides!

Boats moored along towpath of canal Shropshire Union Canal

Welcome to the latest edition. Well, I asked and you certainly delivered! In the last edition I asked for you to get in touch with the top five (or more) things you’d like to see every boater doing and I’m humbled by the number of you who took the time to share your thoughts.

One dilemma I’m left with is how best to condense the list into something short and memorable. So, it’s over to you again in this edition…

There’s also an update on the licensing consultation, the usual news round-up, this weekend’s stoppages, and 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:

  • 29 Aug – The Northampton South MP boated into town to launch a mosaic trail along the Grand Union Canal.
  • 31 Aug – After thousands of votes were cast for the nation’s favourite flower-filled boats in our inaugural Boats in Bloom awards, we announced the winners.
  • 31 Aug – Following the completion of the opening stages of our boat licensing consultation, we published a report on the views aired in the second stage of the consultation. More on this below
  • 31 Aug –  The historic Dundas Basin, on the Kennet & Avon Canal outside Bath, was honoured with a Red Wheel plaque from the Transport Trust to recognise its historic significance.

Below I’ve picked out some highlights to see and do over the next fortnight. Of course, 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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Your boating guidelines 

Boats in Brecon BasinAs mentioned in the introduction lots of readers got in touch to tell me the top things they think every boater should be doing. Across the replies, there were over 70 individual guidelines suggested – perhaps too many to learn by rote!

Of the 70-odd that were suggested, 38 were proposed by more than one correspondent, still too many! What’s needed now is some refinement. The list below contains the full top 18. Some have been combined, such as ‘be neighbourly and considerate’ and ‘the 8-to-8 rule’. But, even after combining, it’s still cumbersome:

  • Slow to tickover before, and while, passing moored boats (see boating team blog).
  • Don’t leave big gaps at busy mooring spots (see boating team blog).
  • Don’t overstay mooring time limits.
  • Only stay on a water point while filling up and only use lock landings when preparing to go through a lock.
  • Be neighbourly and considerate, don’t run generators before 8am or after 8pm, treat all boaters equally (including hirers) and help others at locks if they want you to.
  • Share locks to save water and don't steal locks set against you if you can see another boat coming (see boating team blog).
  • Don't moor opposite winding holes, on bends, or near to bridge holes.
  • Even if you can’t find a nearby refuse point, don’t leave your rubbish on the towpath or at water points (see boating team blog).
  • Ensure all paddles and gates are closed and never leave your windlass unattended. (see boating team blog).
  • Plan and think ahead – don’t set yourself unrealistic cruising targets. (see boating team blog).
  • Enjoy it!
  • Go slow and allow others to overtake if necessary (see boating team blog).
  • Moor properly and use spring lines (see boating team blog).
  • Never take to the tiller when drunk and make sure children are supervised (see boating team blog).
  • Don't create a breaking wash (see boating team blog).
  • Clear up after your dog.
  • Pay your licence fee and display your discs.
  • Push off from your mooring in neutral and make sure you’re not pulling out on others.

Boat crossing Pontcysyllte AqueductEventually, it’d be great to have the list condensed down to a maximum of seven or eight things that the majority of readers feel are the most important. This could mean that some of the above are combined further or left out because they’re not considered to be as important. So, after reading the list above, which of them would you recommend make the cut? Do please let me know.

Once we have a list of broadly agreed guidelines we can set about communicating them as widely and loudly as possible through various mediums such as postcards, posters, videos and so on.

Oh, and my particular, tongue-in-cheek, favourite of all those suggested: ‘Never fly tip - come on kids, put your shizzle in the appropriate place’.

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The Shroppie Locks

In the last edition, as well as asking for your thoughts on the above, I passed on a request from a fellow boater:

Tyrley Locks, Shropshire Union Canal“How do you, without bow thrusters, steer your boat through the Audlem, Adderley and Tyrley Locks on the Shroppie Canal when the side channels are forcing you off course so fiercely as you approach the lock? If you get the front on target the back is then swung round so you still hit your boat and the lock walls!”

Thanks to those who passed on their advice. There are four pages of it, which you can read here. If you’d like to see a boat successfully enter the Tyrley Lock then look no further than the video below from the lovely Tiller People! The lock passage starts around the five-minute mark but I have to confess, I was so mesmerised I ended up watching the whole video

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An update on our licensing consultation

Following the completion of the opening stages of our boat licensing consultation, we’ve published a report on the views aired in the second stage of the consultation.

The second stage of the consultation involved a series of workshops, which were held across the country and included a cross section of the boating community.

In the next few weeks we will invite all boaters and boating groups to take part in the third and final stage of the consultation, where we will put forward a series of proposals on the future of boat licensing. These proposals will have been informed by the first two stages of the consultation. 

Ian Rogers steering HelenIan Rogers, customer service and operations director at the Canal & River Trust, comments: “I’d like to thank everyone who has taken part in the boat licensing consultation so far – the conversations have been thought-provoking and are helping us shape the final stage of our consultation.

“In the next few weeks we’ll be getting in touch with all private and business licence holders and boating organisations to encourage them to take part. We’ll be emailing an invitation to all our boat licence holders for whom we hold email addresses, and sending invites by post to the others. The proposals will be published on our website, as well as hard copies available on request from our offices, so everyone will have a chance to see them. 

“It is important that we have a full view of boaters’ thoughts and feelings to help shape the future of licensing.  Please take advantage of this opportunity to make your voices heard.”

We’ll be sending an email to all licence holders as soon as the third stage starts so, if you haven’t done already, make sure you register an email address registered with us by either logging on to your My Trust account or calling our customer service team on 0303 040 4040.

Find out more about the boat licensing consultation, including reports from stage one and stage two.

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More ways for you to get involved

Many boaters go the extra mile in helping to keep canals and rivers in good condition by volunteering or donating. As you’re such an integral part of what makes waterways so wonderful, I thought you’d like to know about other ways you can get involved:

  • Thanks to everyone who got in touch over the summer to give us their views on our proposed winter maintenance programme. The final plan, after two rounds of fine-tuning based on your input, has now been published.
  • Those who’ve traversed them will know that Tardebigge Locks make up the longest flight of locks in the UK. Comprising 30 narrow locks over a two-and-a-quarter-mile (3.6 km) stretch, they raise the Worcester & Birmingham Canal 220 feet (67 m). But did you know that to celebrate completing the flight, you can get a special certificate from the local team? Check out local noticeboards for more information.

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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

  • If your mind is starting to turn to the maintenance jobs you’ll be doing over the winter then you might want to read through the Boat Safety Scheme’s ‘Stay Safe’ section which has bundles of useful information to help you keep your boat properly maintained and safe.
  • We’ll be publishing the list of Winter Mooring sites and prices on Monday (11 Sept) on the website. Then, later next week, on Wednesday (13 Sept), you’ll be able to look at the sites in more detail via the web licensing portal. If you find one you’re interested in then another date for your diary is Monday 2 October as this is when they go on sale.

Happy boating!

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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