Gongoozler: Moving onto the water

Published: Sunday, 11 February 2018

THERE was an article in the Daily Telegraph recently. It was in the Property section and tells the story of a young lady, renting a flat, who found that by purchasing a narrowboat she could live more cheaply.

The likelihood of her saving for a deposit for a house within easy access to London was negligible.

Included everything

Yes, her figures included the cost of the 30ft boat, insurance, consumables, even engine servicing and blacking. Yes, a licence fee was also given. Against a monthly rental of £700 the capital cost including fittings of £30,000 shows a reasonable return—given that if well looked after most, if not all, the capital will be recovered at future sale.
The article then proceeded to list the hazards of canal living and the benefits. Excellent and well balanced stuff and almost persuaded me to move onto the water.

Now how many others will have seen this article? Print circulation of the Daily Telegraph is about 458,500: say only 20% read the Property section (there were also interesting and relevant photographs) that’s 91,700: of these say 10% are interested or know friends that would be and so pass the section to others—9,170; of those only 1% go and buy a boat instead of renting. That adds 91 continuous cruisers in one year to an already overcrowded canal system! Overcrowded that is in those areas where real life is expensive and living against a bank maintained by others is so cheap!

Short of cash

If Canal & River Trust is short of cash—and that is what they imply when pointing out the costs of maintain the canal system—then why not look at a complete restructure of the licensing system? Designate complete lengths of canal to be sections where increased licence charges are payable for craft moored to the banks within the designated areas. Marinas and private moorings would of course be excluded.

What do I mean by complete lengths? Well something like: The Lea south of Rye House; Regents Canal east of Alperton; Grand Union between Cassio Bridge and Winkwell. The licence fee payable annually for craft moored in these areas would be x% above the standard fee payable (say 300%).

Tracking device

How to police it? Each craft would be fitted with a tracking device once the annual licence fee is paid and monitored by satellite. No tracker—no mooring! Unusual you think? No it is not as many parcel and transport companies monitor their vehicles every minute of the day and night. The tracker identifies the exact position to within a few yards.

Come on CaRT Why not move into the 21st century and take advantage of the opportunities it offers?

[Victor is away and we have two writers in his place.]