The three Rs

- Rebranding, reorganisation and reactions

Editor, Peter Fellows, takes the collective pulse of boaters after the latest changes by CRT.

CRT rebranding continues to provoke reactions, with many questioning why signs that are only read by boaters were changed within days of the relaunch ‒ most boaters know what CRT is. Why not focus the marketing effort on the claimed 90% of people who apparently don’t know that CRT is the authority that manages their nearby waterway? (And also work towards changing the attitudes of some of these people so that they see canals as a resource, rather than a convenient dump for the detritus they no longer want). It would seem that someone in Government must have given CRT the nod that ‘health and wellbeing’ is where the money lies in future. If this is not the case, the change in focus is a huge gamble. Peter Underwood from ‘The Floater’ believes there is another way to fund the Trust and I have included a recent editorial explaining his view. I have also included a letter to boaters from Richard Parry on the rebranding, together with a response from Stella Ridgway and a selection of comments from boaters on social media. There is also a justification for the new logo from its designer. Elsewhere, David Fletcher explains what we need members to do in the light of the new General Data Protection Regulation, together with an update on changes to the way that NABO communicates with its membership.

As part of CRT’s change in focus, it has appointed new directors for the (now) six regions and I have summarised their backgrounds and waterway experience. I have also included the other staff changes that have recently been implemented, as well as the appointment of four of the six chairs to the new Regional Advisory Boards, again noting their waterway experience. Mark Tizard monitors social media daily and has reported on yet more problems faced by boaters and pedestrians, caused by speeding cyclists on towpaths. I have also received a letter on the same subject. It is OK for CRT to encourage more people to use the towpaths, but not if their ‘health and wellbeing’ is compromised by these selfish louts who think they own them.

Following the claimed ‘revenue-neutral’ licensing review, Alison Tuck has crunched the numbers and concluded that, not only will the cost of licences increase for the vast majority of boaters over the next few years, but CRT will generate an estimated extra £2M from boat licence fees ‒ hardly making the canals ‘free for everyone to use and enjoy’ as CRT Chair, Allan Leighton, has written.

Howard Anguish and Mike Rodd report on news from their respective regions and Howard also looks back at NABO News from 15 years ago. Techies’ Corner has an article by Keith Thompson on how he is developing his love of boats into a new career, following his restoration of a rare Dowty Turbo-craft jet-boat.

NABO Council is taking a break for the summer while its members get afloat and it will meet again in September at Tamworth Cruising Club, where you are very welcome ‒ indeed, you may have already attended the club’s boaters’ weekend in August. Enjoy whatever time you have on the waterways this summer.