In response to the recently announced plan by CRT to intensify enforcement action against license violation, the Financial Times published an article about those who live on the waterways, with particular reference to the London Area.  AWCC supports CRT in this enforcement plan and has written a response to the FT giving the Association’s view on the matter as follows:-

“Dear Sir,

I read with interest your article in the Feb 26 edition regarding people living on boats on the inland waterway system. As National Chairman of a large boating organisation – The Association of Waterways Cruising Clubs* – perhaps I might be allowed to comment.

Prior to 1995 a boat used on the waterways was required to have home mooring; a place where that boat could be safely and lawfully kept. It was recognised that another class of licence was needed for those boaters who, largely by retirement or sabbatical, wished to cruise the waterways without a permanent home mooring; the Continuous Cruiser license was added to provide this facility. This proved very successful and attracted a small but enthusiastic group of boaters who added, and continue to add, much to the waterway scene.

The world changes of course, in recent years, and probably fuelled by the lack of affordable housing, the Continuous Cruiser License has been employed by another group who wish to remain largely in one place for their own convenience. This has led to unacceptable overcrowding difficulties and congestion in certain areas, particularly in the conurbations, as well as making it difficult for other boaters to moor or visit as they enjoy the waterways. Many ordinary boaters feel this is an inappropriate use of this type of licence, and an evasion of the costs that they have to pay to moor their boats lawfully at a single location.

Many boaters who hold a Continuous Cruising Licence are happy to abide by the requirements of mooring and movement as understood by the Canal and River Trust; the Trust has stated they have nothing to fear from the enforcement process if they follow the appropriate protocols. The Trust has also stated that should a boater be unsure of what is considered an acceptable pattern of cruising, they should speak to the local Enforcement Officer or local Trust Office for guidance. It would appear that this is an information led initiative aimed at preventing boaters getting into difficulties whilst sending a warning to those who continue to ignore the requirements of the Continuous Cruiser Licence.

The Trust is not a housing authority but recognizes and supports those who wish to make their homes on the waterways. The Trust has recently appointed a Welfare Officer to help those boaters who feel vulnerable or find themselves in difficulty.

There is no doubt that genuine continuous cruisers are a very welcome addition to the waterway community and have wide support from the boating community.

* AWCC represents around one hundred boat clubs across the inland waterway system with a total of seven thousand boating members. AWCC fully supports genuine Continuous Cruisers.”

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South Pennine Boat Club, based in Mirfield, West Yorkshire is staging a ‘Wild West Open Day’ and Boat Rally where local people and visitors can enjoy an afternoon of family fun and entertainment.

The Rally takes place on Saturday, May 2 from 11am until 5pm and will include events aimed at both children and adults alike.

There is to be a children’s fancy dress parade and prizes for boys and girls with the best dressed wild west outfits plus lots of other exciting activities and competitions.

Everyone will have an opportunity to take photographs in the ‘wild west’ photo booth, whilst fully-fledged cowhands will have a chance to test their rodeo skills on an electric bucking-bronco bull.

‘Towns-folk’ can view the inside of a modern narrowboat which are based on the traditional designs of the working boats of the past and enjoy a canal cruise in the Calder Navigation Society’s trip boat ‘Savile’.

Rally Coordinator, Peter Davies explained, “We are inviting visiting boaters and the public alike to come along to enjoy and experience the local waterways at our Club open day.We are expecting a large turnout as past rallies have attracted crowds of over 800 visitors.”

There’ll be plenty of ‘vittles’ too including a sizzling barbecue, plenty of doughnuts, other refreshments, an all-day real ale ‘saloon’ bar plus live music and entertainment too!

And all of this won’t cost a nickel or a dime as admission, car parking and temporary moorings are all free.

For further details and temporary moorings please email or see

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The Canal & River Trust have outlined its plans to provide greater clarity to those boaters who have stated that they will ‘continuously cruise’, but then don’t move their boat far enough or often enough to meet the Trust’s published ‘Guidance for Boaters without a Home Mooring’.


The AWCC welcomes and supports this initiative.

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The Navigation Advisory Group (License and Mooring), along with representatives of boating groups have been discussing with CRT how statistics on enforcement might be presented. There is much resource being directed at the problem although it is sometimes hard to convey this in a presentable form.

To read more about the approach CRT takes to licence enforcement, go to:


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The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has just published their report into the tragic accident on Lake Windemere last April where two people lost their lives to carbon monoxide poisoning. The report makes very sobering reading, and whilst it examines in some detail the reasons for the build up of carbon monoxide in the boat, it also shows how quickly the effects of the gas can take hold, and how easy it is to miss the early warning signs. It is well worth all boaters reading it. The report can be found at:

There are a number of recommendations made in the report, including raising awareness of the dangers of using portable generators on boats, the dangers of DIY installations when dealing with carbon monoxide producing appliances, and the importance of the use of properly maintained CO alarms. The Boat Safety Scheme will be increasing the focus on these aspects in future examinations, and the BSS have welcomed the report – their response can be found at:

The BSS has published “Carbon Monoxide Safety on Boats”, which can be found at:

In addition, the BSS has produced the following Top Tips for staying safe from carbon monoxide:

Ten Essential CO Safety Tips for Boats
Over 30 boaters have died in the last 20 years from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
It is a toxin that replaces the oxygen in the bloodstream, blocking supplies to vital organs. At low concentrations it can cause chronic illness, at higher levels it kills.
This deadly poison gas has multiple potential sources on boats including all fuelburning appliances, flues, chimneys, engines and exhausts.
Staying safe begins with installing all such equipment properly, in the way the maker describes.
Letting maintenance drift, or putting-off repairs is a risk, as is ignoring running instructions. Crew members need to understand the risks and know the danger signs; they must always be watchful.
These are the ten CO essentials that will help keep you and your crew safe:-
1) All the crew should know the symptoms of CO poisoning and how to react if it is suspected
2) Install fuel burning appliances properly, in-line with makers directions
3) Follow servicing guidelines; maintenance should be routine and competent – Don’t allow bodged repairs, adjustments and adaptations
4) Always use appliances as per the instructions and never use cookers for space heating
5) Don’t block ventilation – appliance fuels like gas, coal, wood, oil, paraffin, etc. need sufficient air to burn safely
6) Don’t bring charcoal BBQs on board, or have them near a cabin during or after use – only stone-cold charcoal is safe
7) Keep engine fumes out of the cabin space, never use a portable generator in or near a cabin
8) Learn about the danger signs, spot potential hazards before CO occurs
9) Deal with problems immediately, never use equipment you suspect has problems
10) Install a certified CO alarm (BS EN 50291-2), test it routinely and never remove the batteries
For more tips and advice to help you and your crew stay safe go to

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The views expressed on this website are those of the originators & their editors and may not be those of the AWCC

Copyright © 2014 The Association of Waterways Cruising Clubs. All rights reserved

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