Boaters beware - more fines planned

May 2017 - Boaters tempted to take a chance on an empty mooring should beware – the Canal & River Trust is planning to fine you. Peter Underwood reports.

Some boaters paying mooring fees to the Canal & River Trust have received a letter telling them of plans for a £75 a day fine if they overstay after terminating their mooring agreement.

It will also apply to a boater who moors on C&RT long term moorings, even though there may be an empty spot.

The Trust carefully refers to the penalty as a 'charge' much as it does with it's overstaying fines of £25 a day on some visitor moorings. This is because the Trust does not have legal powers to issue or collect fines and it may be significant that it has confirmed that it has not once taken to court any boater refusing to pay an overstaying charge on a visitor mooring.

The charge is legally doubtful and it seems that C&RT is currently carefully avoiding being told by the courts that its charge is, in fact, a fine, and that they can't impose it on anyone.

However, that has not prevented C&RT from instituting a three-month trail (from June) applying to long term Waterside Mooring moorings, rather than visitor moorings.

It’s being trailed, apparently with clear signage, at some sites in London and the South East and the East Midlands waterways.

C&RT says the reason for the charges are the inconvenience for cruising boats who return to their mooring to find someone else there, although it doesn't say there has been any rush of complaints from moorers about the problem.

The Trust PR said: “In this respect I guess it’s no different from returning to your marina berth to find it taken by someone else.”

The letter says that a boat moored without authorisation will be given a warning notice – giving them two days to move it before a fine is incurred.

Photo: An official communicating with a boat on the Environmental Agency controlled Thames navigation.

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