THE Residential Boat Owners’ Association (RBOA) has called for a simpler and more transparent licensing system which encourages responsible residential boating, whether based at a home mooring or cruising continuously.
Responding to the Canal & River Trust (CRT) consultation on boat licensing, it has made the following recommendations:
• All craft be licensed/charged on a footprint scale rather than the present length only system – footprint to be defined by overall maximum craft length multiplied by overall maximum craft width, excluding removable fenders. A clear scale of
craft sizes/licence pricing should continue to be published.
• A single craft licence be introduced to cover all CRT navigable waters and craft, with all relevant Terms & Conditions.
• A clearly defined system of price adjustments (surcharges and/or discounts) to the base licence fee be introduced to cater for charging of specific craft types/user groups such as commercial craft, historic boats, trading boats and unpowered craft.
• Prompt payment discounts be retained at current levels.
• Hard copy licences be issued to all craft, each licence containing an identifiable ‘tracker chip’. Non-display and/or tampering with the ‘chip’ to be clearly defined as a material breach of licence conditions.
• Craft licensed without home moorings be financially incentivised to increase cruising distances and ranges. The charging regime should be of sufficient substance to discourage the practice commonly known as ‘bridge hopping’.
• No craft without a home mooring base should be licensed for use for hire or rental of any kind. Professional holiday/hire boat operators must be required to have in place appropriate boat safety certification, maintenance schedules, insurance, training and hand-over procedures.
RBOA adds that CRT should be mindful of how such changes might impact upon existing boater finances and personal circumstances and calls for any substantially increased fees to be phased in, perhaps over three years.