Victor: Our cities next?

Published: Sunday, 12 May 2019

THE news that Amsterdam intends to ban all diesel and petrol powered boats from its waters is having a worrying effect particularly on London boaters.

AmsterdamOkay, so it is not before 2025, but I have been told boat builders in Holland are in a quandary as what power propulsion to use in new builds, knowing that those with diesel or petrol engines will only have a six years life if used in Amsterdam.

As to Britain, the London Mayor has already issued warnings concerning the pollution from boats in and around the capital, and other cities with such pollution in their sights cannot surely be far behind. so how long before it happens here?

As the picture shows, the waterways in that city are crowded, not only with trip boats but those moored bow to stern both side of its many canals, hence the pollution and the effort to get rid of it.

In Amsterdam, the ban is proposed to be the waterways within its ring road, that means a radius of 10kms from the city centre, and will include all such powered boats whether the many trip boats, so loved of visitors to the city, or private boats of which there are many. As far as we are concerned it will be a waiting game...

The good old days

Okay, we can assume that with fairly simple tasks there is now a 'wait until it breaks then mend it' policy in force as regards fairly simple stoppages.

farmersemptyBut depending on the part of the day the fault is found—usually in the morning, it is still the following day that any repair is undertaken and the day after when the stoppage is lifted that means boats can be held up for two days.

This will be a huge chunk out of a hire boaters holiday, put the whole cruise out of sync and cause endless worry.

Quick response

It was way back in 2003—that have been well proved to be 'the good old days' under British Waterwaysthat we were stopped at Farmer's Flight in Birmingham by a stuck gate that emptied the pound above, that needed expert attention, as shown in the picture.

A telephone call brought us not one, or even two, but three workers within the hour and very soon the stoppage was fixed, and we were on our merry way.

three lockiesThe picture shows the three workers, with Jan watching the pound slowly fill.

How different today. The 'good old days' indeed.

Less narrowboats?

Time and time again boaters tell us there are fewer boats moving on the waterways, as our last couple of cruises confirmed, yet CaRT keep telling of the increase in the number of boats on its waters year upon year.

Seeing how our own marina is now around three quarters full of plastic cruisers, it being on a river, I wonder if with other marinas also on rivers such as the Trent, Soar, Severn and the like, the number concerns the obvious increase of the cheaper plastic jobs—that are not all that often seen on the canalswhilst the number of narrowboats is actually falling...

The problem for CaRT however is that they bring in nowhere near the the amount of licence fees of narrowboats.

Victor Swift