Further to our announcement on 13 February 2015, we have updated our process for licensing boats without a home mooring. From 1 May 2016, as originally planned, we will no longer offer three month restricted licences to boaters who have not been meeting the terms of their ‘continuous cruiser’ licence.
In May 2015 we launched an information drive to provide greater clarity to boaters without a home mooring. This has included: getting in touch early to let boaters know when they haven’t been moving enough to meet the terms of their licence; sending out information packs when people take up a ‘continuous cruising’ licence; and sending text messages to overstaying boats to see if they need any help.
Over 5,000 boats without a home mooring have had their movement patterns reviewed prior to licence renewal and, where there were concerns, licences for shorter durations (three or six months) were offered to enable the customer to establish a more acceptable range of movement.
Mike Grimes, head of boating, said: “Our emphasis on better communication, alongside a defined period in which to resolve problem cruising patterns, seems to be having a positive effect. It has been encouraging to see that many boaters on short duration licences have been able to increase their range of movement, while a number have opted to take home moorings. Half of those issued with a three month licence, and nearly two-thirds of those issued a six month licence, improved their cruising pattern whilst on a restricted licence and were offered further licences on this basis.
“It was always the intention that offering three month restricted licences would be a temporary measure whilst the approach bedded in during its first year. Six month restricted licences may still be offered to those boats that aren’t quite meeting the movement requirements to allow them a final opportunity to show an improvement. Boats without a home mooring that are not moving in line with our guidance, despite all the communication they have received, will no longer be offered a licence of any duration. We are continuing our programme of education and communication, which I believe is essential in meeting the needs of both boaters and the Trust, to ensure everyone can enjoy our canals and rivers.
“Our enforcement team, supported by the Trust’s welfare officer Sean Williams, will always approach each case sympathetically. Since 1 May 2015 we’ve granted over 860 extended stays and equality adjustments for boaters without a home mooring. We’d urge any boater running into difficulties to talk to us about their situation as early as possible to explore what temporary solutions we can find.”