Charging for continuous cruisers

Published: Saturday, 23 September 2023

I READ John Coxon’s article on this with interest and I agree with much of what he says, writes Dave Brewin.

However, I have to take issue with his views on the CRT survey and the resulting decision to impose a continuous cruisers surcharge. I agree it’s disappointing that so few licence holders responded but I don’t think CRT can be criticised for that. Imagine the furore if they imposed changes without a consultation.

Voted in favour

I’m happy to come clean, I voted in favour of a continuous cruiser surcharge although I had to think twice about it given that we don’t know what the surcharge is. Also, I think my decision was influenced by the fact that so many continuous cruisers are in fact continuous moorers, which John clearly isn’t. There is a real danger that if any of the planned increases are too high CRT will lose money as boaters will either pack-up or try to get away without paying.

John has clearly made a lifestyle choice to be a continuous cruiser and I made a choice to pay for a home mooring (at a boat club rather than a marina), which I have done for the last 40 years. Nothing wrong with either of those choices. Accordingly I have all of the fixed expenses that John has to keep his boat on the water plus a mooring fee for which I get to moor my boat on the offside of the canal main line.

Whilst I spend a fair amount of time on my boat I choose to only cruise for about five or six weeks a year so put comparatively little strain on the infrastructure compared to a continuous cruiser.

Vast majority of fee goes to trust

The vast majority of my mooring fee goes to CRT every year to pay for our lease. This is money in CRT’s coffers which it then uses, or should use, to the benefit of all users of the waterways. The rest covers the provision of electricity, water and sewage disposal. The latter two services continuous cruisers get at no extra cost but incur considerable costs to CRT in maintaining the infrastructure to supply the service.

It therefore seems entirely sensible to me that those licence holders who choose the continuous cruiser lifestyle should pay a bit more to cover the extra wear and tear on the system that their chosen way of boating incurs. The key missing detail in this is of course how much extra? If CRT don’t get this right the likely outcome will be a reduction in overall income, exactly the opposite of what is intended.