Tuesday, 17 November 2015

And again, Give up!

I see once again marina bound myopia has been switched on. Mr Gary Edwards says in  the November edition of Canal Boat Magazine that the solution to the CCer ‘problem’ is to have a higher licence fee. "Why not introduce a continuous cruiser license fee? It would seem legitimate to me that those who are continuously cruising the system would cause more maintenance and, therefore, thier use of the system should cost them more in license fees.”

“Perhaps the extra fees would be similar to the cost of a permanent mooring; this may encourage more continuous cruisers to find an approved mooring"

Now I remember this being put forward in 2004/5. The proposal then was to increase the CCer licence to 247% of the ‘normal’ licence. I and others fought very hard writing to all and sundry to stop this preposterous proposition. Now 10 years later Mr Gary Edwards drags it all up again. Does he think we have nothing better to do with our time then to fight this battle all over again? There is no CCer problem. The problem exists in the marinas. People who park up for most of the year in a horizontal block of flats. People who don’t put anything into the system. People who will call CRT to fix something they could fix themselves. People who spend their lives polishing a possession instead of getting out there and using it.

I wonder how many trees Mr Edwards has reported down. More to the point I wonder how many he has helped to remove. How many shopping trolleys has he removed from the cut? Has he ever picked up a discarded porta potti. When he moors up does he ever pick up the litter near his mooring, probably not. When he goes down the weed hatch does he take the propfoul with him or does he just discard it on the towpath like most marina myopics do. When was the last time he did something that needed doing because it seemed like a good thing to do rather than leave it to someone else because “it’s not my job.”

Apart from regular tools I have a long pole net, shears, loppers pruning cutters, pruning saw, log saw, spade, broom, litter pickers and all are used regularly. I have lost count of the times I have called CRT to report a problem and I will stay to help if I can. Shopping trolleys 3 or 4 a year, about 60 cones in 5 years and I average about three tons of rubbish every year, not to mention the 8 porta potties I have collected since 2011. My second step houses some big spanners so I can tighten and adjust mechanisms if required. I trim back over hanging trees and bushes, clear by-washes if I can.

Let me ask Mr ‘problem’ what he is prepared to pay me and others like me to keep the canals clear so he can enjoy his two weeks and odd weekends. Personally I think I am worth £20k a year plus expenses (I pay for all my tools and bin bags myself). However if I was to be paid it would be by an increase in HIS licence fee! I think CRT & MR Edwards are getting good value from my licence fee. “Me, me, me, me, me,” that’s all Mr Myopia is saying. “I want, I want, I want;” well let me tell you, you can’t have it!

My income is not great, adequate would best describe it. However 80% of my income goes into the the waterway economy, other CCers do similar. Does Mr Edwards think that all the pub and shops would survive if that money wasn’t put into the local economy? Some might but many wouldn’t.

Understand this Mr Myopia we all pay the same price for the same access to the same system. It is not us that are using it more, but you who are using it less. Campaign for lower fees for marina moorers and see how far you get, just leave us out of it. If all boating means to you is trying to screw up other boaters then you need to find something productive to do with your time, I understand ISIS are recruiting!

I will never be encouraged to be in a marina. I don't want to be stuck in a marina. I bought my boat to travel. I can do precious little travelling in a marina. So why would I pay for a permanent mooring if I was never going to use it. The CCer is a legal entity laid down in the 1995 Act. By all means campaign to change the law, but be careful what you wish for. The new law may well be nothing like you want.


A Heron's View said...

Well said Maffi the Self First brigade are a pain in the ass all over the world.

Malcolm Thomas said...

I think we all pay too much. If CRT enforced the licensing rules properly, caught the non-payers and overstayers we ought to get a reduction in the licence fee.
Now that boaters print their own licences, the system is open to even more abuse. I bet the Enforcement Officers don't bother to check boats displaying the new licence to ensure they're not forged.
Every month a CRT man in a CRT van walks round our marina checking licences and this month there were two men!
It's a condition of the mooring agreement to have a current licence as well as insurance and a BSC so they only need to go to the marina office to find out if any boats are unlicenced. They don't even have to visit, it could be done by email!
I spent most of May on the South Oxford Canal and lost count of the number of expired licences and unlicensed boats I saw. My last trip down there was three years ago and they are the same boats in the same locations.
I spoke to Richard Parry shortly afterwards and told him that if CRT claims that only 3% of boats are unlicensed I must have seen all of them! He assured me that 'they'll be on someone's radar, even if they're in a remote location.'
I was in Braunston last week and there are two unlicensed boats moored close to the ladder bridge over the marina entrance, they've been there as long as I can remember and appear to be abandoned.
I have been to Long Itchington for the past five years and the same boats are in the same places, either with no licences displayed or displaying out of date licences.
A moorer was evicted in June, moored his boat under the bridge adjacent to the marina (you'll have passed it when you came by) and only moved it last weekend. So WTF has the local enforcement officer been doing?

Maffi said...

A boat without a licence or with an out of date licence isn't necessarily unlicensed. You may remember CRT were thinking of going the way of DVLA and not issuing a licence at all. Well they couldn't make up their mind and everyone you spoke to in CRT told a different story. People were confused . I know I was told three different thing by three different people. It has always been possible to forge the licence. If you have a computer you can forge most stuff these days I once became a senior NVQ inspector in a day. It is not hard. What is hard is to get the CRT machine to recognise the detailed of the forged licence.

I haven't done that section of the Canal this year.

There are boats about that I remember from a previous visit but who is to say they never move?

If you came to Brum in January you would have seen me moored by the NIA I am currently there, but I have done about 800 miles in between. If I haven't been clocked there is nothing to say I moved.

It is easy not to be clocked. CRT were looking for an unlicensed boat last year that spent three weeks at least moored right opposite their offices at Fazeley.

Having been a very regular boater on the Oxford for a number of years I cant say that there are boats that do not move. Many of the 'moorers' have been lifted out.