Will 'Inappropriate Mooring' be done properly and fairly?

Published: Monday, 10 February 2020

RE THE announcement that CaRT are to bring in penalties for inappropriate mooring.  A good idea you might say?  Yes, it seems so and if it was done properly and fairly it would be, writes John Coxon.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against stopping inappropriate mooring but I think before we start to rejoice about the actions being taken by CaRT on this I think we need to ask ourselves why and what is the ulterior motive behind it?  CaRT are not known for doing anything that benefits boaters in general.  So one has to ask why all of a sudden they appear to be helping us by stopping boats from mooring where they should not?

Who will be responsible?

Firstly, who is going to be responsible for reporting inappropriate mooring?  The general public i.e. those 'do gooders' who can't wait to report even the slightest mis-demeanor, or overstay etc?  Boat checkers?  But they will only see a boat every one or two weeks on average so they'll miss most occasions.  Other boaters?  Well that's one possibility but not very efficient as most boaters will not generally report on other boaters.

How are they going to determine where is inappropriate?  More importantly, who is going to determine where is inappropriate?  Water points and lock landings etc. are obvious enough but how far away from a bridge etc. is far enough?  The same distance is not always appropriate as some bridges are more 'blind' or wider than others!  Also there are a lot of visitor moorings right next to bridges are these to be removed?

When does a curve become a bend?

An important question is 'what will be deemed a bend'?  Or when does a gentle curve become a bend?  As very little of the canal system is straight, mooring on curves is the norm, so when does it become inappropriate?  Boaters will need to know these things else how can they avoid them?

Some bends are perfectly okay for mooring, on the other hand some gentle curves are not. You need to take into account the width and visibility aspects of the place where a boat is moored.  Some boaters take delight in mooring in the narrowest place they can find or directly opposite an overhanging tree etc. thinking it slows boats down when passing them.  It just makes it worse if there are two boats passing each at the same spot!  Will this also be deemed inappropriate mooring?

Breasting up

Will breasting up be classed as inappropriate too as it reduces the width of some sections to no more than one boat-width and in some places breasting three or even four deep makes life very difficult for boats to get through.  Hire boat yards are notorious for this, leaving just enough room fo one boat to travel through with no room to pass another boat coming the other way.  Will the hire companies be penalised for this?

Is the appropriateness of the chosen mooring point going to be determined by some desk jockey who has never been on the canals?  Is there going to be any independent arbitrator that will have the final say.  Someone completely independent of CaRT that is?

Or is it a ploy

Is this just another ploy to get at the continuous cruisers more?  How are they going take action against the hirers, they can't stop them having a licence can they?  And it is hirers that tend to moor in inappropriate places most as they rush to find somewhere to stop as it's getting dark whilst they are trying to do something like the Four Counties Ring in six days etc.., and you can bet your life they won't penalise the hire companies.  Time after time I get to my first lock in the morning to find a hire boat tied to the lock landing and every one inside having breakfast.

I really think there is a hidden agenda to this and that CaRT has some plan to increase its persecution of certain classes of boaters, mainly continuous cruisers to get more of them either off the canals or at least into a marina!

Alarm bells start

When CaRT appears to start looking at helping boaters, especially continuous cruisers, I for one hear alarm bells and start to look for the ulterior motive behind it.  CaRT just cannot be trusted when it comes to boaters welfare and safety matters as has been proved time after time.

I hope this time I am wrong but I'm not holding my breath!  Time will tell we'll just have to wait and see!