The Floater April 2017

Where there's water, there's money

April 2017 - Making money from canals and waterways comes in many shapes and forms – but the property business is a never-failing source of income, as Peter Underwood reports.

Just by being there our waterways are earning the Canal & River Trust around £7.4m every year. That's how much it earns by allowing developers and other land owners to drain surface water into the canals rather than paying to connect drains to the public sewer.

The concept isn't new but it does have a section of the C&RT website devoted to it.

Stuck in a tunnel - for nearly a day

April 2017 - A 20-hour nightmare jammed in a low tunnel was the start of the cruising season for a boat leaving Hawne Basin on the Birmingham Canal Navigations, as Peter Underwood reports.

While making their way towards Netherton, and just after entering Gosty Tunnel the boaters found their boat, suddenly and without warning, stopped dead when it became jammed solid by a large log against the tunnel wall.

Time for a change at RBOA?

April 2017 - Allan Richards has been looking at the dysfunctional recent past of the Residential Boat Owners Association following its decision to abandon continuously cruising liveaboards with a range of less than 200 miles a year.

It was just over two years ago that I documented the resignation of Residential Boat Owners Association (RBOA) Chairman, Jim Owen. Mr Owen's 'crime' appeared to be asking RBOA members what they wanted from the organisation. This led to a falling out with long standing RBOA officials.

Towpath Tally-ho

April 2017 - Huntsman seem to think the rules about horses on towpaths don't apply if you are in hunting pink – Peter Underwood reports.

Horses are banned from most towpaths so when one was apparently invaded several times by the horses and hounds of a hunt – illegally in pursuit of a fox according to anti-hunt protesters – there are serious concerns about public safety.

RBOA abandons CC liveaboards doing less than 200 miles a year

April 2017 - Peter Underwood has decided he needs to issue a public apology to all boaters he encouraged to join the Residential Boat Owners’ Association.

For the past 15 years I have been a member of, and actively recruited other liveaboard boaters to join, the Residential Boat Owners Association (RBOA). I am now sorry that I did so and will be resigning my membership and encouraging others to do so.

One third of Continuous Cruisers threatened

April 2017 - According to the National Bargee Travellers Association one in three continuously cruising boats have been threatened with the loss of their licence by the Canal & River Trust since it arbitrarily changed its Terms and Conditions in May 2015, writes Peter Underwood.

What do you think of it so far? Rubbish!

April 2017 - C&RT's campaign against dumping rubbish in the canals has been a little low-profile to date and its ability to clean the multitude of junk from under the water somewhat patchy and dependent on volunteers.

It makes a new effort to raise public awareness each year just after the stoppage season when it has harvested a new collection of pictures of discarded junk but this year, perhaps because of a small government anti-litter campaign, it seems to be making better inroads into public consciousness, particularly in city areas.

CRT's Boats In Bloom Awards

April 2017 - Ideas that unite boaters and other waterways users and initiatives that present an opportunity to improve navigation are welcomed by boaters – and two new public relations initiatives by the Canal & River Trust deserve a cheer or two, according to Peter Underwood.

It may be a pure PR stunt, but it does have the potential to give towpath users a better appreciation of boaters and boaters the rare chance to feel valued.

C&RT's Boat in Bloom awards offer both instant gratification and the chance to build long-term appreciation.

Pontcysllte death report rejected

April 2017 - The tragic death of a teenager at the world heritage Pontcysyllte Aqueduct continues to trouble the Canal & River Trust and Allan Richards reports that the Coroner rejects C&RT's 'independent' report on the incident.

The North East Wales and Central Coroner, John Gittins has again adjourned an inquest into the death of 18-year-old Kris Mcdowell who fell to his death from Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in the early hours of May 31 last year when a railing he was holding onto gave way.

New orchard planted along Macclesfield Canal

April 2017 - By Peter Underwood

In the Peak District the Trust has been using volunteers to plant a small orchard on the banks of the Macclesfield Canal, planting 20 semi-mature fruit trees, just south of Macclesfield town, below Sutton Reservoir.

A number of varieties have been planted, including apples, plums, pears and cherries, to create a linear orchard. The Trust was helped in the project by students from Stoke College and members of the Lyme & Sutton Canal Adoption Group, Victoria Anglers, Bosley Locks Adoption Group and the Macclesfield Canal Society.

More moorings for London

April 2017 - By Peter Underwood

As part of our news service The Floater likes to keep boaters abreast of the things the Canal & River Trust wants them to know. This time we have one urban and one rural press release for your information.

The Trust claims it has been making boating better in London over the past year and cites 'many improvements in 2016/17 includes new mooring rings and facilities, dredging, additional rubbish bins and collection, and the creation of new long-term moorings.'

Childhood boat memories called Rona back

April 2017 - By Peter Underwood

A childhood on boats brought Rona Hawes back to the canals and a business using her experience and skills in jewellery – and so far it seems to meeting her the expectations of her memories.

Rona Hawes, 61, lives on 'Unfazed' a 10ft x 60ft wide beam boat with her partner Alan Price, 57 and she says: “I'm the maker and he is the enabler!

We asked to to talk about what led to her boating business:

Mooring ban at historic site

April 2017 - The moorings at the top of Tardebigge lock flight on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal is one of the key spots on the system – it was where waterway revival champions Tom Rolt and Robert Aickman met in 1945 and the IWA began – but boats can no longer moor on the spot as Peter Underwood reports.

A word of warning about boat renting

April 2017 - Following the sinking of a boat that was being rented out, apparently through a shared ownership deal, in London, Peter Underwood looks at the growing pressure on the Canal & River Trust to take action.

Heather Deakin and her boyfriend were on a narrowboat, Midnight Diamond, on the River Lea south of Tottenham Lock when the vessel started to take in water. Within minutes it tipped over and was almost completely submerged, and Heather Deakin, 34, a student at the College of Naturopathic Medicine, lost most of her possessions.

Lies, damned lies and C&RT excuses ...

April 2017 - Unfortunately the Canal & River Trust seems to have difficulty with the telling “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” as is demanded of court witnesses and Allan Richards has been examining its claim that boaters have been telling the Trust that the current licence system is “complex and out of date.”


April 2017 - A few weeks ago Allan Richards compared management costs of the National Trust and the Canal & River Trust and we asked Floater readers Does the Canal & River Trust have too many highly paid directors?

Hundreds of boaters responded and more than 95 per cent said that they believed there were too many highly paid bosses in C&RT, less than five per cent of respondents disagreed.

Boater splits on CC and wide beam licence options

April 2017 - Back at the start of February, when the Canal & River Trust announced it was reviewing licences and claiming that boaters wanted changes, The Floater launched a survey to ask what changes boaters wanted to see. Peter Underwood reports on the results, just in.

Canal & River Trust’s attempt to change the way boats are licensed is already provoking disputes between the charity and various boating groups.​

Bargee Travellers occupy controversial moorings

April 2017 - The National Bargee Travellers Association is fast becoming the most outspoken and publicly visible boaters' organisation, especially in London where it has just moved into direct, peaceful action against the plans of the Canal & River Trust, Peter Underwood reports.

C&RT licence - boaters in conflict

April 2017 - Many boaters are concerned that the current review of boat licensing by the Canal & River Trust is unnecessary and an excuse to impose further restrictions and higher charges on some types of boater. Peter Underwood has been looking at two disparate views

Like C&RT, the Inland Waterways Association believes that changes are needed to its boat licensing system that 'would allow it to focus resources and give boaters a fairer deal'.

It echoes C&RT's unsubstantiated claim that boat owners see it as 'complex, out of date and inequitable'.

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