Listening to boat owners, Speaking out for boat owners, Representing boat owners.


In the Chair April 2017

‘Bring Out Another Thousand’

NABO Chair Stella Ridgway gets ready for some springtime maintenance

Spring has finally sprung here in the Peak District: the birds are busy building nests; the wild garlic is sprouting; lambs are being born and the ducks and geese are mating loudly. My daffodils opened this week, the sun shone, and for the first time this year we didn’t need to put the engine on to charge the batteries as the solar panels had enough sunlight to charge them. We have noticed an increase in boats passing as folks take their boats out for a weekend cruise or start a spring journey. This is the time of year that the boat gets a good spring clean, although I am still waiting for the mud to dissipate before clearing the floor and scrubbing it. Muddy towpaths and dogs equal a constantly muddy floor and I have been pushing the mud around the floor all winter. We have two Labradors who love swimming, so towels to dry them off are constantly drying, no matter what the weather.

In the Chair February 2017

Home comforts

NABO Chair Stella Ridgway offers some tips for liveaboards

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas. We certainly did, as my eldest daughter surprised me by arriving from New Zealand for an extended visit on Christmas Eve. As you can imagine when you are surprised like that, there were many tears, hugs and laughter plus lots of catching up; online is good, but nothing like physically seeing someone.

In the Chair - Stella Ridgway looks forward

We are all ‘customers’ now

Stella Ridgway looks forward to a better service

As this is my first column as Chair of NABO, I’ll begin with a short background: I live on a narrowboat on the Upper Peak Forest Canal with my husband Chris and two Labradors. My disability prevents us moving at present and we are now on a home mooring. I may not have lived on a boat all my life, but my family spent six weeks on one after they emigrated to New Zealand in the early 1960s, and I spent my teens crewing for friends who had yachts. I didn’t know about my great grandfather until after we had moved aboard, when my Mum told me that he was born on a narrowboat in Middlewich and was a flyboatman with his brothers and father. So, in a sense I have come home to my roots and, even with my illness, we have never once thought about moving back into bricks and mortar. We love this life and the strong community we have among boaters; something that escapes you outside of the towpath and certainly one that CRT still struggles to understand.

Chairman's Column NABO News 5 November 2016

The (mostly) ups and (a few) downs of chairing NABO

Mike Rodd looks back over the last three years.

With our AGM looming, this will – sadly – be my last column as your chairman. When David (gently?) twisted my arm as he held me out over the K&A from the balcony of the pub where the Council had been meeting at Bradford-on-Avon, I (willingly?) agreed to do a three-year stint. I firmly believe that organisations like ours should be continually refreshed, and I am delighted that we have been able to find someone like Stella Ridgway to take over the reins, if she is elected at the AGM. I have so much enjoyed my time in office and it has always been a great privilege to be associated with NABO in this way. Council meetings are a sheer joy to chair, and I could not have wished for more dedicated and thoroughly pleasant and professional colleagues.

Chairman's column, NABO News #4

Focus on the Thames and K&A

Chairman Mike Rodd has some good, and less good, news of these adjoining waterways.

I hope that you have all enjoyed some wonderful summer cruising days and probably now starting your pre-wintering work, getting your boat ready for the colder days ahead. We spent last week replacing the coach-lines on our boat. We’d had a leading national hire-boat company repaint our ‘new’ boat three years ago, when we bought it from the Cambrian Cruisers’ hire fleet. We were very pleased with the job they’d done – well, until the vinyl coach-lines started shrinking and going a nasty brown colour! I then found out from the distributors that the vinyl used was only a ‘3-year’ one, so I guess the deterioration wasn’t entirely surprising, but still not what you’re looking for, given the cost of a paint job!