Thursday, 9 April 2015

In Memorium

WITH AMAZING longevity the continuing angst and distrust amongst boaters has not abated. Which first started with BW and has continued to dog the faltering steps of  CaRT. There seems to be no solution to the continuing underspend on much needed maintenance and the resulting growth in the maintenance black hole.  However, is the maintenance issue blinding everyone to another equally serious concern. Are the Inland Waterways sleepwalking into a whole new phase of problems.

Delayed Retirement.
As the retirement age gets postponed, through the government intervention. Now retirement is fast becoming almost open ended. Moving ever further away from the old 65 year finishing line. With retirement now on something of a sliding scale - until some notional date, later in life. The problem is that as we live longer, good health does not necessarily come with the additional life span. As the deep biting financial downturn and the end of many final salary retirement schemes bring some additional pressures. I am sure that for many, a serious rethink of their long term retirement plans afloat will be on the books.

The latest edition (spring 2015) of 'Alert' the magazine of the AWCC. Contains what could be thought of as the first obituary to the life afloat on the inland waterways. 'Lathome Marine Cruising Association has been wound up after 40 years, caused by the ageing membership of the club and the same few volunteers running the club. I am sure we can identify with the issue of very few second generation boaters around.' Bryan Pollard AWCC

As the numbers of boat owners choosing to move from having a 'home mooring' to the 'Constant Cruising' option. Mainly because of tight budgets and the high fees charged for a marina berth. Thereby also depleting
the number of boats in the various marinas.   But its not only marinas - boating clubs are also begining to feel the pressure and reflect the changes through reductions in membership numbers.  Which can only be seen as a portent to their ultimate demise. Plus the very worrying issue of an almost complete lack of second generation boaters. 

The beginning of the end.
Allied to this is CaRT's apparent need to try to drive those boaters without a home mooring into the marinas. As the continued tinkering with the guidance for boats without a home mooring is obviously intended to be the cudgel of choice to get its own ends. I ask the rhetorical question. 'Is retirement to live on a boat while cruising the inland waterways - beginning to become a relic of the past?'
Will the last one off the cut - turn out the light!

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