'Up to 30 boats in danger of sinking' on K&A

Published: Wednesday, 10 October 2018

A RESIDENT boater believes that 'up to 30 boats' moored on the Kennet & Avon Canal are in danger of sinking.

Phil Young, resident in Water Reed narrowboat for the past 17 years at Bradford-on-Avon, told the Wiltshire Times that up to 30 boats moored on the Kennet & Avon Canal between Bath and Devizes are in such poor condition that they are in danger of sinking as their owners cannot afford to maintain them.

Single men on state benefits

The narrowboats are owned by people living on low incomes so cannot afford the cost of repairs, with many single men on state benefits.  It is known that many have no Boat Safety Certificate and no insurance.

Attempting to assist these boaters, Phil has formed a 'Floaty Boat Fund' to help these members of the boating community that are in need, and hopes to raise around £30,000 to use to help them make their boats more water worthy, by undertaking urgent repairs, explaining:

“I estimate that about 20 to 30 boaters are in need of help between Bath and Devizes. Their boats are in imminent danger of sinking.

“We’d like to raise around £30,000 to enable the boating community to patch up those boats that are in immediate danger of sinking.”

Providing support

Wiltshire Council’s Area Board, together with The Hub in Bradford-on-Avon and local churches, are providing support.

This is the result of requests from boaters on the Kennet & Avon Canal for financial support, that has resulted in local churches collecting for boaters in need and The Hub has provided food parcels and hot lunches for some boaters, and given debt advice.

Already sunk

We reported that one of these boats was sunk at Bradford-on-Avon recently by two speeding hire boats, that would not have happened had the boat been in good repair.