In some popular areas, this style of living is on the increase and the Trust is concerned that the newcomers may not be aware of or fully understand the requirement for bona fide navigation and may believe it is sufficient simply to move around within a small area. Some therefore get a shock when they find that they are in breach of the rules, while we are forced to embark on a time-consuming and costly enforcement process.
We are working to raise awareness of these constraints amongst home-seekers and boat sales advertisers. We're also aiming to provide clearer information to the floating community so, from January 2014, will be contacting everyone newly registering as a continuous cruiser to ensure they fully understand the requirements. After three months, if there is concern about a boat's limited movement, the charity will send a reminder and invitation to contact the local enforcement officer to discuss the cruising pattern. Ultimately if they can't meet the movement requirements they will need to get a home mooring before their licence can be renewed.
Sally Ash, head of boating at the Canal & River Trust, said: “We want people thinking of living afloat to be fully aware of the challenges, as well as the benefits, before taking the leap. We hope that, by spreading the message widely, people won't end up making a costly mistake. Our new step of contacting every new continuous cruiser will help them in their new lifestyle, without falling foul of the enforcement procedures needed to manage the waterways fairly for everyone. We hope that, by keeping people informed, they will use the waterways responsibly, so they can be enjoyed by everybody.”
For more information about living afloat please see the Residential Boat Owners' Association website