Some of NABO's work on behalf of boaters!

Much of what we achieve goes unseen by the waterways community, even boaters and our own membership, because it goes on behind the scenes. It is often not about winning or loosing but about maintaining a long term relationship with navigation autorities and refreshing the knowledge of what is going on. It is from this strength that we can campaign and respond to individual events or wider consultations.

However, there are certain areas in which we have been instrumental in affecting the waterways world.

If you scan the website you will see some of these achievements. In this section we list some of the successes since our inception.

Vice Chair mark has been writing a monthly column in 2018 for Towpath Talk. The item appears normally on the inside of the back page of the paper typically if 5-600 words. He has been responsible for the subject matter and keeps it topical focussing on the views of boaters he has met and NABO members. He aims to be constructive and thought provoking. Sometimes it is necessary to be critical of CRTs actions but where possible, alternative policy options are suggested . Topics often reflect those that appear in NABO’s Facebook page and other boating related social media. Areas covered over the year have been broad ranging from , dredging, visitor moorings, friends and volunteers, funding , enforcement, stoppages ,licensing, infrastructure, attracting new boaters. Hopefully following NABOs aim which is to be a critical friend of CRT.

NABO is an active member of this informal forum which brings together organisations with navigational interests, with meetings often having invited representatives of waterways authorities.

NINF members include AWCC, BM, CBOA, GOBA, RBOA, IWA, TBA and DBA. Meetings ensure regular dialogue between these organisations and especially those concerned with waterways covered by CRT and the EA.

Over the past year (2018) much discussion has revolved around the possible inclusion of EA's navigational responsibilities into CRT - NABO is one of the few organisations which has expressed concerns about this, feeling that CRT has yet to prove that it can effectively cope with its current responsibilities!

NABO is committed to work together with other waterways representive groups, recognising their expertise in specialist areas, but maintaining our own independence.

The Middle Level Commissioners, the land drainage authority for over 120 miles of The Fens waterways, have been working to change the laws under which they operate, effectively to ensure that in future all boaters will have to pay a licence fee, have a BSS certificate and are insured. The original bye laws date back to 1875.

When debated by the House of Lords, NABO publically supported the Bill in principle but felt strongly that there should be the provision for an agreed minimum level of facilities and visitor moorings.

NABO was most pleased that this commitment has been accepted in full, see this letter of undertaking.

The draft of new bye laws supplied to us in October 18 is here.

The Middle Level web pages are here

CRT operate a number of important "advisory groups" covering a range of different areas from freight and navigation to volunteering and heritage. These are committees set up to provide a consultation body for CRT discuss proposals, policy and performance. For boaters the "Navigation Advisory Groups" or NAGs are the relevant committee.

NAG comprises boaters with a variety of backgrounds to bring as broad a range of perspectives as possible to decision making. These representative are appointed in their own right, and not as orgaisational representatives. Never the less they are expected, where available, to bring the wider knowledge of boating organisations to the meeting.

There are two parts to NAG, and a NABO Council member is appointed to both parts.

NABO campaigns extensively on mooring strategies. This is a significant issue, and is guaranteed to gather wide views, regardless of boating patterns. Everybody wants a good safe mooring near that pub, shop, car park or remote spot in the country. Towns, villages and canalside venues want visitor moorings so that customers can come and go. And they also want enough boats to provide a destination venue for non boating visitors. Liveaboards want moorings near to service, amenity and transport links. And nobody wants long lines of boat to pass at tickover. So not an easy issue.

NABO recently overturned most of the SE moorings strategy because it was not evidence based. The restrictions proposed were based on complaints by a few, and these did not stand up to challenge. CRT had failed to record available space on visitor moorings. NABO established that the proposals were unnecessary.

To keep up with all this NABO has a mooring officer Mark, also vice Chairman at the moment and NAG member.