Ken Hylins reports on the meeting on 12th April.
I attended this meeting for the first time with an open mind as to what to expect. There were seven people in the Zoom meeting: Matthew Symonds (Chairing) and Rachel Heywood from CRT, a waterway chaplain and other people with an interest in this matter. The following points were brought up at the meeting:
1. CRT spotters are beginning to assess towpaths and structures with regard to disability access, which will take time to complete. However, there will be a charge to get the final publication. A private boater is travelling the cut assessing the canal as regards disabled access. I raised the possibility of using boating organisations’ feedback to help with this matter.
2. CRT would like people/boaters to send a short video saying what they think is important for their staff to consider when dealing with disabled issues and the consideration needed.
3. All future work carried out by CRT will consider disabled needs.
4. CRT is looking to increase the number of marked disabled moorings.
5. The recent equality questionnaire was considered to be invasive. It was stated that this document is being rewritten for clarity and understanding (well done David Fletcher!).
6. The issue of reduced moorings fees for disabled people was brought up two years ago and CRT was criticised for having taken no action on this matter.
7. It was also stated that CRT has difficulty implementing adjustments on rivers as they often don’t own the land.
8. CRT also said that boaters should get help in getting moorings and support from their local welfare and support officer. I challenged this statement as totally incorrect as there is little or no support on this matter for a boater. Mathew Symonds requested to have a meeting with me to follow up my concerns. In conclusion, I found it of value to be able to find out what is going on and the proposed adjustments being considered. I feel there is also value in this forum in raising issues on behalf of NABO members - the shame effect. I will be attending the next meeting on behalf of NABO, but I have an open mind. It gives us another platform to work on and more contacts to work with.
- CRT’s annual lockage report for 2020
The headline figure, comparing 2020’s lock use with the previous year, is that there was a reduction of almost 33% across 172 comparison sites. In the week before the first lockdown in March, there were some 3,500 weekly lock counts, which fell to fewer than 1,000 during lockdown. From early July, when boaters were able to cruise freely again, lockage numbers soared to more than 12,000 per week and remained at this level for most of the summer, with a peak of 13,700 in mid-August. As in previous years, the twinned Hillmorton Locks 2 and 3 on the North Oxford Canal were the busiest with 5,933 lockages, a drop of 29% on 2019. Next was Cholmondeston Lock on the Shroppie with 5,346 lockages (also down 29%), followed by Woodend Lock on the T & M at 4,450 lockages. The least-used lock was Graving Lock, which links the Shroppie to the River Dee, with 28 lockages for the year. The report can be found at https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/lockages.
Every so often, something happens that brings home the dangers closely associated with our way of life and hobby. Preventing carbon monoxide (CO) accumulation has been in the forefront of the fight to make life on a boat safer, with compulsory CO meters, adequate ventilation and a programme to make boaters more aware of the dangers. The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has just released the findings of an investigation into the deaths of two people on a cruiser in York, which makes sobering reading. The link to the full report is given below and I really would recommend that you read it, but the following is a short synopsis.
The summary from the MAIB is as follows:
‘At about 2000 on 4 December 2019, the bodies of two men were discovered in the cabin of the privately owned motor cruiser, Diversion, which was moored to a quay in the centre of York, England. The bodies were those of the boat owner and his friend, who had spent the previous evening in the city centre socialising with former work colleagues and were spending the night on board. Both men had died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. The carbon monoxide had leaked into the cabin from the boat’s diesel-fuelled cabin heater exhaust.’
Mike Rodd reports on the work of an active NABO Council.
At last – back on our boat for a week – it was wonderful; and good to see the hire fleets starting to operate again. Of course, being based in Wales, we were always slightly out of line with England, but at last the lifting of the two sets of lockdown restrictions overlapped! And with the spring blossoms bursting through, even though a bit chilly still, it was a lovely time to be out on the water.
The NABO Council is busier than ever – everywhere we look, we see matters that need our attention – but thankfully, with a full Council again and with the very energetic new folk joining us, the load is well spread and we are coping – even if our teleconference-based meetings are getting very long.
We wait, of course, with bated breath for CRT’s next version of the proposed new Terms and Conditions for private boat licences. I hope that by the time you read this, we will know where we are, although the report given at the National Users Forum seemed to indicate that there would be few changes – except (to our delight) that the T&Cs would be far more readable! As we (and our lawyers) have consistently said, we are positive about many of the proposed changes. But there are some proposals that we (and again, our lawyers) believe are contrary to the underlying Waterways Act and the T&Cs simply cannot be allowed to create such a conflict. To this end, you will have seen that our colleagues in the NBTA (National Bargees and Travellers Association) are also taking legal advice, and we have agreed to assist them.