Victor: What a Saga

Published: Saturday, 03 April 2021

WHAT a Saga indeed when that 'caring' company dumps all it boating insurance customers.

And to my mind, what is worse, recommending a fellow insurance company that I would certainly think twice about!

So Saga is telling its customers that when their boats' insurance expires they have to look elsewhere, and from all accounts this was seen coming as it was heard that the Saga account may have made an underwriting loss so that it required to put the rates up by their underwriters then all the work that entails made it also unprofitable for Saga to handle. 

That would explain why they dropped it, although it is rather poor PR especially if some of the rates quoted by its recommended company are higher than they were from Saga—even for claim-free clients!

The cost of servicing insurance accounts has risen faster than inflation which is why some boat insurance brokers have been forced to merge or sell their accounts. Some of the new ‘cheap rate’ firms don’t even have their own claims staff but farm it out to others, which doesn’t always operate in the boat owners' interest.

Many readers having been caught by the Saga fiasco have contacted us about possible providers, and though I don't usually recommend people, our own boat insurance providers, Newton Crum have shown their reliability having served us faithfully for 20 years with hardly a yearly increase, and what is more, provide really excellent cover.  LINK


For owners of privately owned narrowboats and widebeams based in the UK as each craft is individually underwritten there is no hard and fast rule on the need for a survey although as a guide they aren’t needed under 20 years old but are at 30 years old, I am reliably informed.

Bear this is mind if being asked to provide a survey should your boat be within these parameters.

Edge to edge

Mowing the towpath edge to edge once a year is the new regime tells Canal & River Trust.AshOxfordIncluding—and here I quoteOption 1: a single end of year edge to edge full width cut removing saplings and woody vegetation.

That will certainly be a first for as the picture shows these saplings have been growing along the Oxford Canal for many a year, and there is mile after mile of them in various stages of growth.

Not only creating complaints from boaters searching for moorings, but worse where the overhanging foliage restricts the width of the waterway with again complaints often seen in narrowboatworld telling that it is difficult to pass and impossible if boats are already moored.

What next?

It was from 29th March the waterways started to open and you can get out boating again, though no overnight stays. This eventually comes, we learn from the government, on the 12th April at the earliest.

Then, we should at last be able to cruise, but alas nothing yet from CaRT, the only advice being to obey government rules.

willoughy cuttingNthOxfordIt could happen here

That 'oops' moment when that massive container ship stuck across the Suez Canal may be thousands of miles from our inland waterways, but given the sloping sides of the North Oxford north of Willoughby, how long will it be until one of the wide beam boats gets into a similar but smaller scale version?

We know the bottom is not very far from the top and some of the slabs have become dislodged and just under the waterline, so the risk of grounding is reasonably high.

With CaRT’s newest approach to issues, it would then be some time before they could look into establishing a method of reopening the navigation, contributor Kevin McNiff tells me.

For how long?

So CaRT has its beady eyes on the now very well established Foxton Coffee shop after Gary Hives has run the  business successfully for 15 years along with his wife Jenny, but to hell with the pair and their 15 years of graft.

I just cannot see paid workers with little interest in its success making a go of it as it needs hard work and dedication.

So what will happen my friends?  Within the year it will surely become yet another place for little else than CaRT propaganda.

Victor Swift