Tuesday 24 September 2013

Association of Constant Cruisers

Well for the past few months there has been a great deal of speculation on Canal World Forum about the best way for boaters who are not aligned with any particular group or association. Initial euphoria turned to despondency and reverted into a heated debate with even managers within the Canal and River Trust joining in the melee. 

Canal World Forum I have found to my cost is not the place to find a concise opinion. Predictably, the way forward has been seen by those leading the debate to be the formation of yet another association. However, the revelation of the new association has been the match used to light another small scale conflagration. But eventually the smoke and flames will disappear and common sense will prevail once again. 

I have often said that the IWA was not for me because it is too broad a church in trying to represent all waterways users. There are other associations in existence which already fill the niche roles such as cycling angling, rambling and boating. Other associations one of which I am a member have formulated their articles of association to address a specific area of interest within the wider sphere of the inland waterways and its differing users.

Association of Constant Cruisers.

The new association has not yet fledged, I believe its articles of association have not been signed off and are still to be published. There are already some statements around the remit being specifically to represent boaters without a home mooring. However, the remit has been further refined to allow membership only from boaters who are also seen to be compliant with the bye laws applicable to boaters without a home mooring. How the test of being compliant is to be applied has not been divulged.

For me the compliance and noncompliance lies in the remit of the Canal and River Trust who can take to court a non compliant boater without a home mooring. Now I can see some difficulties for the association in identifying compliant and noncompliant boaters without a home mooring. I can see difficulties if a previously compliant boater in good standing then becomes identified as being non compliant boater but still in good standing. Rather than being a full member, the person them becomes an associate member with certain loss of representation.

Whilst we have spent up to eight months of the year cruising we also have a home mooring where our boat is stored when we are not cruising. In this instance as we have a home mooring we could not be a member in full standing. Yet, another boater who does not have a home mooring could choose to take on a winter mooring whilst at the same time being a member in good standing. This anomaly and there are many others like it, will cause confusion, distrust, jealousy and deep divisions. There are a whole raft of similar anomalies the outcome of which may not be to the benefit of anyone.

My personal preference would be to simplify the whole remit. If you have ticked the box on your licence application for not having a home mooring them you should be automatically made a member upon application and the payment of the appropriate fee. Other boat owners who have a home mooring could automatically be ascribed as an associate member. 

Whilst there is the possibility of the association becoming a clique. Complete with stringent vetting that would be an open invitation to spy on each other. An encouragement and invitation for reporting one another. Maybe giving some the chance to wage a personal vendetta. Then its not for me as a full or associate member.

However, I know that the individuals who make up founding members have given both time and money in creating the Association of Constant Cruisers. I applaud what they have attempted to achieve. I sincerely hope that their endeavours will prove to be worthwhile in the fullness of time. If I have trodden on toes and bruised egos that was not my intention.

Stop Press: The ACC website is now live - http://associationofcontinuouscruisers.org.uk

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mike,

    The ACC website is now live - http://associationofcontinuouscruisers.org.uk could you please have a look and let us know if you have any thoughts.


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