EA relax boating restrictions but no day leisure cruising

Published: Friday, 15 May 2020

FOLLOWING the government announcement the Environmental Agency is now relaxing its boating restrictions.

However, unlike Canal & River Trust it is not allowing boaters to take non-essential leisure cruising, but reiterates that boaters should avoid all non-essential travel on its waterways for the next few weeks and to make journeys only to access essential services and facilities, that this will help ensure safety of boaters and staff, Kelvin Alexander-Duggan reports.

Can visit boats

Boat owners however can now visit their boats to ensure they are well maintained, registered and ready for use once restrictions are lifted.

Where possible, the Agency is ensuring safe passage to essential facilities that support the welfare of residential boaters (water, pump outs, fuel points etc.).  However, in the short term it states it will still not be able to provide assisted passage at sites that can be self-operated by boaters for essential travel, but will only operate those locks where staff have to provide this service and this will be done with a safe system of work to ensure social distancing is complied with.

Inspections and maintenance

In the meantime the Agency teams will prepare for boat travel to eventually resume by undertaking inspections and maintenance to its rivers and structures to ensure they are safe, stating it hopes to allow some leisure cruising from June.

For the time being, mooring exemptions remain in place but these will be reviewed as part of the plan for resumption of leisure cruising.

Boat Safety Scheme

As it has not been possible to carry out Boat Safety Scheme examinations, these will be re-started as soon as it is possible and safe to do so. 

As the examinations have been suspended since late March, there is now a considerable backlog of boats needing to renew their certifications, so time will be given for boaters to arrange their boat examinations, once restrictions are lifted.