Continuous cruising – a new approach from the RBOA

THE Residential Boat Owners’ Association (RBOA) has issued the following statement as a new approach to the current issues around boats without a home mooring which it maintains could be
considered by Navigation Authorities.

For well over 50 years, RBOA has existed to promote and support responsible residential boating in all of its forms, including craft with or without home moorings and on all variations of water space inland, on estuaries and coastal.

It is concerned that the goodwill that it has generated for residential boating over this period is under threat from recent developments.

RBOA is well aware of the inadequacy of the British Waterways Act 1995 in providing a legal framework covering continuous cruising, and the uncertainty that this has generated for all those involved.

The association believes that a new approach should be considered, even if it results in major changes in the system and believes this might ultimately benefit all boaters.

RBOA chairman, Alan Wildman, submits: “Irrespective of the uncertainty emanating from the 1995 Act, continuous cruising should apply to boaters who have a primary intent to cruise extensively around the inland waterways.

“In most cases this will not be compatible with having lifestyle connections with one place – for example: education of children,
employment or health needs. These are individual decisions and responsibilities (in which the RBOA will support its members as best it can); it should not be assumed that either navigation authorities or local authorities should be providers in every situation.”

RBOA envisages that some form of progressive journey is implemented. This need not be rushed but as purely an example of its thinking, cruising for one day in the allowable 14 days moored at one place would equate to between 200 miles and 300 miles per year.

RBOA is aware that many of its members who are continuous cruisers travel far greater distances than this. They have the same rights as leisure boaters to moor where they wish in the course of their cruising and RBOA receives concerns from members that the excessive number of boats in locations such as London and Bath detracts from their visitor experience.

The RBOA calls on Navigation Authorities to look at continuous cruising afresh. “We believe that many such boaters would prefer the certainty of a permanent mooring if this was more readily available where required and at affordable prices.”

RBOA will continue to work for an increased supply of residential moorings and will work with navigation authorities to find a solution to the whole issue for the ultimate benefit of all boaters.

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