Monday, 26 August 2013

Easy Target

There is quite a furore going on at the moment. No, not the old chestnut about the pros and cons of cassette over pump-out toilet system. That argument was settled a long time ago. The overwhelming evidence points to a macerator pump out as being the best option. The updated version of 'bucket and chuck it' that is a cassette is so old school and has been consigned to canal history. 

However, in this instance the furore is one that has been fabricated about people overstaying on visitor moorings. Now I am a bit philosophical. I don't make the common assumption that everyone on a visitor mooring has overstayed. I have no idea at all if that is the case on arrival. Because we are out on our boat and away from our home territory. Unless I want to overstay on a mooring to monitor the comings and goings which would defeat the object. There is no way that I am going to actually know. So I make the assumption that it was just a bit of bad luck and I can either move on or ask someone if I can breast up to their boat.

With the best will in the world, there are other problems that need to be sorted out first. How many times have you come to a mooring to find boats not sharing mooring rings. This poor practice is leaving what was described as 'privacy gaps'. There is this notion bandied about of being a 'considerate' boater. But I have had boaters on visitor moorings refuse to move their boats closer and close up the 'privacy gap' to allow me enough space to moor. I have had people refuse to let me breast up when I have asked. In that instance, I don't have an axe to grind. Some people just do not like people walking across their front or back decks. 

So what will the Canal and River Trust do to educate boaters on a more friendly etiquette. If boats around me move on and my boat becomes isolated in a gap, I will move the boat to make a single larger space. I will always share a ring. I offer to let other boats breast up alongside. I get taken up on the offer, about 50% of the time. But I don't wait to be asked I always offer.

Here the angler dries his keepnet on the no fishing notice.
Yet at the same time there is another huge elephant in the room that I have come across many many times. But not only on visitor moorings, but on lock landings and water points. I have been greeted with shouts and arm waving, I have had threats to break my boat windows and other kinds of abuse such as maggots and ground-bait thrown at the boat. I don't see or know of any meaningful consultation taking place to address the issue. I don't see any suggestions such as on the spot £25 fines being levied against the miscreants. In this case the whole of a landing can be 'off limits' to boaters from early morning to late in the evening.

A second angler dries his net.

This huge elephant is totally ignored by the Canal and River Trust. There is none so blind as those that will not see. The reason for this 'wilful blindness' is because your boat has a name and number. You can hardly pick up your boat and walk away. Fishermen can pack up their tackle and move on in no time at all. In other words boat owners are a soft and easy target.  A rich source of incidental pickings for fines and charges. 

Canal and River Trust North East Head Quarters
Fearns Wharf Neptune Street Leeds
So by way of example, the two fishermen in my example above are located on a river pontoon. The pontoon is clearly marked - No Fishing - and is located outside the offices of the Canal and River Trust at Fearns Wharf Leeds. A place where CaRT staff are walking by all day long. No enforcement here - well not unless you overstay on the pontoon. That'll be £25 please, kerching!

CaRT is putting you in your place and setting the ground rules. Even the name of the staff has been chosen well. What message does 'enforcement' carry. No doubt someone somewhere will be used to make an example. Just to make all the others sit up and take notice.

Dear Mr Smith.

I am sorry to have to inform you that you were observed by our 'enforcement team' to break the CaRT bylaws last year. The first offence was for overstaying by an hour on a six hour visitor mooring. The second offence was for overstaying on a water point by twenty minutes. The third offence was for failing to comply with the terms and conditions of your boat licence. On two occasions you failed to move the required distance for a progressive journey within seven days. On one occasion you were noted to cause a disturbance for a group of fishermen on a lock landing. Causing them to have to remonstrate with you.
Our automatic allocation of costs in pursuit of our fines have already been withdrawn from your bank account under the direct debit mandate created to collect payment for your boat licence. 
Under our compliance totting up procedure the canal and river trust is unable to issue a boat licence this year. I hereby enclose a 28 day notice to remove your boat from the trusts waterways. Here is a list of local councils where you can apply for emergency accommodation for you and your family. 
Have a nice day!

1 comment:

  1. Two fishermen on pre bridge moorings at Hancock lane L&L canal which two CRT people operate .where fishermen moved on or asked to move their keep nets NO this caused me to pick up a load of polythene around prop when I drifted close to weeds.M. Evardson.


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