It has been a part of the boating landscape for more years than I have been a boater and will be for many years after I shuffle off this mortal coil. The Canal and River Trust (CRT) and British Waterways (BW) before them have always been telling Continuous Cruisers that they don't travel far enough and then will not say how far is ‘enough' when asked. The 1995 ACT says move every 14 days, it does not specify a particular distance or movement pattern.
Let’s be serious about this, a proper Continuous Cruiser is just that Continuous and a Cruiser. They/We 1. Have a passion for the canals. 2. Desire to see it all. They/we have no great interest in staying in one place too long. Once you have explored the visitor attraction and spent a night in the pub at one location there is another one in front of you so off you go.
Often the ‘attraction’ we want to see is not necessarily a ‘listed’ visitor attraction. It might be an old fort, an abandoned village, a ridge and furrow field or just maybe walking in some ancient woodland, a visit to a local pub, a museum, spend time with friends, there’s endless possibilities. We abide by the time restrictions laid down by the 1995 Act of 14 days, but rarely stay that long. If due to illness we need to stay longer we contact CRT to make sure its OK. Whilst we are out and about we report to CRT any problems we find such as fallen trees, landslides, damaged locks etc. And when we come across a boat adrift we tie it up and make sure it is secure. We are the eyes of CRT, they said so not me. So not only do we have a very special life, but we are useful to the boating community as a whole.
There is an official ‘Guidance for boats without a home mooring’ which no one likes. Words like area, place, and neighbourhood are a bone of contention.Terms such as ‘bona fide’ and navigation also cause confusion. Some CCers, especially in London have constantly asked for clarification on what exactly these mean and how far they have to move. In the Guidance CRT go to some lengths to explain the meanings of words that might be contentious. Such as the exact number of the six definitions of a particular word in the shorter Oxford Dictionary. To try to address this CRT tried to offer up a map of what it considered answered some of the questions. It was rejected out of hand as being unworkable.
There are those who cannot abide by the rules for which they sign. The reasons are various, but generally tend to rotate around schooling, working, engine problems! Only one of these three has any validity for a CCer. They seem to spend their life organising their next move. And at times move from one side of a bridge to the other to avoid getting a ticket. Continuous Avoiders would be a better title for them.
Mr Richard Parry the CEO of CRT has agreed that the Trust should develop a clear response to the question, ‘How far should I travel to comply?' He has received representations from the AWCC & IWA that CCers should be required to move a minimum of 500 miles a year. This is a rather draconian proposal that seeks to make it difficult for people, who’s lifestyle they don’t like, to stay on the water. I can’t help but think that whilst this is doable we will be in a position of servility to the CRT. Always filling our day cruising to comply with the target (boating is supposed to be a leisure activity). Never stopping long enough to take in the scenery or visit a landmark, or moor for a few days to catch a train to visit family/friends/doctors/hospital. The ‘CCers’ in London, (some of whom think in terms of cruising in boat lengths) could never comply with this and would be forced off the water in a heartbeat which, I suspect is the plan.
I don’t understand the AWCC/IWA’s thinking. They always complain that when they go out on their annual summer trip there are never any vacant visitor moorings. Well this is very true and there is a plausible answer. When Mr Annual Boater takes to the water for his two week sojourn so do 10,000 of his comrades. So it is not the CCers who are hogging all the Visitor moorings but other visitors! Though most would not admit it I suspect there is an element of jealousy in that we are ‘living the dream’ and they so often can’t. It does take a lot of courage to take the step to move on board and some people don’t have this courage.